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Osun Pensioners: Oyetola’s Image As Message By Isaac Olusesi

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_We shall learn from the past, yet we shall not be stuck in the past; we shall forge ahead to sustain the hope and greatest good of the greatest number of our people.”-Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s Mission Statement, Wednesday, November 28, 2018__

The profile of retirees’ industrial relations in the State of Osun is a dismal, lopsided and glooming show that practically more often draws the sword of partisan wrangling from the scabbard to make governance difficult in the state. The retirees are wont to appropriate the task of aggressive mobilization of themselves and the general public against past governments of Osun, not infrequently would strife to trade off the harsh realities of expedient hardship and sacrifice, the growth and development processes entail, deliberately choosing to upturn dialogue, negotiation, capable of propelling the state resource management to self-sustenance, away from the fragility of the fabrics of Osun economy in the face of the global economic austerity and simultaneous recess, tight reins in Nigeria.

Ironically, the retirees would ignite thundering rumble of ear-blocking rancor, bitterness that, on authoritative instances in the state, time past, precipitated high decibel of ear-shattering murmurings as they goofed on war songs at the gate of the government secretariat, Osogbo, state capital, that violated the serenity of the premises, openly barricaded mandarins and other civil servants from their desks by the spate of the rumpus, wrapped up in flexed muscles for a war of attrition, the senior citizens clownish but were not always obliged with any counter actions or press adulation. The retirees paradoxically goofed off, left in the trail of each rabid street outing, shamefully pulled down from the pedestal of seeming integrity to the denizen of mortification, open humiliation.

All of that was the proficiency of the Osun 2011/2012 Pensioners Forum, the agitators, in the time past always in the news for its heinous and treacherous tidal crime wave of menacing street protests, with a noose dangling above its recalcitrant head for its duplicity and forensic-headedness at letting-loose characteristically its pent-up effusive anger over rabid grievances on pensions and gratuities, sped into sheer anarchy and unbridled antagonism, the Forum disingenuous alibi for riding the crest wave of opposition sentiments, with disdain for the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, time past.

Commendably, today, in a manner that stifled, disarticulated the Forum, the Rotimi Adelugba Triangular Group of Pensioners (TGP)’s deployment of requisite perception and strategy has dislodged completely whatever contradictions there were between the Osun total retirees and state government. Adelugba could still do more to make the Forum run through the mills of Senior Citizenship Education, Psyche-Reorientation, Statesmanship, Current Affairs & Application, Watchdog Ethics, and Logics of Research, Negotiation & Documentation. With the TGP approach, making the Forum a vivid example of poor peddling, Governor Gboyega Oyetola, in a government statement, penultimate Friday, released a total sum of Seven Hundred and Eight million naira (#708m) in a span like the state helmsman was hypnotized, under the retirees’ cast or spell to do so.

No! The TGP enterprising spirit of dialogue, bargaining and progress is one magic wand. And Oyetola’s image of personal integrity and public probity, progressively strategic, with a morally strong and decent sensitivity to ‘sustaining the hope and greatest good of the greatest number of our people,’ his mission statement abridged here, is another magic wand. That the totality of the state retirees also constitutes ‘…the greatest number of our people…’ as contained in the mission statement, is the message wand, the arch magic wand behind the retirees’ current #708million worth, outlined, viz: initial release of #508million to pay pensions of retired officers of the civil service, additional release of #150 million to pay selected retirees under the contributory pensions scheme, and additional #50 million to pay part of the gratuities of retired officers under the old pensions scheme. And the state helmsman has also religiously sustained regular payment of full salaries to state workers despite the excruciating impact of the scourge of COVID-19 pandemic on the state economy.

Oyetola knows the place of retirees in any strategic peace calculus and knows, the state civil service is the cut-edge instrument of governance and service delivery, viable for ensuring a successful execution of government policies, programmes and projects. And he has not reneged, committing the resources of the state to paying salaries, pensions and gratuities. What’s therefore, expected of the state retirees in such reciprocal relations is for them to assure government of peace in the family, neighbourhood and society; and from the Osun civil servants, so much of improved productivity and wealth creation is expected by the APC government in the state, with the state workers required to generate surplus from their productivity over and above consumption, the surplus in terms of government’s incomes form taxes-levies-rates, greater than its expenditures, solvent enough to sustain governance and administration, payment of pensions, gratuities, and salaries to workers and provision of utilitarian services to the governed.

The Osun Governor is enacting the Mikhail Goberchev’s efforts-the Russian _glassnot_ and _perestroika_ . By _glassnot_ , meaning openness, Oyetola has nibbed in the bud all overt and covert contradictions inherent in the payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities; and by _peretroika_ , for restructuring, Oyetola has connected the Osun economy to wealth as he spends money he gets on massive development and redevelopment of roads, health centres, rural electrification, urban markets, township beautification, agriculture, mining, tourism and culture, peace and security, flood control and post COvid-19 economic recovery activities _pro_ _bono_ _publico_ , for the public good aided by Oyetola’s steady drive, steady focus, steady energy and steady courage, with the go-go time for Osun people anon.

Little blame the 2011/2012 Pensioners Forum, the steam roller, now melted, too short, very short on the responsibility of senior citizens and too long, very long on minutia and antediluvian; and the Forum former psyche was bestirred by factors external to it. Car GustarJung, a Swiss Psycho-analyst would say the Forum must be ill. But I say, a big no! They were not. And Jung would insist the Forum was bedeviled by a million tiny demons that nocturnally chase them and remotely control their action in the day. The demons were the opposition elements in the state People’s Democratic Party (PDP), identifiable by their odour, oscillation, feet shuffle and oddities of a pig, wanting to intrude on the Osun APC government living room. The Osun PDP tends to make a joke of the goodo, good taste of the Oyetola government in the state and thinks they could do things differently better in the state.

No! And no way.

OLUSESI is Assistant Director, Directorate of Publicity, Research & Strategy, All Progressives Congress (APC), State of Osun

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