My Dear Governor Yahaya Bello,
I hope this mail finds you well. This is a long time in the making. I have made several attempts in the past 2 years to see you and to discuss some disturbing issues with you but all attempts failed because your aides wouldn’t allow me. As a result, I am forced to send this in an open letter to you using this medium hoping it will get to you as the situation is becoming really bad.
Sir, the issue I want to discuss with you is that Kogi State under your watch is dying. This is predicated on the non-payment of salaries.
The non-payment of salaries affected the poorest in the state the most – the local government workers. Your second in command – Edward Onoja is the one in charge of local governments. In the last 39 months, you have governed Kogi State the 21 local governments in the state have received the sum of N111 billion from Federation Account. This money if, given to the local governments is enough to pay salaries and for them to embark on some projects – but unfortunately, this didn’t get to them. Perhaps you are not aware of this!!!
The same also goes to the state civil service and pensioners. The total money you received including the local governments, bailout and Paris club is over N350 billion or $1billion Dollars. Your Excellency, this money is more than enough to pay salaries to all categories of workers and still have a hefty balance to prosecute projects.
The issue of salaries is so mundane that its priority should be taken for granted and ALL societies consider it a red line. Just to be sure salary gives people money to enable them to buy food to eat, pay rent for their house, pay hospital bills when they are sick, pay children school fees, and even transport themselves to work. Your excellency without salary how do you expect people to pay their bills? How do they manage their lives?
Our people have been pushed to untimely death, poverty and to crime as a result of the non- payment of salaries. The non – payment of salaries is no doubt a problem you inherited from previous administrations. We celebrated your coming because we hoped you will solve the problem – you are a breath of fresh air; you are a compassionate leader. One of the key traits of a compassionate leader is the ability to apply funds to the right priorities. This unfortunately not the case in our dear state.
These issues are spoken in whispers – people talked about this behind closed doors because they are afraid for their lives – People who dare to raise their voice to complain or protest this mistreatment have been summarily killed or intimidated to the extent that a reign of terror is foisted on the people of the state.
Your Excellency, I am still hopeful that you can change this situation. I am therefore appealing to you to please:
- Pay workers and pensioners their salaries for these 39 months of your administration.
- Release local governments funds to them 100% for these 39 months of your administration.
- Pay the Judiciary their salaries. Looking for ‘ghost workers’ should not take precedence over workers welfare
- The 25000 workers you described as ghosts are not ghosted, they are real human beings. Reabsorb them or find other jobs for them.
- Free people from fears – disarm your goons from terrorising the people. Listen to genuine complaints and protests
- Stop the persecutions of political opponents e.g.Natasha H Akpoti, Dino Malaye just to mention a few. In a democratic society – we do not have to agree on the same thing.
Your excellency, I genuinely wish you to succeed. We are in a season of preparing for your second tenure election, addressing these issues comprehensively and urgently will lead to your success. see the attached receipts from the Federation accounts.
Thanks for your time.
– Chief Momoh Obaro