The Kwara State Governor, Mr Abdulfatah Ahmed, has called for the restructuring of the local governments in the country.
He explained that the need of restructuring was necessary for the state government to meet the needs of the people especially in the provision of the democratic dividends.
Governor Ahmed made the call at the recent meeting held with senior civil servants in the state on the challenges bedeviling the local governments in the state.
He wondered how the third tier of government could not provide basic needs of the people but only used their monthly allocation to pay salary alone which he said is not forthcoming with the dwindling federal allocation.
Governor Ahmed noted that the basis for their creation has been incapacitated and urged for roundtable discussion on why they were created, where they are presently and how to improve for the future generation since they are closer to the grassroots.
The Governor of Kwara State, Mr Abdulfatah Ahmed, has expressed displeasure over the protest held by the state civil servants.
He made this known during a meeting with the labour leaders and Chairmen of Local Government Councils.
The meeting was held in order to resolve the non-payment of the workers salary arrears.
The meeting was attended by the leadership of various unions in the state which include, the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE).
Governor Ahmed promised to ensure that their salaries are paid promptly but with some conditions attached.
He added that the larger percentage of last month’s allocation was given to offset primary and junior secondary school teacher’s salary to save the education sector from collapse to ensure that pupils go back to school.
The Governor stated that since the allocation from the federation has been dwindling, complaints should be directed at the council chairmen on how to increase their internally generated revenue to augment in paying local government salaries.
He also gave the labour leaders three conditions on how to put a permanent stop to non-delay in the payment of salaries.
The conditions include sharing the allocation as they come on monthly basis, which could mean collecting half salary monthly; calculation of the number of days worked by each worker before collection based on number of days and outright reduction of staff strength in order to collect full salary.
At the end of the three-hour meeting, they agreed not to retrench workers but promised to get back on the remaining two options.
Recently, the staff of the sixteen local government held a demonstration in Kwara State.
They took to the streets in the state capital protesting non-payment of six months’ salary arrears by local government chairmen.
The protest took them to the gate of Government House where they demanded to see the governor to inform him of how they are being treated by their employers.
The Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) is insisting that the union will shut all schools in the country in solidarity with the university teachers if the feral government does not settle with the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities in a fortnight.
This threat is coming at a time the federal government says it will stand with teachers in moulding future leaders.
President of the union, Comrade Micheal Olukoya said this in Abuja during the NUT World Teachers Day Symposium with the theme, Basic Education in the Era of Local Government Autonomy, A Call for Legislative Caution.
He also used the occasion to ask for their rewards on earth and not in heaven alone.
Vice President Namadi Sambo, who represented the president at the symposium, had called on the teachers to be focused on long term benefits of their profession and that the administration is determined to address teacher’s shortage.
The NUT vowed to resist any attempt by the National Assembly to put primary education under the purview of local governments, one of the reasons that made them cancel the usual ceremonial parade to mark the World Teachers Day.
The NUT gave awards of excellence to Kwara state governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, Yobe state governor, Ibrahim Gaidam and the Enugu state governor, Sullivan Chime for their contribution to the growth of education in their states.
The National leadership of Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) has asked for special salary structure for its members to commensurate with the hazards of the profession and also to be at par with other professionals in the country. The representative of the national president of the union made the call at the 5th Quadrennial State Delegates Conference of the Kwara state branch of the union in Ilorin.
The national president of the union, Michael Alogba represented by Saka Adesiyan asked for separate special structure for teachers which he described as long overdue based on their contribution to the nation economy and educational development among other reasons.
The event was held at the Union Hall, Ilorin where delegates across the 16 local government of the state converged to assess the working conditions and elect new leaders to run the union for another term.
The outgoing state chairman of the union, Umar Farouk Akanbi while praising the state government for providing conducive environment for teachers in the state, called for more improvement in certain areas.
Responding, the state governor, Abdulfattah Ahmed assured of the continued assistance to realize the goal of bequeathing discipline, respect decorum and other traits that can enhance progress and development to the teaching profession.
He further said he is against local government autonomy as most of them could not cater for the welfare of teachers financially, announcing that he contributed 10 per cent of his internally generated revenue to augment the finances in the local government areas.
The Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed has urged teachers and stakeholders in the education sector to discourage “miracle centres” where students are aided to pass examinations, a situation he likened to murdering of the education system in the country.
Governor Ahmed who made the call at the opening ceremony of the 5th Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Union of Teachers in Kwara State, said such shortcut to success centres pose great dangers to the quality of education in the country as they could have negative impact on all sectors of the national economy.
“Teachers who take pride in promoting miracle centres are destroyers of our nation and the level of such destruction is incalculable. It is like somebody importing fake drugs to sell to hospitals. They are destroying lives”, the governor asserted.
Governor Ahmed said that his administration’s road map for the education sector will engender comprehensive rehabilitation and overhaul of a minimum 40 secondary schools in each of the three senatorial districts of the State.
He said that more teachers would be recruited in order to bring the state’s school system to global standards in teaching quality and teacher-student ratios and that the bonuses of rural teachers would be upscaled to make teaching in the rural areas appealing.
Governor Ahmed said due to the success story of the Education Resource Centre in Ilorin in the production of Science teaching aids, similar centres would be replicated in Kwara North and Kwara South Senatorial districts.
The Governor, described the theme of the teachers conference. “Meeting the Millennium Goals in Education: The Role of Stakeholders and teachers’ motivation as apt, as the Millennium Development Goals seeks to ensure that by 2015 children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.
The outgoing Chairman Nigeria Union of Teachers, Kwara State Wing, Akanbi Umar Farouk commended the State Government for regular promotion of its work-force, including teachers; a development which he noted motivates teachers in the State.
He, however, appealed to the State government to assist in the clear up of back long of primary school teachers’ backlog of gratuity from the local government account.
The Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) has directed teachers in all the states that are yet to implement the enhanced salary structure to begin indefinite strike action as soon as the schools resume for a new session in September.
Addressing the media in Abuja, the President of NUT, Comrade Michael Olukoya said the teachers have ran out of patience, three years after an agreement on the payment of the 27.5 per cent enhanced salary scale was signed between the union and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
The NUT president said the union has exhausted all efforts to convince the teachers that there was significant difference between the payment of Minimum Wage and the 27.5 per cent teachers’ enhanced allowances.
The affected states include Delta, Lagos, Cross River, Ogun, Katsina, Ekiti, Kogi, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Nasarawa states.