The time to make a strong appeal to the Kogi State Governor, Alh. Yahaya Bello not to pay less than the 50% salary to local government workers is now.
This appeal stems from ongoing negotiation by Government officials and the local union.
It is no longer news that Nigerians, with people of Kogi State inclusive, are currently experiencing the worst economic hardship owing to the covid-19 scourge that has ravaged the world.
Due to the pandemic, Nigerians have been forced to stay at home, thus reducing there earning power, with more mouths to feed, as most families are now together.
More worrisome is the high cost of goods and services, owing to the restrictions following the lockdown. That making ends meet for most families in Kogi State is now a difficult task is an understatement, therefore calls to question the rumoured plan by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs why it is contemplating paying less than the 50% to local government workers.
That the workers agreed to accept 50% before now was a necessary sacrifice that was needed to be made, which coincidentally and unfortunately would negate the promise of Gov. Yahaya Bello, who said rather than pay less, he was going work towards its improvement.
Many people are aware that four days to the November 16 election in Kogi State Governor, Alh. Yahaya Bello, met with the leadership of the various Trade Unions, where he emphatically promised local government workers not to retrench them if he is reelected and to also improve on the 50% salary workers in the third tier of government were receiving in Kogi State if elected.
It is a known fact that the workers kept to their promise and voted handsomely for the governor’s return. The current negotiation that is therefore ongoing between the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs officials with the various leadership of the union at the 21 LGAs and seeking there understanding to accept less than 50% as salaries, no doubt calls for this appeal and for the intervention of Gov. Yahaya Bello.
The appeal has become necessary most especially that it is against Gov. Bello’s earlier promise and the negotiation may also not be with his consent.
Recall that last month, precisely in March when about N550billion was shared as allocation in February, Kogi workers at the local government level were paid 50%, thus, leaving one to wonder why the Ministry is negotiating paying less now that the sum of N660billion was shared in March for April salary.
The ongoing negotiation with council union at local government level, leaving out the state chapter, the umbrella that earlier negotiated and was begged to accept the 50% as salaries owing to challenge and shortfall, leaves room for suspicion, and making many to think that the Ministry has some sinister and ulterior motives.
The current covid-19 pandemic ravaging the world, with devastating economic effects on Nigerians, calls to question the sensitivity of the Ministry’s official to be contemplating paying less than 50% as salaries, needs serious thinking and Gov. Bello’s attention, with the current hardship that is considered unimaginable.
The need to pity and have mercy on council workers, particularly in this period has become very apt.
Lest we forget, even while most Nigerians are observing the stay at home, it is a fact that health workers in the local government and other workers are still taking risks, by rendering services as well as ensuring the monthly immunization exercises in Kogi State.
The people of Kogi State are however calling on Gov. Yahaya Bello to be aware of the current matter and that negotiation is ongoing to pay less than 50% to council workers, because many think he is obviously not aware, even as the people have vowed not to succumb to inhuman policies.
The leadership of the local government council union have also been warned not to mortgage the interest of workers in their local government area.
That workers at that level of government have made untold sacrifices, therefore require that there interest must be paramount. Enough is enough.
The time to be sensitive to matters that affect the citizens is now, particularly now that even the blind can see the hardship people are going through, following the covid-19 scourge, the lockdown and restrictions and stay at home.
That Gov. Bello has proven to be a darling of local government area workers has never been a matter of argument.
It is therefore on this note his intervention is very critical in this matter of the planned less than 50 % as April salaries for Kogi State Local Government Workers.
– Muktari Zubairu Salish, a public affairs analyst, writes from Adavi, Kogi State.