The new governor of Oyo State, Mr. Seyi Makinde, may begin his tenure with a big fight with labour as he indicated unwillingness to pay the N30,000 minimum wage.
Makinde at his inaugural said the state was not capable of paying the new N30, 000 minimum wage but was quick to add that government will negotiate with labour.
“I believe the states should decide the minimum wage of their workforce based on individual realities. All states are not created equal, so it is against the principle of fairness to apply a blanket rule to govern them all.
“That being said, our plan is to make Oyo the first state to pay above the national minimum wage. We know this is possible. We have already set our plan in motion to make this possible. But, this requires time. We propose staggered increments.
“I met with organized labour during my campaigns and made a pledge to an open relationship. I intend to stand by that promise. We will have a sincere conversation and arrive at the best decision possible. Rest assured that the decision will put your overall best interests first,” he said.
Makinde offered a populist stance by scrapping payment of school fees of N3,000 in state-owned secondary schools. “We want enrollments to go up, we want our children off the streets and in the classrooms. We are throwing the school doors wide open”, he said apparently to shore up school attendance and education standard.
“We also know that education standards in Oyo State are poor. Oyo State recently ranked twenty-sixth in Nigeria in WAEC performance. While we invite the students to come in, we will focus on raising the standard of education in Oyo State. We will work on providing needed infrastructure,” the new governor promised.
He admitted that the greatest challenge confronting the state was the issue of poverty and promised to tackle it with a drastic leap in agriculture, just as he pledged to look into the issue of over 400, 000 out-of school-children in the state.