Two factions of pensioners in the State of Osun are at odds over the payment of pension arrears by Governor Rauf Aregbesolas administration.
Early this morning, a faction, led by Chairman of the Pensioners’ Forum for the 2011/2012 retirees, Mr Omoniyi Ilesanmi, took to the streets of Osogbo, the state capital, to renew calls for the payment of their pension arrears and gratuities.
However, Chairman, Triangular Group of Osun Pensioners, Prince Rotimi Adenugba has dismissed the protest by some of his colleagues as another political stunt meant to portray Aregbesola's administration as bad in the face of the public as the Osun West Senatorial District Election approaches on July 8.
The group of pensioners led by Mr. Ilesanmi, as early as 7am on Thursday, began their walk through Ayetoro to Igbona, Ajegunle, Orisumbare and the popular Olaiya Junction to ask for the unconditional payment of their arrears by Governor Aregbesola.
They accused the Governor and the state government of not showing concern over their plight, a development they say has led to the death of some of their colleagues.
Armed with placards carrying different inscriptions like "President Come to our rescue", "Aregbesola is a thief", etc, the pensioners alleged that the governor is planning to divert the second tranche of Paris Club Fund released to state governments.
Omoniyi noted that the protest was to demand their right, stressing that it has nothing to do with politics or politicians.
However, in a strong rebuttal, Prince Adenugba accused the Ilesanmi faction of hobnobbing with the opposition in the state in order to undermine the government.
"Recall it was this same group of pensioners who colluded with a disgraced and dismissed judge in the state to organize a two-hour IDP’s camp in January.
"If their agitations were genuine, why haven’t we seen them in town again until few weeks to an election that will determine the fate of our people?"
Asked if they have received their pensions till date, Prince Adelugba revealed that, "According to our agreement with government, our pensions has been paid till May 2017.
"A committee led by Comrade Hassan Summonu and other union leaders who represent our interests made sure workers and pensioners were taken care of when the government got the first tranche of Paris loan refund.
"In fact, the committee revealed to us that over N14.2bn was paid out in salaries and pensions to clear four month arrears, even though the state received around N11bn from the FG."
Explaining further, Prince Adelugba said, "Pensioners on levels 1-7 have been paid their full pensions, while pensioners in levels 8-11 are paid 75%, while level 12 and above are paid 50%.
"I can only implore my colleagues to show understanding with the government, and soon as the state finances improved, the government has promised to pay all outstanding," Prince Adenugba stated.