….Says N500m spent on workers’ ‘wage award’ monthly
By Ayodele. Adesanmi
Ekiti State governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, has said that the deplorable condition of some federal roads in the state is a source of concern to him, expressing hope that the reconstruction of the roads would be realized in the 2024 Federal Government budget having received assurances of Federal Lawmakers.
Oyebanji clarified that the state could not invest heavily on the federal roads because of the Federal Government’s no- refund- to states policy, promised to provide alternative roads that would give the commuters respite while traveling across Ekiti.
The Governor also declared that the state’s airport would become fully operational by July, and would aide transportation and economic development of the state.
Governor Oyebanji disclosed these , during his inaugural appearance in the monthly programme ‘Meet Your Governor’ aired across all radio and television stations in the state. He added that his government has leveraged substantially on the support of eminent stakeholders to attract alternative development windows to the state.
As a way of bailing the citizens out of quagmire of bad federal roads, the Governor stated that the state government, has commenced the Ado Ekiti Ring Road Construction to give commuters thorough fare in and out of Ekiti. He also allayed the fears of land owners over compensation for damaged crops. He said adequate compensation would be paid to affected individuals and families .
According to him “I am indeed worried by the deplorable state of our federal roads. Our people must get this right, we can’t construct these roads because there will be no refunds. But I have sat with our Federal Lawmakers and they have included some of these roads in the 2024 Budget. I have seen evidence that this has been done.
“Within the next few months, our people will start seeing changes. I have got the assurances of the leader of Ekiti caucus and Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele that efforts are being made to call attention to these roads. “
On the N15,000 wage award approval for workers, which critics branded as paltry in view of the parlous economic situation, Oyebanji said it was just a temporary measure to buffer the effect of economic crunch on workers pending the final decision on minimum wage.
He said the N15,000 wage award has led to an additional N500m monthly expense for the government.
He said “Let me thank the workers for their understanding . But that amount was what the state can afford for now because we have to service other citizens who are not civil servants. But as small as the amount is, it costs the state a sum of N500m monthly. Let me also clarify this, it will only run for six months and anytime the new minimum wage is announced, Ekiti will be ready to follow suit.
“I am sitting on this seat by the grace of God and support of all Ekiti citizens. I want the people to remember as a governor that walks the talk. A governor that does whatever he promises. A governor who fears God and obeys his command”.
Oyebanji, who saluted former Governor Kayode Fayemi for deeming it fit to construct an International Cargo Airport in Ekiti, assured the people that the facility will be fully operational by July, 2024, saying the high level of technicalities involved in certification by relevant authorities have delayed the usage.
The airport is going to be a game changer in the running of our business and economy because it is the terminus for the Ekiti State Ring Road Phase One. What makes me happy is that, the corridor through which the Phase one is located will be developed. Besides this, we are also thinking of setting up a new Ado Ekiti town along that axis that can be properly developed”.