Transparency and Integrity


" Workers Welfare" : Kperogi Under Fire Again Over False Claims


Saraki Most Labour-Friendly Governor In Kwara."

— Former Kwara NLC Chairman Blows Hot, Warns Against Politicizing Worker's Welfare.


Kperogi, Don't Politicize Workers' Welfare: Saraki Is The Most Laboir- Friendly Governor In Kwara Ever

Opinion By:  Comrade Bisi Fakayode 

Former, Kwara State NLC Chairman Bisi Fakayode has chided Farooq Kperogi over claims that Dr. Bukola Saraki a former Governor of Kwara State is unfriendly with workers. 

According to Fakayode, Kperogi's article was irritating, and full of uncouth adjectives. 

Read Detail In Full : 

I read with disgust the very irritating article written by one Farooq Kperogi, where he insinuated that Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, a one-time Governor of Kwara State (2003-2011) was not friendly with workers in the State.  He used many uncomplimentary and uncouth adjectives to qualify Dr. Saraki and rated him (Saraki) as a Governor that hardly paid salaries.  Kperogi further “debited” Dr. Saraki with the inability (not failure) of the Abdulfatai Ahmed administration to pay salaries of lecturers of College of Education in Kwara State, at a time.

One wonders what kind of “lens” Kperogi used to view Dr. Saraki.  I feel personally pained by Kperogi’s assessment of Dr. Saraki on labour matters in Kwara State. From available facts, what Kperogi said about Dr. Saraki is far from the truth.  What he said is, at best, either a figment of Kperogi’s imagination or a deliberate attempt to malign the person of the former Governor.

First, I want to say that I am a labour veteran in Kwara State.  I have been involved in labour matters in Kwara State since the 1980s, and I have not been distant from labour circle till date.  Specifically, I was Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Chairman in Kwara State from 1991 to 1998 and, thereafter, I have been involved, several times, in labour negotiation with Government in the State.

I am also a Politician.  I was in the opposition Party when Dr. Saraki was Governor in Kwara State for eight years.  So, I have no reason to credit him with what he did not do. Having been in labour circle in Kwara State for close to 40 years, eight of which I spent as NLC State Chairman; I strongly believe that I am in a vantage position to assess, without sentiments, the various Governors that have served the State.  And I make bold to say, without any equivocation, that Dr. Saraki remains the best among the Labour-friendly Governors that have served in Kwara State.  I will substantiate this claim with historical records of labour situation over the years, and across various administrations in Kwara State.

Before going into historical facts, I want to reiterate that it is often very painful to labour veterans when writers like Kperogi or politicians tend to politicize workers’ welfare.  We take serious exception to such manipulative moves. We abhor it and don’t joke with it.

Workers welfare, particularly salary payment, is seen as “life blood” in the labour world.  And any Employer that denies it (salary), is wishing the workers dead.  It is only Employers who are approachable and show concern over workers’ welfare that are referred to, as labour – friendly.


Kwara State was created in 1967.  At that time, labour was operating under the approved provision of Morgan Commission of 1963.  The Commission divided Nigeria into six zones with different salary structures.  Kwara State fell into one of the zones with poor salary structure.  Kwara Workers were not happy because they possessed same academic certificates with their colleagues that were earning higher pay in other zones.  Also, they patronized same markets without price differentiation for different zones and all Nigerians were guided by the same economic policy.

The Udoji Commission of 1974 redressed the anomaly of the Morgan Commission by unifying salary structure for all Nigerian Workers.  The Commission also increased workers salary.  Kwara Workers were happy but the euphoria was short-lived as inflation soon rubbished the new pay packet. The brief civilian era (1979 – 1983) saw the Shagari administration increasing minimum wage to N125 per month. By 1983 however, economic recession of the time led to a lot of unpaid salaries and leave bonus arrears.  The workers were obviously not pleased.

The Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) and the Deregulation of the Babangida era were challenged by Labour.  The struggle and prolonged crisis led to the arrest, brutalization, detention by Police and remand in Prison custody of many of us; labour leaders in Kwara State.  Some of the leaders, including my humble self, were eventually dismissed from service in 1995.

By 1995, the labour leaders that were not dismissed went underground and labour movement virtually collapsed in Kwara State.  Between 1995 and 1998, workers had no voice, Government did whatever it wished to workers.  Kwara State was one of the three States that paid least salaries in Nigeria, then.  At that time, any Federal Government Policy that had negative effect on workers was first implemented in Kwara State; while positive Federal Government Policies were treated with neglect in Kwara State.  Workers welfare was at the lowest ebb in the State.  This was the situation in Kwara State when Governor Mohammed Lawal came on board in 1999.


At the inception of Lawal administration in Kwara State, Government – Labour relationship was very cordial.  Crisis, however, began when a new minimum wage of N5,000 was approved for workers.  Government was not prepared to pay higher than the pre-existing N3,000.00 minimum wage, but workers would have none of that. Government became hostile, workers remained adamant.  The crisis eventually led to the sack of the following officers: Comrade Onagun (NLC Secretary);

Comrade Jaiye (National President NCSSTWU); Late Joseph Fakayode (Medical & Health); Mrs. Toyin Aiyeoribe (wife of State NLC Chairman -

sacked in place of her husband, who was not a Government employee).

I, Bisi Fakayode, as a Labour Veteran, negotiated with Governor Lawal (despite our political differences) to bring the sacked workers back to service.  The Governor announced their re-instatement as part of May Day package in year 2001.

Consequent upon the unceasing pressure from workers, the Lawal administration partially implemented the N5,000 minimum wage by collapsing workers’ salary steps and placed embargo on promotion.  The relationship between Government and Labour got sour and salary arrears were owed at the end of tenure in May 2003.  


When Dr. Bukola Saraki was elected Governor in 2003, he negotiated with Labour and won the hearts of workers.  He paid the April and May 2003 salaries owed to the Civil Servants by his predecessor, and he further cleared salary arrears of between 9 and 15 months owed to various Government Parastatals. Other things done by Dr. Saraki that made him become the most labour friendly Governor in Kwara State included the following:

He over-ruled his predecessor on the collapse of salary steps and reverted workers back to their respective steps. Lifted embargo on promotion of workers. Introduced payment of monthly salary by 25th of every month. Re- introduced car refurbishing loan. Paid 3 years arrears of leave bonus. Initiated the policy of embedding leave bonus into monthly salaries, to terminate cases of unpaid leave bonuses. Implemented N7500 minimum wage. Implemented N9050 minimum wage. Involved in the signing of N18000 minimum wage implemented by his successor. Coming from the bottom of the ladder, Kwara State, by 2011, ranked among the first 15 States in terms of prompt salary payment. He recruited teachers for TESCOM and SUBEB. He re-introduced release of fund for training and re-training of Civil Servants. Initiated the monthly release of substantial amount of money for payment of arrears of gratuity to Pensioners. Commenced the payment of pension to retirees immediately after retirement (i.e. once monthly salary stops, monthly pension begins).  This cushions the effect of delayed payment of gratuity. Ensured payment of May 2011 Salaries and Pensions before he handed over to his successor on 29th May, 2011. Built 40 Units of self – contained apartment for workers of Michaeal Imodu Institute for Labour Studies in Ilorin. Built and furnished office complexes for both Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Kwara State. Promoted and sustained peace and industrial harmony in the State.  Throughout his 8 years tenure, there was no single workers’ strike. 


Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed meant well for the workers.  He was among the first three Governors that implemented the N18,000 minimum wage.  He sustained the inherited legacy throughout his first tenure.  Unfortunately, during his second term, Federal Revenue allocation to all States, including Kwara, dropped drastically.  This caused Government’s inability to fulfil its obligations to workers.  The false campaign of the opposition Party (APC) which deceived the workers into believing that Government had enough money to meet workers’ obligations worsened the relationship between Labour and Government. Inspite of the challenges however, it is on record that the doors of Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed were never closed to labour.


The administration of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq has the worst relationship with Labour, despite being in office for just three years.

The position against this Government is taken for the following reasons:

❖ The Administration is the first ever to take Labour to court in Kwara State. A case instituted by the Government against Labour is currently subsisting at the National Industrial Court, Akure.

❖ When Kwara workers went on a lawful strike action, the State Government strangely unleashed its thugs on labour leaders, chasing, harassing and beating them up.

❖ Most of the routine jobs to be done by Civil Servants in the State have been contracted to Consultants.

❖ Unlawful deductions occur in workers’ salary, and workers have no access to make enquiry for rectification.

❖ He implemented N30,000.00 minimum wage after 2 years in office, without paying arrears.

❖ The preceding Government’s salary scale derogatorily referred to as “geri-gedi” is better than that of the present administration,

❖ Governor Fatah Ahmed implemented minimum wage within 2 months in office, while it took Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq 2 years to implement the N30,000 minimum wage.

❖ No Pensioner in Kwara State has benefitted from the 30,000 minimum wage.

❖ All Tertiary Institutions in the State too have not enjoyed any increment in their remunerations.

❖ 2414 sunset workers were sacked.

❖ Promotion done for workers were not financially backed.

❖ In 2020, workers were officially asked to stay at home because of COVID 19.  Up till now, no counter circular has called them back; which shows the irrelevance of workers to this government.


Farooq Kperogi is entitled to his opinion, but he should not deliberately misinform, deceive or sell falsehood to the public on Dr. Bukola Saraki, or on anybody for that matter.

From the historical record provided, it will be incongruous to say that Dr. Bukola Saraki is an enemy to Government workers.  The issue of non-payment of salaries of Lecturers of College of Education, Ilorin, some years back, due to paucity of fund in the State, and which was later resolved; cannot be reasonably blamed on Dr. Saraki.

The track record of Dr. Bukola Saraki on labour matters in Kwara State is open for everybody to assess.  If Kperogi has “an axe” to grind with Dr. Bukola Saraki, he should find appropriate avenue to tackle Dr. Saraki, without involving Kwara workers and their welfare.  God will not forgive anybody who seeks to politicize workers welfare with a view to achieving some other ulterior objectives.

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