… to clearing backlog of arrears
By Lookman Alao
Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji has made history again.
On Thursday, he rekindled joy in 140 pensioners with N500m.
At the event held in Ado Ekiti Oyebanji assured pensioners in the state that his administration would not relent in the drive to clear the backlog of gratuities in order to guarantee their welfare at their old age.
Governor Oyebanji stated this on Thursday while presenting cheques worth 500 million Naira to about 140 benefiting retired state pensioners at a brief event at Jibowu Hall, Ado- Ekiti.
He said government was not unaware of the hardship caused by the subsidy removal on the senior citizens who had served the state meritoriously for the better part of their lives, assuring that government would always look for avenues to cushion the effect of the economic situation.
While disclosing that efforts were in top gear to work our modalities on how to clear the backlog of all gratuity arrears, Governor Oyebanji said his administration would also consider the demand for monthly payment of gratuity to Pensioners.
As regards wage award for workers, Governor Oyebanji said his government was already working out a scenario where workers would be taking care of to cushion the effect of subsidy removal on them but would not rush to give a figure government would not be able to sustain.
He pleaded with the citizens of the state to be patient with his administration as government is also working out formalities that would take care of those in informal sector of the economy as he assured all of good policies, interventions and infrastructural development that would enable government perform its responsibility to all without prejudice.
“On all outstanding issues, we are working so hard to ensure that we crack those nuts, I’m aware of all the arrears of pensions and check-off dues and a lot of things that are still due to our people. Our intention is to come to a point where we reach appreciable number of the pensioners, and you know that a committee has been put in place and very soon discussion will be concluded on it. We are trying to get the best deal for our people. What will gladden my heart is to sit down and see that we are doing 20Billion Naira, and it feasible, it will get to a larger number.
“Also on what the labour leaders refer to as wage award, I will not rush and promise you something that I will start and I won’t be able to sustain. If I want applause, I can award too and when it is no longer sustainable, we start dragging it, that is not my style because I promised to deal with you in truth. So, we are looking at the numbers, they’re working out the scenarios, and whatever we promise we are going to do for you sure it is something that we can carry. I don’t want to do something I will stop mid-way.
The head of service, Engr. Sunday Komolafe commended the Governor in the drive to ensure careful implementation of his administration’s cardinal programmes and policies to impact positively on the lives of the people, saying the various disbursement he had done for pensioners in the state laid credence to his resolve to make life meaningful and worthwhile for the people.
Komolafe called on citizens of the state to continue to support the government with their prayers in order to achieve a better Ekiti where everyone will be comfortable in the shared prosperity agenda of the state.
Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Kolapo Olatunde, and his counterpart from the Trade Union Congress, Sola Adigun, opined that the narratives had changed concerning the issues of pension and gratuity payment in the state since the inception of the present administration.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Pensioners expressed appreciation to the Governor for his care and magnanimity to Pensioners in the state adding that his prompt payment of pension and release of gratuity has helped to enliven the heart of pensioners and prayed that God would continue to fortify him to do more exploits in the state.
He lauded the Governor for appointing one of them as Special Adviser on Pension matters saying pensioners never had it so good in the state.
Some of the beneficiaries, including Mrs. Christiana Ademulegun, Mr. Joseph Abiola, and Mrs. Janet Ogunlade, thanked the Governor for prioritizing issues concerning pensioners’ welfare.
Also at the event were the Deputy Governor, Chief (Mrs) Monisade Afuye; Speaker, House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Adeoye Aribasoye; Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akintunde Oyebode, members of state Executive Council and Secretary to the State Government, Dr Habibat Adubiaro.