…dares Government to publish details of backlogs paid in each LGA

** Governor Abdulrahman pays lowest wage award to workersTolulope Samson

A pro-democracy group in Kwara, the Kwara Sustainable Development Advocacy Forum (KWASDAF) has challenged Kwara State Government to publish details of backlogs owed to each LGA, and what is paid, in order to promote transparency and build trust, as workers continue to contest that they are still being owed and not all that is owed to them has been cleared.

A statement signed by the Coordinator of KWASDAF, Musa Idris Buko dated 21st March 2024 notes that while Kwara is a large community, there is hardly secrecy in anything that has to do with workers’ welfare, as the State is to a great extent, a Civil Servants State.

The statement reads “It is also a known culture of Kwara workers to commend State Government even on individual basis if treated well. Therefore, other than the Unions and Bodies that represent workers, the grumbles below contravenes the position of the leadership of Union bodies and National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE).

There is need for more explanation on the alleged clearance of backlogs, and if Kwara State Government wants LG workers to forfeit the remaining payment, we urge the government to plead honourably and appeal to the workers, rather than this blackmail, massive and all-out propaganda on the clearing of backlogs.

“We are demanding that the Kwara State Government publish what is owed and what is paid in respective LGAs, ceiling payments when there are variations in what is being owed is an attempt to defraud people who have suffered, given rare understanding and support to the Government, despite increased FAAC Allocations that rose to #7.27B for State and #5.04B in the most recent FAAC disbursements to Kwara. For a government that rode to power on the back of civil servants, it is wrong to make a very crude attempt to rob them of what is due to them.

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The amount announced by the State Government is not only untrue based on an independent enquiry, but also insufficient to clear the backlogs, except some are written of the book. It is evil to make an attempt to watercolour the reality of workers in the State and represent them in bad light to citizens of the State. It is equally unfair, terrible and a heist of goodwill.

“Likewise, Media Handles/Agents of the State Government have been circulating that Kwara is one of the few States paying wage award. While acknowledging that it is true, it is also an established fact that Kwara and Ogun States and perhaps one other pay the least of all other 13 States paying the Wage Award. Amidst present reality, ₦10,000 paid by the Kwara State Government is nothing to write home about. Unfortunately, Gov. Abdulrahman laid the poor foundation, pending the determination of new minimum wage.

Therefore, a government that truly cares about the people would have reviewed and adjusted accordingly before being called out by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, during one of his public functions recently. The agreement with labour unions was ₦35,000, which has not been honoured by many States, with Kwara’s #10,000 being amongst the least in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the leadership of Organised Labour Unions in Kwara are rather united in standing against the workers of the State.

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It is worthy of note that KWASDAF categorically affirms that various statements being bandied by pro-government media outlets claiming payments of #11B of Salary Arrears for LGA and SUBEB Workers is in contrast to reality. Those statements were attributed to one NULGE Secretary, Forum of Kwara LG Treasurers and Directors of Personell Management (DPMs) which appears to be mere cosmetics and misleading, not in line with the LGA workers reality”.

Governor Abdulrahman pays lowest wage award to workers

***apportions one pack of noddle per student

The lamentable state of Kwara under the stewardship of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq raises grave concerns about the trajectory of the state. In the face of unparalleled economic adversity gripping the populace, the government’s response falls woefully short of addressing the pervasive hardship experienced by millions of Kwarans. Rather than deploying policies aimed at reducing poverty and fostering societal equity, the current administration under the Mall. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq leadership demonstrates a distressing lack of sensitivity and strategic vision for the state.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s recent directive urging states to prioritize wage awards as a means to alleviate economic distress is a reminder of governmental obligations to the people in this time. However, Governor Abdulrazaq’s assertion that the state began wage payments ahead of others rings hollow, especially when compared with the stark reality faced by workers and their families. The purported payments, touted for their timeliness, only serve as a veneer of progress, failing to assuage the deep-seated hunger and despair pervading many households owing to the little and inconsistent token paid to a few percentage of workers in the state, we all have them as families and neighbours whom the government has portrayed satisfactory and comfortable with the economy reality due to her faux policies. Many no longer receive help from others because they’re believed to be well paid.

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Furthermore, the administration’s propensity for mismanagement of public funds is glaringly evident in its misplaced priorities. Projects such as the Tanke Bridge and visual arts center stand as glaring testaments to fiscal irresponsibility, diverting crucial resources away from initiatives that could genuinely uplift the state’s economy and its people. The recent spectacle of donating noodles to tertiary institutions in Kwara State, while ostensibly generous, shows the administration’s penchant for wasteful gestures devoid of substantive impact. Distributing a paltry amount of noodles among thousands of students does little to alleviate their plight.

The government’s failure to implement meaningful interventions reflects a callous disregard for the suffering endured by its constituents. Rather than earnestly addressing the pressing needs of the populace, Governor Abdulrazaq appears more preoccupied with cultivating a façade of success and garnering superficial acclaim. This approach not only undermines the dignity of Kwarans but also perpetuates their marginalization and impoverishment.

In light of these glaring deficiencies, it is important for the Abdulrahman Abdulrasak administration to adopt coherent and sustainable measures aimed at mitigating the pervasive hardship afflicting the state. Only through genuine and compassionate governance can the plight of Kwarans be alleviated, ensuring that they are not relegated to mere recipients of empty rhetoric and token gestures.

Tolulope Samson