Thursday, 29 October 2015

OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR SAMUEL ORTOM ON BEHALF OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT RETIREES IN BENUE STATE OF NIGERIA

ASSOCIATION OF CONCERNED BENUE CITIZENS
Lagos State of Nigeria
27th October 2015
The Governor,
Benue State of Nigeria



OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR SAMUEL ORTOM ON BEHALF OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT RETIREES IN BENUE STATE OF NIGERIA

We would like to congratulate our amiable Governor on his victory at the polls and election petition tribunal, which recently delivered its verdict in Makurdi. It is our fervent prayers that your victory will be upheld even at the Court of Appeal. Please, for God’s sake, whom we trust, do not give political meanings to this open letter. Its openness is in conformity with the openness of the man at the helm of affairs in this our beloved country, Nigeria. He is no other person, but the God-chosen President Mohammed Buhari (PMB). The man hates seeing his fellow human beings suffering.

2. The main reason for this open letter is to convince you to look into the plight of the retirees from Local Government Councils, especially during the regime or rule of your immediate predecessor in office. We have it on record that the State Local Government Pension Board compiled the financial needs of the retired local government employees, which raised the Benue State bailout fund to a staggering N28.013 billion from the Federal Government of Nigeria (Courtesy of the Presidential Initiative), which has gone down in the history of Nigeria as the first of its kind since our freedom from colonial rule in 1960. We are however disturbed at the turn out of events since the bailout fund was received by your administration. Information at our disposal has it that you have tactically and silently screened retirees in the local government councils out of the fund. We also have it that your men has convinced the 23 LGCs to rollout fake vouchers in order to cover the entire bailout fund, while leaving out the real beneficiaries out of the largesse. Mr. Governor, sir, we venture to say that if this information is true, then you has abuse the godly trust given to you at the polls. We give you benefits of the doubt, but will not hesitate to let Abuja know this at the appropriate time, should you go ahead with this obnoxious plan.

3. We were also informed that precisely, on the 20th October 2015, a handful of the retirees gathered at the State Headquarters to embark on peaceful demonstration over their plight. This move was later averted due to the security implications as counseled by some of them, suspected to have been sponsored by your government to infiltrate their meetings. However, information has it that the proposed demonstration was waived due to lack of security permission. Be that as it may, the important thing is the fact that this group of assumed “senior citizens” have served their fatherland, and are entitled to be placed on pension and also paid their gratuity. The State complained of lack of funds to pay the accumulated pension arrears and gratuity. PMB has provided the required funds. Why this subsequent manipulation? It is true, as your predecessor-in-office said sometimes ago: “The retirees are deadwoods”. We may agree that they are “deadwoods” because of their poor state, which blinded their eyes to the courts of law. However, in the eyes of God, they are not “deadwoods” but living human beings.

4. Finally, for the sake of public accountability (your last press briefing refers); it is our expectation that you will give due attention to this letter in order to prove the doubting Thomas wrong. It is one thing to make a public declaration, and it is another thing to work the talk. Your public declaration of accountability and transparency in the administration of public affairs in Benue State will amount to nothing, except you give God His glory, by giving to Caesar what belongs to him.
Yours faithfully,

Comrade Oche A. Kingstar peterside Jnr Political Science Department,
University of Nigeria, Nsukka Kingstarpnaija@gmail.com

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