Pay Salaries Incurred in Your Tenure Before Talking About Clearing Outstanding Debts: Abia PDP to Gov Alex Otti | #NwokeukwuMascot


Abia PDP Urges Governor Otti to Address Current Salary Arrears Before Settling Old Debts | #NwokeukwuMascot

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The Abia State chapter of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) has called on Governor Alex Chioma Otti to settle the salary arrears accumulated during his administration before addressing inherited debts. This demand was made in a press statement responding to comments by Abia State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Mike Akpara, regarding the government's plans to clear over N16.4 billion in outstanding debts.

The press statement, signed by Hon. Elder Abraham Amah, the Abia PDP Vice Chairman and Acting State Publicity Secretary, criticized the government’s focus on past debts while allegedly neglecting current salary obligations. The PDP highlighted a recent dispute involving the Abia State University (ABSU) branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which contradicted Governor Otti's claims of up-to-date salary payments to university staff. ASUU asserted that staff were still owed salaries, emphasizing the financial strain caused by irregular payments.

The PDP's statement, titled "ALEX OTTI SHOULD PAY THE SALARIES HE INCURRED IN HIS TENURE BEFORE TALKING ABOUT CLEARING ANY OUTSTANDING," accused the Otti administration of mismanagement and lack of transparency. The party challenged the governor to disclose details of the alleged N4.7 billion spent on renovating public schools, urging the public to verify these claims. The PDP argued that the funds received from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) should suffice to clear both the governor’s debts and inherited arrears if governance costs were reduced.

“The Alex Otti administration has become the proverbial leopard that can never change its spots. Not with the recent statement by the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Mike Akpara, that Alex Otti is making plans to clear outstanding salaries of about N16.5b owed Abia workers in state-owned institutions by the past administration. This is clearly laughable and diversionary, considering that Alex Otti, as governor, is currently owing different cadres of Abia workers varying months of salaries, not inherited from any administration but in the past year that he became governor.

“Last week, the Abia State University branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, issued a scathing press statement refuting claims by governor Alex Otti that the salary payments of staff at the institution were up-to-date. In the press statement, the leadership of ASUU stated clearly that its members were owed salaries by the Alex Otti government and warned the government to desist from playing politics with the salaries and welfare of the staff of the institution as its members, were currently going through some financial burdens as a result of irregular payment of their salaries.”

The statement further reads, “Governor Alex Otti cannot be talking about N16.5b owed workers in state-owned institutions when he took a whopping sum of N4.7b to renovate public schools, which no living being has seen. Again, we challenge Alex Otti to make public the list of public schools in Abia State that were renovated with N4.7b in the past year, so that Abians can go and verify for themselves. The Abia PDP knows that the money he receives from the FAAC can clear all that he owes and the arrears he inherited if he decides to cut the humongous cost of governance and stop living large on the commonwealth of Abians.

“The Abia PDP condemns the action of the governor and sees him as an ostrich that sticks its head in the sand to avoid confrontations with reality. In the past year since he became governor, Alex Otti has sacked more than 15,000 Abia civil servants, subjecting the remaining ones to endless verification exercises, which many workers have completed but are yet to receive their salaries for over a year.

“Last year, the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC released a list of state governors that have yet to comply with the payment of the N30,000 minimum wage, and it was embarrassing that Abia State made the list, despite the huge sums of money that come to Abia every month from the FACC, more so when poorer states like Ebonyi and Taraba have implemented the directive and started paying the N30,000 minimum wage.

“In the same vein, Abia State also made the list of states whose governors have yet to grant any wage award to their workers to cushion the adverse effects of the removal of the fuel subsidy after more than one year. It is obvious to Abia workers that their governor, who used N11.5b to run his own office in one year, is not compassionate enough to grant them a wage award, even if it is for one month, as some states have been doing in the past 12 months. In December, the governor made a joke of Abia workers when he announced to the world that he had paid them their 13th month salary, and it turned out to be an additional N8,000 to the salaries of all cadres of workers. This shows clearly that the governor lacks empathy for the suffering Abia workers.

“Abia PDP views the comment by Mike Akpara as a continuation of the efforts of the Alex Otti administration to scapegoat the PDP, rather than taking the blame for its misdeeds, inactions, and lack of capacity to govern Abia in the past year. We are grateful that Abians now understand the kind of governor they are dealing with.Thankfully, the Nazi-style propaganda employed by the Alex Otti administration since it assumed office has boomeranged on its face, because you can deceive some of the people some of the time, but you cannot deceive all the people all the time.

“Abia PDP calls on the good people of Abia State to pressure Alex Otti and prevail upon him to pay the arrears he incurred before talking about the arrears he inherited. Abians should just see this as another attempt to fleece them, as they did with the non-existent 9-year pension arrears that were cleared in the air in the faraway United States of America.

“PDP: Power to the People!” the statement concluded.


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