The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Ondo State Chapter, under the leadership of Comrade Bola Taiwo on Wednesday, 15th of May, 2019 inaugurated a special Health Scheme for all her members across the State.
The programme which held at the Multipurpose Hall of Akure South Local Government, was chaired by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mrs Lola Fagbemi. The Deputy Governor of the State, Barr. Agboola Ajayi represented the Governor as the Special Guest of Honour at the event.
The colourful event had in attendance workers from the eighteen Local Governments in the state, representatives of NUT, NLC, and other invited dignitaries.
The president of NULGE, Comrade Bola Taiwo in his speech, welcomed special guests and all the workers to the programme and used the occasion to specially thank the workers for the support he has received from them since he assumed the leadership of the union in December 2018.
He thereafter used the opportunity to remind the workers of the assurance of the state government under the leadership of Arakunrin Odunayo Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to implement the new minimum wage approved by the Federal Government for all civil servants in the country.
Bola Taiwo said:
“Let me use this medium to express Local Government workers’ hope that His Excellency, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, being one of the first few governors to indicate readiness to pay the new national minimum wage in the country will be number one Governor to commence the implementation of the new minimum wage, and hence will be the first to pay the new minimum wage in due course.”
Comrade Bola Taiwo also expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari and the National President of NULGE for their commitment towards granting autonomy to the local government in the country.
“Permit me to on behalf of all Local Government workers all over Nigeria appreciate the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for his bold step in assenting to the bill granting partial autonomy to Local Governments in Nigeria. This assuredly will bring about improvement in service delivery, make governance to more effectively reach the grassroots.
Dear Comrades, for the efforts of the lead-man in the struggle for Local Government Autonomy, Com. Khaleel Ibrahim (Mni), the Mr. Autonomy himself, he deserves some commendation. It is one thing for a fighter to see a vision, it is another thing to fight for it till set goals are achieved. In the case of Com. Ibrahim Khaleel, NULGE National President, he fought relentlessly and gallantly to achieve the extent of autonomy granted to Local Governments in Nigeria today. We in Ondo State NULGE say thank you sir.”
He said that the Nulge Health Scheme was a fulfilment of his campaign promise to make local government workers a priority for his administration. He mentioned that staff welfare, providing support to advance staff career and improvement in the health of local government workers are the major pillars of his electioneering campaign .
Comrade Bola Taiwo enthused:
“Dear Comrades, you will recall that during electioneering campaigns that led to my election as the President of NULGE in Ondo State, I based my manifestoes on three(3) cardinal promises of: (1) attention to staff welfare, (2) supports intending to lead to career advancement and (3) improved health.
By the grace of God, I can say with all boldness that we have recorded great achievements in all three areas; the present one being the establishment of the Ondo NULGE Health Scheme, the first of its kind in any branch of NULGE anywhere in Nigeria. This feat is to the credit of God Almighty and the undying support I enjoyed from Local Government workers in Ondo State.”
According to the NULGE President, not less than 10 local government workers had died in the State in recent past, noting that local government health workers should know their health status. He mentioned further that that the prototype NULGE Clinic being commissioned in Akure South would be replicated across the 18 LGAs of the State.
Furthermore, the scheme he said was meant to drive the consciousness of ‘Health First’ into the the routine of the local government workers by giving them the opportunity to get themselves checked at a point that is closest to them:
He further said:
“The NULGE Health Clinic Scheme is part of our Corporate Social Responsibilities that obviously has direct benefits in our members. It is aimed at creating the consciousness of ‘Health First’ in all our members as it will afford them the opportunity to get checked at their doorsteps before referral, if need be, to higher service.”
In his own remarks, the Chairman of the NULGE Health Committee – the Committee saddled with the responsibility to plan and operationalize the health scheme – Dr. Samuel Abiona, said the the birth of the scheme was because of the passion that Comrade Bola Taiwo has towards improving the welfare of staff at the local government level.
He further said that in 2015, indirect losses to illnesses in Nigeria stood at $879 billion, which accounted for about 36 percent (more than one-third) of the $2.42 trillion total productivity losses across the World Health Organisation (WHO) African region, citing a recent report on ‘The indirect cost of illness in Africa’ produced by the WHO.
He further said that health knows no factions and encouraged the staff to put aside their political or factional differences with respect to NULGE, in order to be able to benefit maximally from the clinic.