Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has reiterated his appeal to teachers in public schools in the state to call off their ongoing strike in the interest of pupils who have been at home for over three weeks.
Fayemi who made the appeal Tuesday night while featuring on his monthly media chat, “Meet Your Governor,” urged the teachers to consider the very lean purse of the state and the future of their pupils and students rendered idle by the strike.
The Governor urged teachers in the state to accept the 15 per cent out of the 27.5 per cent Peculiar Allowance being demanded by them pledging to commence the payment of the remaining 12.5 per cent as soon as the state finances improve.
He also stressed that the ongoing recruitment of new teachers is not aimed at replacing the striking teachers noting that the arrangement to bring new teachers on board to fill consequential vacancies in the teachings service was already in full swing before the strike commenced on June 1.
Fayemi maintained that his administration has a good track record in the education sector saying the various developmental policies implemented in the state since he mounted the saddle are indications of his love for the sector.
The Governor explained that teachers in the state had enjoyed salary increase at least two times since he came into office saying the gesture was carried out to motivate them to give their best. Fayemi disclosed that teachers were on a minimum wage of N8,500 when he became Governor but had since been beneficiaries of 33 per cent relativity pay and N19,300 national minimum wage.
He explained that at the time the 33 per cent relativity pay rise was packaged for core civil servants, teachers also showed interest and were included in the package which they believed was higher than 27.5 per cent special allowance.
The Governor revealed that the implementation of the 27.5 per cent special allowance for teachers would impose an additional N172 million wage bill on the state treasury per month and over N2 billion annually.
While calling for understanding from the striking teachers, Fayemi expressed fear that the teachers’ demand would throw the state into financial crisis as Ekiti is number 35 on the nation’s revenue ladder.
The Governor further disclosed that presently, the monthly wage bill of the state is N2.2 billion while the state is left with N400 million for capital projects.
He urged Ekiti teachers to emulate their counterparts in Ogun State who showed understanding with their state government and called off their strike after being offered 15 per cent increase.
Fayemi noted that Ogun State which has a monthly income of over N5 billion could only offer 15 per cent because of the heavy burden the demand would impose on its finances.
The Governor who promised to continue to appeal to the striking teachers to ensure the resolution of the dispute expressed optimism that the stand-off would soon be resolved.
He said, “My own attitude is to continue to appeal to them because all of us are stakeholders. We are talking to them and we believe that good sense will prevail at the end”.
Fayemi clarified that the ongoing recruitment of new teachers was not targeted at retrenching anybody but to fill vacancies occasioned by retirement and the need to recruit teachers to teach core science subjects.
Speaking on the projects being executed by his administration, Fayemi promised to complete them as scheduled as they are being financed with the N20 billion bond sourced from the Capital Market.
He explained that the State Pavilion to be used for ceremonial events will be completed before the year runs out while work is already at an advanced stage at the Funmi Olayinka Civic Centre.
Dismissing claims in some quarters that the new Government House is not a priority, Fayemi argued that the structure being presently used as the Government House was built as a guest house.
“Ekiti is not a second class state, I have visited other Government Houses in the country and I know what obtain there. This is not my personal building and when I finish my tenure, I will not carry it to Isan-Ekiti and that is why all these projects are called Legacy Projects”. He added.
Last modified: June 26, 2013