By Egbara Emmanuel
Local government workers in Cross river state in recent years have been seen as a lepers of the state work force over non-payment of salaries
So much has been said on salaries paid to the State workers but nobody is remembering that the Local Government workers were being owed for months .
I Egbara Emmanuel is neither a state worker nor a local government staff but I remain the voice of the people.
My article has no atom of hate or any mission of distraction but just a call to the right direction.
A friend called lately congratulating Governor AYADE for paying the December salaries to the state workers and I asked in simple language “Did the local government workers also vote for AYADE” he remain mute for hour some minutes without a word I am not looking for whom to blame nor who is in charge but as far as I remain the voice of the voiceless let AYADE wake up to this call and who ever that has become so heartless in treating the local government workers as pest of the state be brought to book or fired for incompetence and lack of purpose.
Local government workers for example have been impoverished since 2011 to date but their stories has never been heard discussed as a matter of state interest and its associated implications.
The state workers were being owed some months before the general elections but was paid immediately AYADE took over the the case of the local government was not addressed.
Now authorities, civil societies, NLC and the general public always cry so much like babies, others even went to International court to drive their needs home when it comes to state workers.
They are sure aware of the situation in the LGs but they paid no attention to it as if the workers in the LGs were slaves that doesn’t deserve to feed well, as if the LG workers were foreigners, lesser beings, second class citizens.
As if they were not going to the same market with the state and workers, as if its a crime to work in the LG, as if we they deserve any share from cross river wealth.
Many have died of hunger, many have died because they couldn’t afford five hundred naira for drugs, many LG workers and their children have dropped out of school because of denied payments.
The worst is that local government workers union are part of this wicked act, they don’t care whether members got full pay, percentages or no pay at all, some of them occupied management positions in LGs, where they are being adequately taken care of, some are naturally weak and powerless either because they were brought in as union leaders by the management of the LGs or they were by nature weak.
In my own opinion, there’s no workers union at the LG level.
The workers union popularly known as Nulge is unimaginable corrupt and weak to be reckon with as a union.
Another deadliest constrain facing the LG salaries are the state governments who are operating the LGs as an offshoots, appendages, departments, area offices etc of the state ,AYADE should not continue with this tradition.
The state government through Ministry for Local Government Affairs stipulates what LGs takes home as Federal Allocations, what is paid as salaries to workers while the ministry part with huge amount from the LGs allocation is this how we would continue?
A visit to any Ministry for LG affairs will reveal the luxury they are into, monies going in and out.
Every state workers wish to be posted there. Recently a friend was congratulated by friends including members of staff of the ministry for being posted there, stating that this friend is lucky.
State governments use LGs funds as bonus fund they can use to finance their personal projects.
They are very much aware of the hunger at the grass root but they are careless because it doesn’t affect them.
My prayer is that relevant bodies including AYADE as the head of cross river government should take LG workers salaries as a serious matter as it affect the well-being of the downtrodden.
They should investigate on how the allocations to LGs since 2011 has been spent.
They should help LGs to recover deducted funds by the state while making efforts to liberate LGs from state control.
They should intervene in the payment of several months salary arrears owed to the LG workers or at least begin payment of workers salaries in full from the current month onward.
All outstanding promotions and increments should be implemented including full minimum wages.
They should abolish State Local Government Service Commission, Ministry for Local Government Affairs and all other state own MDAs that are being funded with LG funds.
They should help to advocate for all things that will make workers at LGs have sense of belonging as part of Cross river citizens and not as being treated as second class citizen.
LG workers should stand up and take their destiny into their hands, they should take to the street and protest the suffering being melted upon them by non payment of their salaries.
Unless they do this, nobody will care about them. Let it be part of the ex-mas Bonus to the state.
Do something to save a soul. Though they know but kept quiet.
This is my opinion; no attack, no abuse, its just an advise so that the worst is not seen.
I remain Egbara Emmanuel the son of the state and the voice of the voiceless. Support AYADE for a better cross river.