May 29: Abia governor-elect, Otti set to inherit huge arrears of salary, pension

In the next few days, many state governors will bow out of office.

While some of them are leaving with their heads high, same could not be said of quite a number of them.

There are worries over the backlog of salary and pension some of them would be handing over to the incoming administration on May 29.

DAILY POST reports that at least seven out of the 28 newly elected governors who are expected to take over power from their predecessors on May 29, will be faced with the turmoil of fixing the mess of the current administration, particularly on the issue of backlog of unpaid salaries and pensions.

According to some stakeholders, curtailing the hardship and pains birthed by the backlog of unpaid salaries in the states may constitute a challenging but doable task for the incoming governments.

In a country where payment of workers’ remuneration and other entitlements are recorded as achievement, it is regrettable that the plights of workers, particularly civil servants, are still heavily neglected, says Mr Anthony Oche, a civil servant in Benue State.

DAILY POST recalls that the outgoing governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade had in an interview on Arise Television on Wednesday, ranked his administration higher than that of his predecessors, claiming that he was able to pay salaries and pensions.

Apparently, the governor attributed his failure to execute essential projects in the state in the past eight years to his struggle to pay salaries and pensions.

More worrisome is the plight of workers in Abia, and other states where the outgoing governors are owing workers over one year salaries.

Abia State

DAILY POST gathered that the Abia State government led by the outgoing Governor, Okezie Ikpazu has the highest unpaid salaries in the country.

This means that Dr Alex Otti, who emerged as the only Governor-elect of the Labour Party and will take over from Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on May 29, will be faced with the challenge of repaying over 30 months’ salary arrears to workers.

Recall that the NLC had recently declared an indefinite strike in the state over the huge indebtedness to the workers.

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, in a statement before the commencement of the strike, stated, “The NLC is angry over no less than six months’ salary and pension arrears owed core civil servants and over 30 months’ salary and pension arrears to other public workers in the state.”

Recently, the Nigeria Medical Association accused Ikpeazu and governors of Imo, Hope Uzodimma, and Benue, Samuel Ortom, of giving health workers in their states “sleepless nights” over unpaid salaries.

A local government worker in the state, Mr Igara Micheal told DAILY POST that the unpaid salaries and pensions have plunged the state into a despicable situation.

According to him, “there is obviously nothing we benefited from the outgoing government, I can’t remember when last I received salary. We have been working on credit for over a year now.

“They are not paying salaries and there is no project you can point to that this government executed. Nothing.

“The same person wanted to be at the National Assembly, how is that even possible? He was shown the way out.”


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