April 23, 2024

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National Theatre: Group laments hostile work environment, staff welfare 

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Spokesman of the Concerned Stakeholders of National Theatre, Comrade Lekan Ayinde has expressed displeasure and fear over the demeaning staff welfare and hostile work environment at the parastatal.

Ayinde expressed this concern consequent to claims by the former General Manager of the parastatal, Prof. Sunday Ododo that workers’ welfare was prioritised under his watch.

Ayinde alleged that during the tenure of Prof Ododo workers had bad treatment in terms of welfare packages, intimidation and training.

Citing instances of how workers were denied of their rights, contrary to claims by Ododo that workers were given Christmas and Sallah packages every year, he said the last time such were given to workers was in 2021 courtesy the contractors handling projects at the parastatal at the time.

He stated further, “Like we have been saying, the work environment is hostile to growth. Workers are complaining. They are intimidated and harassed by the management. We have many of them being arrested and detained by Prof Ododo while others are demoted.

It is therefore surprising that these are the same set of workers he claimed hosted him to a send forth party where only his allies were present and senior officers and union leaders absented themselves.

In fact workers were deceived to attending the send forth party because the message that was sent suggested a meeting between the workers and the new CEO but on getting to the venue, they turned it to a send forth party for the former General Manager and the few workers that attended left the venue in anger.

On Friday, Prof Ododo commissioned two mini buses and one tricycle to be shuttling between National Theatre and Costain bus stop after he has been removed from office. This commissioning needs to be queried and investigated. Such should not be done after he had been removed from office.

The former GM is taking advantage of the absence of the Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, Hajia Hanatu Musawa and the new CEO of the parastatal, Mrs Tola Akerele who are far away in Dafur on official assignment to remain in office since there is nobody to call him to order.

We are therefore calling on the ICPC, EFCC and the DSS to investigate his illegal stay in office and all the monies expended on the supposes send forth and the purchase of the mini buses and tricycle.”

Ayinde appealed to the new CEO saying, “Workers deserve a better deal. This is why we have high hope in the incoming administration of Mrs Tola Akerele to right the wrong and bring about necessary changes and address all issues relating to workers’ welfare and condition of service.”

While highlighting some of his achievements, Prof Sunday Ododo acknowledged that the achievements of his regime would not have been possible without the support of the staff.

He explained that all the great initiatives as staff training and openness to staff he introduced during his tenure would outlive his tenure.

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