Publications on Payment of Kogi Workers’ Salary Has Exposed Detractors – Fanwo

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In an exclusive interview with Kogireports, the Director General, Media and Publicity to the Governor of Kogi State, Kingsley Fanwo bares his mind on the raging controversy over claims and counter-claims on unpaid salaries, PDP’s 2019 posturing and other issues.
Excerpt:
While Kogi state government is insisting that it is owing two months salary, labour leaders alleged that salary arrears hovers around 21 months. What is the true picture of Kogi workers’ salary?
There is no confusion on workers salary payment updates. Government is made up of the people. The Governor is here on trust. Salaries have been paid up to July. We have never denied the fact that the already concluded Staff Verification Exercise led to delay in the payment of salaries to some categories of workers. We felt their pains. We know how difficult it could be. But significantly, we have been able to pay the workers up to July this year and the two outstanding months are being processed.
It is unfortunate that some politicians are hiding under the misinformation about salaries to create confusion and portray the State Government as being irresponsible to the people. This argument has been going on for sometime. We have given out the facts but it persisted. The Governor decided to take the bull by the horn to publish what has gone to each worker since the inception of this administration. We started yesterday and have been receiving unprecedented feedback.
Some of the workers that have been denying receiving salaries have been exposed. Their lies are becoming naked. The new slogan now is the amount they think we have used to publish the facts. The heat is getting to them. This government is responsible and responsive. Falsehood cannot stand forever.
Labour agreed that Kogi government has paid about 50% of workers till July 2017 but owing about 48% workers between 3 and 21 months salary arrears.
Their claims are untrue. We have come out with the facts. Some of those who have not been paid stand a chance of getting paid after harmonization of the clemency list. But to say the percentage is 48 is outrageous.
The ongoing strike has entered the fourth week. People are worried that Kogi state government has not shown signs of readiness to negotiate with labour.
I don’t want to call it strike but the refusal of some people to go to work. All the staff in my office has been coming to work. They have refused to join any strike because they have been receiving their salaries. This is applicable to many ministries, agencies and parastatals across the state.
The Governor has regarded to those not coming to work as political civil servants. The immediate past Governor collected allocations for four months and refused to pay them. They only went on strike a few weeks to the inauguration of the present administration to embarrass the incoming government. They are playing the cards of politicians.
We thank those that have been going to work and assure them that anyone who works will be paid. We are committed to this promise.
How can you negotiate with Labour leaders who have virtually relocated to hotels rented for them in Abuja by their sponsors? Anyone who wants to be negotiated with should come to his office. Government work is conducted in offices.
BIR is vibrant today because dynamic youth have taken over the place. Our civil service is moving towards that.
What is responsible for the current slow pace of work on roads and other infrastructural development projects initiated by this government?
We are trying to find a middle course. What we have from the Federation Account and our grossly improved IGR are not enough to pay salaries and still fund our ongoing capital projects across the state. But we are finding solutions to the situation. We are getting closer to the realization of the fact that our resources shouldn’t go to only the civil servants.
The resources of Kogi State belong to the civil servants and non-civil servants. A good road will serve a teacher, a doctor, a vulcanizer and a furniture maker. Adequate water supply is to the benefit of all. We will arrive at a balance. Our contractors are back on site. Governor Yahaya Bello will deliver on his promises.
Ahead of 2019 general elections, what is the political health status of Kogi APC viz-a-viz the perceived PDP resurgence in the state?
APC is very healthy in Kogi State. We have registered over 500,000 members and you will realize that a party doesn’t need that figure to win a governorship election in the state. Every week, we welcome thousands of decampees into our party.
In Mopamuro, a sitting PDP Chairman of the party decamped to APC a couple of weeks ago. When the head is cut off, what happens to the body? There is no confusion in our party. PDP is trying to wake up from their stupor and that is good for democracy. They have not been playing their role well as an opposition party but hopefully, they will wake up to that reality now and do better. APC dwarfed them in 2015 because that party added no value to the state in 13 years.
APC is not worried. We are harmonizing too and many aggrieved leaders and members are coming home gradually. We respect everyone.
You have not told us what is happening in PDP. We saw the protests after their congresses. We heard how some powerful elements in the party cried foul. They need to sort that out before coming at us. APC in Kogi stands like the rocks of Gilbratha.
Okun Development Association will hold a crucial election today in Kabba. There was an allegation that Kogi government is supporting one of the chairmanship contenders, Barr. Mokikan. How true is this?
It is not true. Government wouldn’t have meddled in the affairs of ODA. Some people took the personal endorsements of some government officials to mean state government endorsement. We are first Okun before being a government official.
What are your expectations from the post-election ODA?
Stronger ODA. Reconciliation must take center stage and the new executives must justify the pre-election expectations of the Okun people. We want Okun to be at the center of activities in our state and our nation. We expect to see a more united Okun nation.

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