If you owe salaries as Governor, hide your face

Governors who still owe salaries don't mean Nigeria well and should be told so.

From Kogi to Abia, from Imo to Osun, from Ekiti to Ondo and Zamfara, State Governors are literally getting away with murder.

In Kogi, a Director in the State civil service took his own life after he was owed 11 months in salaries (or eight months, as the Kogi State government would later callously clarify).

In Osun, Governor Rauf Aregbesola refers to what’s happening in the Southwest State as a ‘modulated salary’ system.

“We are not happy paying modulated salary to our workers in the civil service and political appointees, we are compelled by the financial reality; we are constrained”, offered Aregbesola.

“Contrary to the lies you are being fed, it is not all our workers that receive half salary. Workers on level 1-7, being the most vulnerable and the largest chunk of the workforce are being paid full salary. Workers on level 8-11 showed understanding with the government to accept 75% of their salary.

“It is only workers on grade level 12 upward that receive 50% of their salary. The workers have shown maturity, support and understanding. We acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifice and support of the workers”, Aregbesola added.

In Ekiti, Ayodele Fayose would rather play asinine politics with salaries of civil servants.

In Imo State, Governor Rochas Okorocha would rather erect a statue worth millions of Naira for a visiting president buffeted with corruption allegations back home, than pay salaries of civil servants.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State owes workers between six to 12 months in salaries.

Several State Governors are blaming the fall in the price of crude oil and theft of the people’s wealth by the PDP, for their inability to pay salaries. Aregbesola sits firmly in this boat.

Kogi State’s Yahaya Bello says he can’t pay all workers until the payroll system has been wiped of ghost workers.

Bello’s biometric verification exercise which promises to yank ghosts off the payroll, has lasted forever even as employees die or commit suicide on his watch.

“How can anyone go to bed and sleep soundly when workers have not been paid their salaries for months?" asked President Muhammadu Buhari when Governors visited him recently for another round of bailouts.

“I actually wonder how the workers feed their families, pay their rents and even pay school fees for their children,’’ Buhari interrogated.

The answer is that most workers have been unable to feed their families, pay rents and even pay school fees of wards since 2015. In the guise of verifying workers on the payroll, most State Governors are starving civil servants to death.

With little money going round and hitting pockets in States, it is little wonder Nigeria is still battling inflation, depression and recession. Purchasing power of civil servants is key to reflating an economy on its knees.

And what have State Governors been doing with bailout or Paris Club refund monies?

Why must States continually depend on federal allocation to survive? Whatever happened to State Governors thinking outside of the box, getting innovative and making their own money? At what point do we dispense with the disgraceful rent economy we presently run?

The rate at which Governors owe employees in the civil service has become a national emergency. We all should be railing against this.

Most Governors corner monies meant for local governments and hand out a pittance to the third tier of government. No wonder the local government system has virtually collapsed today.

State Governors who think it's fanciful to owe workers months and months in salaries are a national calamity who should be told so to their faces.

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