Ikpeazu Should Carry His Cross by T.A. Orji and How Not to Reward Loyalty | #NwokeukwuMascot
By Don Norman Obinna(Agu Ibeku)
|Gov Okezie Ikpeazu | Sen T.A Orji|
I read with utter disbelief the scoffing canard by the former governor of Abia State, Senator T.A. Orji, written by his liaison officer, Mr Ifeanyi Umere, against Governor Okezie Ikpeazu titled: Ikpeazu should carry his cross.
In an otiose determination to absolve himself/administration from the salary/pension mess, the former governor made some spurious assertions that questioned our intellectualism or rationalism if not challenged.
He wrote: “For the avoidance of any doubt (sic), neither myself nor my administrations is (sic) responsible for the staggering salary arrears owed both civil servants, parastatals and pensioners in the state.”
The claim above is laughable. Before Governor Orji’s tenure elapsed on May 29, 2015, judiciary workers were on strike for non-payment of three months’ salary arrears.
His government owed ABSUTH staff nine months’ salary arrears, Abia Poly staff; six months, teachers; five months and LG workers; three months.
The former governor owed pensioners six months’ pension allowance. Even some perm secs and workers his administration compulsorily retired were not confirmed pensioners before May 2015. In other words, his government denied them pension allowance.
It is also on record that the past administration did not pay gratuities to pensioners and leave allowances to Abia civil servants from its inception to the end (2007 – 2015).
Abia workers and pensioners never had it rosy with the past administration. The headline of Premium Times of December 19, 2012, - Suffering Abia pensioners hand “deaf” Governor Orji to God – tells the entire narrative.
Aside from these, the past administration left behind several core salary and administrative issues, such as the absence of automated or centralised salary payments.
It led to a civil servant in the Ministry of Transport (I do not want to mention his name) to fraudulently pay himself N7.1 million instead of N71,000 as salary.
Another man from Osisioma LGA, who was never a civil servant or pensioner, received pension allowances until the Ikpeazu's government uncovered and arrested him in 2016.
Six bureaus under the SSG received salary payments in cash until Ikpeazu automated and centralised salary payment upon the assumption of office.
The financial recklessness made the sub-treasurer position more attractive than the Perm Secretary under the watch of Ochendo.
It is a shame that the Ochendo-led government, which received $15.287 million (the state’s share of the $2 billion Excess Crude Proceeds Account), N22 billion, Paris club refund, facilitated by Dr Ngozi Okongi Iweala, in 2014 would put up such a ridiculous defence to exonerate itself from the rot it orchestrated under the guise that government is on the continuum.
It is a wrong way to reward loyalty. To maintain peace, Ikpeazu has taken all the bullets for Ochendo till today.
His loyalty is the reason the masses are deriding him. If it was not betrayal, I wonder what it is.