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The Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Oyo State Council, on Tuesday, described the governor of the state, ‘Seyi Makinde, as an Omoluabi for possessing a good mindset that has made him not to renege on his agreement with pensioners despite the challenges in the polity.
The NUP Oyo State Council made this declaration at the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, during a mega rally in appreciation of the governor, noting that it has been three years of unbroken relationship and partnership between the Makinde government and pensioners.
Secretary of the Union, Comrade Olusegun Abatan, in a speech he delivered at the event, lauded Governor Makinde for reversing the ugly trend whereby pensioners died in their numbers due to non-payment of their pensions and gratuities.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that Governor Makinde, who attended the rally in company of Dr. Bukola Saraki, a former Senate President and presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), declared that his government would continue to cater to the welfare of pensioners in the state.
The governor said: “Since you retired after serving the Oyo State government, you were supposed to be resting and enjoying but the past government denied you your rights.
“I want to assure you again that this current government you installed will continue to do the needful for you.
“I know that if pensioners don’t have children that can take care of them and the government they have served also failed to cater for their welfare, it is a big challenge. And this was what informed our decision to pay pensioners the same date civil servants are paid.
“So, I pray that no one will die untimely and the government will do what it is supposed to do.”
The governor appreciated the pensioners for the solidarity visit, adding that he had received their requests and would attend to them in due course.
Speaking at the event, Saraki, who was in Ibadan to meet with PDP delegates ahead of the party’s National Convention, commended the governor for what he has achieved in the state, saying: “I want to appreciate the digital and global governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde. I also want to thank you pensioners in Oyo State for supporting your governor. I pray that God will stand by you too.
“Let me add that there is no other party that can save Nigeria except the PDP. He is doing well for you and I want to urge you to keep supporting him.”
Earlier, the Secretary of the Oyo State Council of NUP, Comrade Abatan said the pensioners came to show appreciation to the governor for the prompt payment of their pensions on the 25th of every month and the payment of stalled gratuities.
He stated that the rally had in attendance all categories of pensioners, including retired principals of secondary schools, Heads of Local Government Administration, Directors from various fields, Engineers, Doctors, retired primary school teachers, local government pensioners and retirees from tertiary institutions, government parastatals and agencies.
He said: “Your Excellency, it has been three years of unbroken relationship and partnership with Oyo State pensioners. Before you came on board, anybody could know a pensioner walking on the street, ready to fall down at the honking of commercial vehicles and okada riders.
“Many times, the union was called to come and carry our members that fell on the streets. Many times, we lacked the ability to procure simple medications.
“There was a year that we recorded 516 deaths among us. We were dying like chickens infected by Newcastle disease but not anymore. Pensioners now live better.
“Though the pension might have been static in the last 15 years due to non-implementation of the constitutional provisions that pension should be increased when salary of workers are increased, we are assured that the payment of our pensions will be made every 25th of the month.
“Stalled gratuities to retired primary school teachers and pensioners in the mainstream are now being paid both to living pensioners and next of kins of deceased pensioners.
“Your Excellency, pensioners that were declared dead some years ago have risen like Jesus Christ from the tomb. See what has become of Oyo State pensioners. See them in different attires, see their mood, they have truly resurrected from the dead.
“Your Excellency, we are here to appreciate you and pray for you. If not for a good mindset as an Omoluabi, circumstances in the polity abound, which could have made you renege on your agreement and commitment to continue to pay pension and gratuities.
“You did not use the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn, which other Emperor-Governors are using to shortchange the pensioners and workers in their various states.”
Abatan concluded that though no one gave Makinde a chance when he came on board in 2019, tagging him an inexperienced individual in government, through deft planning, he has proved himself a grandmaster of meaningful administration with evidence abounding around the state.