I am an experienced Social Media practitioner with a strong passion for connecting with customers of brands. As part of a team, I presently work on the social media account of a leading European auto company. On this job, I have brought my vast experiences in journalism, marketing, search engine optimisation and branding to play.
By M. Babajide-Alabi
In the past few days I had cautioned myself from commenting on the shameful non payment of months of salaries to some states’ workers. I felt it would be an exercise in futility as what the workers of these states need right now is not long and winding grammar, but money that will put food and drinks on their tables and also make them take care of their dependants and family members.
I changed my mind. Yes, I changed my mind when I read comments by some Nigerians trying to justify the non payment. Of course they do have the right to air their opinions, but very frustrating in their attempts to put the wool over our eyes. I could not but pick up my pen and put my thoughts on paper.
Sometimes ago I wrote a piece lamenting the nonpayment of pensions to Nigeria’s OAPs. How men and women who had served the country meritoriously for many years were randomly denied their dues, and with many under the table deals going on in respect to the pensions. Read the piece HERE.
The distressing part of the pensioners’ tale is that some of them die without collecting their dues. Yet the people who were employed to look after the interests of these pensioners are the ones who stand as the greatest obstacles to their good living. They are the wicked souls who “invest” the pensions of these old men and women in “bank accounts”. They smile home withe huge interests at the end of the month while the pensioners moan and groan, praying for a day it would all come to an end.
Now it is not the pensioners that are moaning in Nigeria. They are the state governments workers. It is revealed that some of the states are owing their workers up to eight months wages. Is this not wickedness? What are the thought processes of the governors of these states? How do they expect these workers to survive in these harsh financial times?
It is rather unfortunate that in the 21st century in a country that prides itself as one of the largest oil producers in the world, workers are treated as properties of governments. Or how do you explain a situation whereby a worker had dutifully reported to work, did his own bit of duties, push files, taught students etc and for eight months, he had not received any bank deposit alert for his wages.
There is no word to explain this. No matter the drop in the fiscal allocation as explained by one of the governors recently, there is no justification for non payment of salaries for one month, talk less of eight months. Yet you see our leaders in London, New York and Johannesburg in the choicest hotels with a retinue of aides and family members. They are spending money like no man’s business.
When they come to the UK, the Mayfair is their choice place of accommodation. They arrange the costliest apartments in this choice area, and for a past time, they visit the best bars in the evenings for the most expensive champagne and cognac. At this point, the thoughts of the masses of workers in their states are far away from their minds.
They not only visit, they also come with a “few” of their states’ fiscal allocations to put away in the UK. They have their contacts in the city who works behind the scenes for them. These contacts advise on how and where to “bury” the funds and also what properties to buy for investments.
Do not make the mistake, there is no saint among these state “looters”. For them Dubai is a second home. It is in their backyard. So they visit at any time they want and do whatever they like with the people’s money. Do they really care? No. Because an average politician in Nigeria is more of what comes into his pocket than what impact he can make on the society.
In a country where elections are won on how much money is thrown around, these governors do find themselves as main backers of prominent politicians in the quest to gain power. During this period, the thoughts about payment of workers’ salaries are banished far away. The main concern would be winning the elections.
It is common knowledge that some states raise money to fight the political battles in other states. The case of the Group of 19 Assembly men from Ekiti is one good example. After running “headless” to Lagos for support morally and financially, and nothing came forth, the confused “19” were said to have retraced their steps to Osun State, where the benevolent governor picked up their bills. The governor is Rafiu Aregbesola.
And come to think of it, Aregbesola, the khaki, high school uniform loving governor of Osun State is one of the governors who “stopped” paying their workers eight months ago. Yes, he stopped. Not that he could not, he stopped. The Progressive Governor, who committed so much financially to the renaming of Osun State to the State of Osun, lost the plot after his second term election. I think he made up his mind after the elections that he cared less for the workers.
Aregbesola has been credited with a few developments in the state of Osun. We were made to understand that before his adventure in the state, there was no development at all. Some of his aides had come to his defence that he is in the sorry state he is now because he took loans for these projects. Among his projects was the Amala and Gbegiri feeding project for students in the school.
I remember a few years back the social media was agog with how much love the state indigenes had for him because of his populist programmes. Everyday in the media we saw happy faces of Osun indigenes as they boarded free train rides to “nowhere”. Aregbe was everywhere in the media.
At the height of his “love” reign, the governor even boasted he needed not wait for FG allocation to pay the state workers. He lambasted his fellow governors who were complaining about the delay in receiving FG allocation. He was “intoxicated” with the loans he had in his pockets at this time, so felt he could deride other governor.
Reality dawned on our dear governor when the external loan dried up in his pocket. He had no option than to own up and write himself off as a failure. Aregbesola is now cited as an example of a failed individual. He is not alone in this embarrassing situation. According to a report, Aregbesola is just one of the eighteen failing governors who think their workers need not have the rewards of their sweat.
However, Aregbesola has become the embarrassing face of these governors. He is the most condemned of the lots. The reality of the injustice he is perpetrating on his subjects must have impacted greatly on his last week, when he came out openly that he was helpless with the Osun State case.
A governor who once boasted of not having to wait for for FG allocation, is now complaining about the slash from the Jonathan led government. These are indeed strange times.
In saner climes, Mr. Aregbesola would have resigned honourably, after admitting the issue was beyond him. Is it not time for him to allow someone else take over the management of the state? But I know Nigerian politicians, they would rather die in office than do the honourable thing.