•Governor Donates Official Vehicles, Secretariat
•‘All Lagos’ Retirees Get Their Pension Benefits Every Month’
On the occasion of International Workers’ Day commemoration, Lagos workers, on Saturday, reaped a bumper harvest of welfare packages – thanks to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The Governor approved 10 hectares of land in Idera, Ibeju Lekki, and Badagry for workers housing schemes .
Sanwo-Olu handed over the title documents to chairmen of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) at an elaborate event organised to commemorate Workers’ Day.
The event, with the theme: “COVID-19 Pandemic, Social and Economic Crises: Challenges for Jobs, Social Protection and Peoples’ Welfare”, was held at Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan in the heart of Lagos.
The two housing schemes will be built by the labour unions with funds from Federal Mortgage Bank. The Ministry of Housing will supervise the project.
Also, the labour unions will now have a befitting secretariat to aid their operations, the Governor said. The secretariat, Sanwo-Olu promised, will be ready before next year’s May Day.
There was applause as Sanwo-Olu announced the package. He was hailed as “the best worker friendly Governor”.
Sanwo-Olu said a productive workforce remained the backbone of a prosperous society, pointing out that Lagos workers are important stakeholders in the growth of the State’s economy and they deserve more than just an increment in the minimum wage.
Sanwo-Olu was the first Governor to fully implement new salary structure that raised minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000. The Governor approved N35,000 minimum wage, which is above the national benchmark.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration, in the last 12 months, had initiated welfare programmes specifically targeted at improving workers’ welfare and helping them to stabilise their livelihoods, following the economic disruption occasioned by spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the State.
He said: “Today, I am handing over 10 hectares of land to organised labour unions in Lagos State to het mortgage scheme and build a housing estate for workers. The title documents to lands have been approved and I am happy to hand them over to the leaders of the labour unions at this occasion. This intervention is part of our interventions to reduce burden on our workers whose means of livelihood have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the past year, we took a major step in promoting workers’ welfare by revising the 2020 Budget to accommodate the social and economic impact of COVID-19, and to prioritise spending and investment that fulfilled the two primary goals of keeping our people alive and helping them sustain their livelihoods.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, we asked most of our civil servants to stay at home and work from there. I am proud to say that we did not lay off workers, despite the economic recession that accompanied the pandemic and the downward review of the State’s 2020 Budget. We strengthened our social safety net to prevent a widespread loss of jobs, which would have led to a reversal of the progress we have made in the reduction of poverty.”
The Governor specially recognised the sacrifice and selflessness of frontline workers in the COVID-19 response, extending his appreciation to medical personnel and sweepers disposing medical waste.
Henceforth, Sanwo-Olu said the labour unions shall have a representative on the Board of the Pension Commission, pledging that the State Government would extend the courtesy to other labour-centric statutory bodies. He asked the organised labour to immediately forward the name of their representative for the pension board.
He said the State Government had demonstrated sincerity in implementing most of the demands of workers, pointing out that Lagos paid the statutory uniform allowances for medical workers. He pledged commitment to fulfilling demands of the unions that were yet to be redeemed.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that his administration had cleared the backlog of pensioners’ benefits and did not owe any retiree their monthly allowance.
He said: “We are in the process of increasing the fleet of our buses and we are going to consider supporting labour unions in Lagos with buses for Labour City Transport to assist in movement of workers. We have reviewed the composition of appointees in the Pension Commission; we will make amendment to ensure the labour representative in included.
“We have increased allowance we pay to pensioners and we have consistently ensured that pensioners get their pension the same time State workers get their monthly salaries. There is no pensioner we are owing today; we will continue to ensure that retirees who have served the State are not left behind in our welfare programmes.”
The Governor also donated official vehicles to the NLC and TUC chairmen to assist them in running the unions.
State chairman of NLC, Comrade Funmi Sessi, extolled the Governor’s leadership qualities demonstrated in combating COVID-19, praising Sanwo-Olu for the payment of full salaries of workers who could not go to work during the first and second waves of COVID-19.
The labour leader stressed that Lagos Government had demonstrated exemplary leadership in granting judiciary full autonomy, adding that Sanwo-Olu had created labour-friendly environment for workers in the State, which resulted from the appointment of Special Adviser on Labour Matters.
Lagos TUC chairman, Comrade Gbenga Ekundayo, said the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic had led to an upsurge in the violation of the rights of workers in the private sector.
He urged the Governor to strengthen social security support and initiate actions that would adequately protect workers in the informal sector and private firms.
He said: “Employers of labour and their human resources advisers have deployed different orthodox and unorthodox measures to mitigate their financial exposures in this period of COVID-19, some of which are not known to Nigerian Labour and Employment Laws.
“Workers in the informal sector who are not organised are more vulnerable and their situation made worse due to the non-existing social security system. Government must urgently look for a way to strengthen social security support so that workers can be adequately protected at all times.”
Highlights of the event included a march by many unions. Sanwo-Olu took the salute.
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SANWO-OLU PRESENTS SCORECARD AT RE-ELECTION RALLY
…APC Flags Off Governorship Campaign In Lagos
A mammoth crowd of Lagos State residents, on Saturday, converged on Onikan – a cultured neighbourhood in the heart of Lagos Island – for an All Progressives Congress (APC) rally.
Clad in branded yellow shirts and Ankara brocade, the crowd dominated the city centre with pockets of political carnival. Thousands of ordinary citizens and party stalwarts trooped to Mobolaji Johnson Pavilion, the venue of the inaugural rally flagging off the party’s governorship campaign in Lagos.
The 10,000-capacity stadium brimmed with APC supporters. They carried banners and chanted slogans to receive the party chieftains and members of the Governorship Campaign Council.
APC standard bearer, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, made a grand entry into the venue, animating the crowd, which chorused: “Greater Lagos Rising” – the Governor’s re-election campaign slogan.
Reacting to the massive turnout, Sanwo-Olu said the vast attendance further confirmed the strength of APC as the only party of choice in Lagos.
The Governor mounted the rostrum to seek the mandate of Lagosians for another term in office, saying the “Greater Lagos” he promised at the inception of his government could now be visualised, given the achievements recorded during his first term.
Sanwo-Olu said the last three and half years had been challenging for his administration, pointing out that his Government traversed difficult terrains to deliver on its development objectives.
He said: “It has been an interesting and challenging journey for us in the last three and half years. Our administration has traversed difficult terrains and witnessed major disruption occasioned by global pandemic. Lagos had its fair share in the attendant socio-economic meltdown, but we provided strong leadership that protected the people and made the State come out better and stronger.
“Now, we can say ‘Greater Lagos Rising’ because our State is rising on all of our modest achievements through the THEMES agenda. In Transportation and Traffic Management, Lagosians are now living with the reality of the delivery of two intracity Rail Mass Transit projects that are on the verge of completion. These projects will be handed over in the coming weeks.
“We have also scaled up infrastructure in public transportation services by improving BRT services, injecting new taxi scheme and energizing traffic management agency for efficiency. People have seen the construction and commission of Lekki Deep Seaport, and massive road construction projects in the Eti Osa and Epe corridors. We have delivered and are still constructing more new roads in Ikorodu, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Alimosho, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Somolu and other areas.”
Sanwo-Olu said activities of his administration, since inception, had been about purposeful governance. He added that his Government had delivered new hospitals in Badagry, Epe, and Eti-Osa, pointing out that construction of new hospitals were currently being undertaken in Ikorodu, Ojo and Lagos Island.
In the environment, the Governor said the State was currently constructing 210 new drainage channels to address the issue of flooding in vulnerable communities. He said his Government had also raised the level of infrastructure in emergency response agencies, mentioning the recently completed four fire stations, recruitment of new fire fighters and provision of fire fighting equipment.
The Governor said: “Lagosians can testify to our feats in education. Over 1,000 new classrooms have been added to public schools and we completed over 1,097 projects in schools. We trained our teachers in modern teaching techniques through Eko EXCEL and handed over tablets to them for teaching. Overall performance of Lagos students in WAEC has improved from 42 per cent to over 83 per cent.”
Sanwo-Olu said there had been laudable progress recorded across his Government’s development blueprint, noting that the State had become a model for good governance and development.
The Governor thanked residents for standing by his administration, pledging that he would not take their support for granted.
He urged party members to take back the Government’s achievements back to their communities and engage in door-to-door campaign to ensure APC candidates are elected in the general elections.
Director General of Lagos APC Campaign Council, Sen. Ganiyu Solomon, said the party would have no problem taking its campaign to the electorate, given the “exceptional” performance of the party’s governorship candidate.
Solomon said the second coming of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat would bring the State to new heights of development and prosperity.
Leader of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC), Prince Tajudeen Olusi, said: “The combination of Sanwo-Olu and Hamzat are the best a democratic society can get in delivering results of good governance. Anyone who wants the development of Lagos to continue, Sanwo-Olu must be allowed to continue the good work he started.”
Sanwo-Olu, assisted by APC chairman, Hon. Cornelius Ojelabi, presented flags to party candidates running for legislative seats in the House of Assembly and National Assembly.
Osun Tribunal Admits Adeleke’s Certificates as Exhibits
— As Oyetola, APC Close Case
The Osun State Election Petition Tribunal on Saturday admitted in evidence the file with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) containing the secondary school certificate and testimonial of Governor Ademola Adeleke of the State.
This is just as the Petitioners, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola and the All Progressives Congress (APC), closed the prosecution of the matter, leaving respondents to state their defence.
The admission of the documents followed the appearance of INEC representative, Mrs. Joan Arabs, who brought Adeleke’s original files containing the certificate he submitted to the Commission in 2018.
It will be recalled that during the last sitting of the panel, the Commission had submitted blank document as the secondary school certificate of the governor, a situation that compelled the panel to order that the original file be brought, and to threaten to invoke Coercive Power if it fails to do so.
At the resumed hearing of the petition on Saturday, Counsel for Oyetola, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said the hearing for the day was basically meant for the appearance of INEC representative to produce the Adeleke’s file in line with the court order.
Counsel for INEC, in his response, said that INEC representative was already in court with the files containing a clearer and legible certificate and testimonial in question, saying he would be willing to apply for the return of the documents to INEC, when the tribunal is done looking at it.
After the production of the documents, the tribunal, while discharging the INEC official, said, “You can now go if you wish to. No policeman will accost you again.”
Subsequently, Oyetola’s counsel sought to tender the documents which contain form CFO01 and its attachments, including Adeleke’s credentials, saying the original file brought to court is a primary evidence and he was comfortable with it.
Counsel for INEC, Chief Henry Agunedo (SAN), said he would be objecting to the admissibility of the documents on the ground that the basis for the production of the whole file was because only two pages of the earlier-produced Certified True Copies were in contention, saying tendering the whole documents was out of place.
Counsel for Adeleke and PDP, Niyi Owolade and Alex Izinyon (SAN) respectively, said they have objection to the tendering of the said documents, but they would reserve their objections till final address stage.
Izinyon also observed that the only documents in contention were only two pages which are Adeleke’s certificate and testimonial, saying the CTC earlier produced has not been tendered before the court.
Responding, Fagbemi said the practice everywhere is that INEC can only apply and get back the files after the dispensation of the cases, saying, “We asked for CTC and now that they brought this. We are fine, we will take it”.
Ruling on the documents tendered, the tribunal led by Tertsea Kume admitted the credentials and the Adeleke’s nomination form as exhibit ‘FILE D’ and taken as read.
It was after the tribunal admitted the documents that Fagbemi informed the panel that he had decided to close his case, saying, “My Lord, we rest our case”.
When the tribunal asked INEC to open his defence, Chief Agunedo said, it would be difficult for him to open his case on Monday, saying non-availability of his witnesses would make it practically impossible.
The panel then asked the counsel to meet and agree on adjournment date after which Counsel for INEC briefed the panel the outcome of the meeting.
Subsequently, the tribunal adjourned the case till December 20 for the respondents to open their defence, saying the adjournment was based on another engagement by the tribunal somewhere else between 12th and 19th December 2022.
Earlier, Oyetola’s counsel had informed the panel that the Court of Appeal in Abuja had reverted the judgement of a Federal High Court which disqualified Oyetola from contesting the election.
Meanwhile, the outcome of the sitting excited the members of the APC who witnessed the hearing, as jubilations erupted after the sitting of the panel. They chanted songs to eulogise Oyetola and the APC.
TINUBU WON’T SUCCUMB TO ARISE NEWS BLACKMAIL
We find it shocking and downright anomalous that Arise News continues to broadcast the participation of All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in its Presidential Town Hall meeting scheduled to hold on 4 December, 2022 despite our earlier statement that our candidate will not be available.
We noticed that Arise News has also been running a campaign on the so-called constitutional duty of the presidential candidates to participate in its debate by dubiously citing section 22 of the Constitution of Nigeria on the obligation of the Mass Media.
While it is trite that the media has clear constitutional duty to hold public office holders accountable to the citizens and its role as the watchdog of the society, there is no part of the Constitution and the section 22 that says a presidential candidate of any political party and least of all, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must participate in Arise News Town Hall event or any media organised event at all.
The same Constitution grants all citizens of Nigeria including, Asiwaju Tinubu the right and freedom of choice and association. The APC Presidential candidate has a right to decide where he goes and events to participate in as he seeks the mandate of Nigerians to be elected as the next President of our country.
We want to make it abundantly clear again that Asiwaju Tinubu will not participate and will not attend the Arise News Town Hall meeting slated for Sunday, 4 December, 2022 and any other ones it may plan before the February 2023 presidential election.
The APC Presidential candidate has his own schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria. One of such events is his scheduled event for Monday , December 5, 2022 at Chatham House in London where he will speak on Security, Economy and Foreign Policy.
Asiwaju Tinubu travelled to United Kingdom early today (Saturday) for this earlier scheduled engagement. We want to reiterate for the umpteenth time that no amount of blackmail, intimidation and media bully and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position our campaign has taken on this matter.
Director, Media & Publicity
APC Presidential Campaign Council
December 3, 2022
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