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How Governor Makinde took over NLC’s hunger protest in Ibadan

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How Governor Makinde took over NLC's hunger protest in Ibadan

The Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde in his usual style of identifying with protesters during national protests, did the same today, Tuesday February 27 20204, when he joined the teeming members of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) who came out to protest against the severe hardships in the country.

The protesters, who moved from Agodi Gate, to Bere, Challenge, were joined by Governor Makinde to douse the tension and preempt possible eruption of violence.

The governor and some top members of his cabinet, joined the protest and sang the solidarity song with them.

Governor Makinde who did not waste time in addressing the crowd of workers and other allied unions at the Total Garden Roundabout, Ibadan, made them realise, that the situation in Nigeria is the major concern of everybody, including those at the helm of affairs too, saying, “this is the more reason why we all have to be peaceful and not result into violence.”

He argued that things are like this because the nation is going through rebirth and new transformation.

According to Governor Makinde, “We must pull together to solve our problem and that is why I am calling on Nigerians to be peaceful while protesting against economic hardship in the country.”

He stated that the difficult times being experienced by Nigerians will soon pass.

Makinde, who declared his support for the protesters, calling for an end to hardship and hunger being experienced by the people, however, warned that the protests must be peaceful and constructive in order to achieve the desired result.

Governor Makinde stated at the Total Garden Roundabout in Ibadan that it was time for the country as a whole to come together and address the challenges and problems facing it, adding that it is indeed, a trying period for Nigerians.

The governor compared the present situation with what obtained in 1989, during the days of the Structural Adjustment Programme, saying that reforms always come with consequent challenges but it has become imperative for all Nigerians to work together.

The governor also warned against the assumption that states had been doing nothing to ease the hardship, stating that Oyo State Government had been paying wage awards to workers and pensioners in the state since October 2023.

He added that the state government only recently extended the payment of the wage award by another six months to allow for the conclusion of discussions on a new minimum wage.

He said: “My message to the protesters and people of Oyo State is to simply let them know that this is a trying period for our country. It is not the time for divisive activities. We have to pull together and confront the challenges that we are faced with.

“Usually, when you are going through a period where you are trying to reform a system, there will be challenges. We saw it in 1989 during the Structural Adjustment Programme. We had riots but at the end of the day, we still all came together to solve our problem.

“I told the NLC president that this is not the time for lies and propaganda. No one can say that no state is paying wage awards, as we have been paying it to our workers and pensioners since October 2023.

“Even, I have extended it by another six months to give us the opportunity to sit down and negotiate the minimum wage and the adjustment that will come with it.”

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Assuring the protesters that he would deliver their message to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Governor Makinde appealed for calmness, saying, “So, I have appealed to them though I know that this protest is their right. I will pass the letter they gave to me to the President. I know there is hunger and anger in the land, but the solution is still for us to pull together.”

It would be recalled that Governor Makinde exhibited this same feat during the controversial and the much talked about EndSARS protest when he was on daily basis in the midst of the youths calling for an end to the brutality of the special police squad.

The EndSARS protest rocked the entire Nigeria, with the participations of millions of Nigerian Youths.

Meanwhile, the NLC’s protest against hunger in the land later moved to Mokola Roundabout, through Dugbe, to Iyagangu, while there were pockets of peaceful protests across the Ibadan Metropolis.

The police conducted themselves in a peaceful manner and were as well friendly with the protesters.

Some of the protesters who spoke with reporters, said the protest was the first of his kind, when the police were not stern looking, while monitoring workers protests in the State.

Others believed that the attitude of the State governor Makinde towards them, showing solidarity to the workers and the citizens, may have been responsible for the attitudes of the security operatives towards them.

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