Oyo Governor Makinde Calls For Joint Efforts on Nigeria’s Problems After State Workers Join NLC Protest

Workers and residents of Oyo State, on Tuesday, joined other Nigerians to take part in the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)-organised nationwide protest called over the hardship in the country.

The leadership of NLC had fixed Tuesday and Wednesday to protest the economic hardship in the country.

The protest, in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, commenced from the NLC secretariat located at Agodi Government Reserved Area (GRA) and moved to other parts of the city.

The procession moved to areas like Gate, Mokola, Total Garden and later, the state secretariat.

The workers urged the Federal Government to take immediate and proactive measures to alleviate the hardship caused by the removal of fuel subsidies and the instability in the exchange of the naira.

However Governor Seyi Makinde, who identified with the protesters, while addressed them at Total Garden Roundabout in Ibadan, called for calm amid the protests, stating that the difficult times being experienced by Nigerians would soon pass.

Makinde, who declared his support for the protesters, also called for an end to the hardship and hunger being experienced by the people.

He, however, warned that the protests must to be peaceful and constructive, in order to achieve the desired result.

Makinde said it was time for the country as a whole to come together and address the challenges and problems facing it, adding that it was, indeed, a trying period for Nigerians.

The governor compared the present situation with what obtained in 1989, during the days of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), stating that reforms always came with consequent challenges, but that it had become imperative for all Nigerians to work together.

The governor also warned against generalisation that states had been doing nothing to ease the hardship, disclosing that the state government had been paying wage awards to workers and pensioners in the state since October 2023.

He added that the state government only recently extended the payment of the wage award by another six months to allow for the conclusion of discussions on a new minimum wage.

He said, “My message to the protesters and people of Oyo State is to simply let them know that this is a trying period for our country. It is not the time for divisive activities. We have to pull together and confront the challenges that we are faced with.

“Usually, when you are going through a period where you are trying to reform a system, there will be challenges. We saw it in 1989 during the Structural Adjustment Programme. We had riots, but, at the end of the day, we still all came together to solve our problem.

“I told the NLC president that this is not the time for lies and propaganda. No one can say that no state is paying wage awards, as we have been paying it to our workers and pensioners since October 2023.

“Even, I have extended it by another six months to give us the opportunity to sit down and negotiate the minimum wage and the adjustment that will come with it,” he said.

Makinde while assuring the protesters that he would deliver their message to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, appealed for calm from the protesters, stating that “so, I have appealed to them, though I know that this protest is their right. I will pass the letter they gave to me to the president.

“I know there is hunger and anger in the land, but the solution is still for us to pull together.”

Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan