How will pensioners in Delta state celebrate independence day?
By GbaramatuVoice Editorial Board
As Deltans join the rest of Nigerians to mark yet another independence day on Saturday, October 1, 2022, the celebration provides GbaramtuVoice a great opportunity to reflect on how off track Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s led administration has taken Delta state.
From crushing weight of debt borrowed by the state government with no repayment plan or consideration of its consequences on the future prospects of our children, to poor infrastructures, poor state of primary and secondary schools in the state, galloping youth unemployment, insecurity and poor health institutions, among others.
In addition to the above, what troubles us most as a media organization is the terrible condition Mr. Governor’s inability to pay pensioners in the state has placed these innocent elderly Deltans, who served the state dutifully and diligently.
The newspaper is particularly not happy with this ugly development.
In fact, by this deliberate decision not to pay them their pension, Okowa in our views have strategically marked this group of people to suffer hunger, penury and possibly die without receiving what is due to them.
This is not only painful but a heartless occurrence coming from a government we all thought was godly. Pensioners harrowing situation in the state has finally laid bare Governor Okowa’s pretentious outlook and those who were initially deceived by his appearance has finally come to term that there is no difference between him and other dubious politicians.
Also making the development a reality to worry about is the awareness that instead of the Governor looking for creative ways to settle this indebtedness, he is busy raising baseless arguments that cannot hold water when faced with embarrassing facts.
For instance, reacting to protests by the retired teachers who called on the government of the state to pay them their unpaid pensions, Okowa said; “The opposition party influenced the protest by some retired primary schools teachers demanding their pensions in the state. The state’s Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu said the woman who led the protest on is a card-carrying member of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).”
Before the dust raised by that slanted argument on the part of the state government could settle, another was up.
This time around caused by a similar deformed argument on the part of the government. This time around, the state claimed that the pensioners are former local government staff who were owed by former administrations in the state.
At about the same time, the Governor and his handlers turned 360 degrees to claim that the federal government is owing Delta state billions of Naira and they were expecting the FG to pay up so that they can be able to pay their pensioners.
Under this varying statement, what or which shall we believe? What is the difference between state governments and local governments even with the new era of financial autonomy of local governments?
While these questions will assist Governor Okowa act in good conscience, the fact remains that in the interim he (the Governor) should look for ways to settle these pensioners.
In all these, one fact the Governor must not fail to remember is that receiving their pension at the right time and place is their constitutional right. On the other hands, prompt payment of this pension is the obligation of the state government. Where the money for this payment is coming from shouldn’t be the responsibility or headache of the pensioners.
As it is a common palace, (“every labourer deserves his/her wage”). The newspaper believes that the only ‘crime’ these pensioners committed against the state is that they served their nation diligently with their strength and candor.
The Newspaper holds the opinion that payment of these outstanding pension to these elderly citizens is the only way to make the Independence day celebration rewarding.
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