Agents of the All Progressives Congress in Akwa ibom state have been brandishing these photographs on the social media for three days now, claiming that these are Akwa Ibom State pensioners who are being owed by the state government.
While no one will claim that all retired civil servants have been paid their gratuities up to date, but certainly we are all aware that the first step the Governor Udom Emmanuel led government took in 2015, was to clear the backlog of gratuities of 10years, inherited from previous administrations in the state. Since then, efforts are being made to continue clearing the gratuities in batches at all categories, including primary school teachers and local government workers. The Governor has refused to see those categories of workers as not his direct responsibility, and is intervening seriously in their wellbeing.
Nothing is as dubious and false as this silly assertion by a group of media hirelings, that these pictures of people in excruciating pains, were taken in Akwa Ibom State.
Even at a glance, it is quite clear that none of these scenes emanated from Akwa Ibom State as it lacked elements of time, place and date.
How did this kind of scenario play out and was not reported in any national or even APC owned media outlets?
Did we not witness last year, how pensioners came together in December to endorse the state Governor for his sincerity in tackling their problems, backlog of unpaid gratuities, regular pension payments,etc?
Where these media urchins blind, deaf and dumb to the event which was widely publicised?
The news was published in several media including Nation newspaper, cited here, http://thenationonlineng.net/praises-emmanuel-pensioners-celebrate-day/
“But in Akwa Ibom State, pensioners have been lucky. Any wonder they gathered at the Ibom Hall Ground, along IBB Way in Uyo on Monday to praise Governor Udom Emmanuel for not allowing them to suffer like their counterparts in some states.
“Under the aegis of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), the retirees poured encomiums on Governor Emmanuel for his concern about workers’ welfare, especially those of the pensioners.
“The retired persons numbering 28,000 marked this year’s National Pensioners’ Day celebration with the theme “Pensioners Edaka Eda”.
“Having expressed their appreciation to the Governor, they declared their willingness and readiness to support the Emmanuel-led administration in his efforts to move the state forward.” (Nation Newspapers December 15, 2017)
Those who owed these pensioners are today the ones coming back to sponsor attacks against a government that cleared their debts under very difficult economic challenges.
While the challenges of clearing arrears of gratuities may still there in some areas, especially local government workers, it is important to note that deliberate efforts by the Governor is fast checking this anomalies. In any case, he never allowed it to this proportion.
With 2019 around the corner, the level of desperation by the opposition can drive them to do crazy things. Unfortunately for them,the Akwa Ibom State public is not as gullible and low as they think. Let’s be well guided, as they conceive and throw up more trashes into the media space.
(c)Essien Ndueso 2018