It is no longer news that Imo state civil servants and local government workers embarked on a 5 days warning strike last week, Monday 27th to Friday 30th July, over the delay in the payment of their arrears
The 5 days warning strike has ended but not without agonizing tales, the industrial action which took every one by surprise crippled the economic activities across the state. Some of the civil servants who defied the strike order were forced out of their various complexes by organized labour groups even after the peoples governor had met and pleaded with the organized labour unions severally not to embark on the warning strike. It would be recalled that the fall in global crude prices led to the decline in allocation accrued to all the states across the federation, hence the reason why the federal government approved bail out funds for about 27 states affected in the economic crunch.
Though it’s never salutary to owe workers’ salaries, even for a day, considering the economic hardship in the land. I appeal to the peoples governor to expedite action in finding a lasting solution to this financial quandary.
The opposition and the critics of the government of Imo state as usual took advantage of the strike to accuse the peoples governor on print and social media of squandering the fortunes of the state through reckless spending and construction of structures that add no value to the economy of the state. I guess the abusers of the government were amnesic of the fact that Imo state government has never erred in the payment of it’s civil servants’ salaries since it’s inception in 2011.
One, in his criticism, contradicted himself in his comparism of the peoples governor’s management of the state’s resources to that of his predecessors and at the end posited that the peoples governor has carried out more projects than his predecessors.
In their myopic judgments, some ignored the fact that Imo state is not the only state complicit in this salary issue. Was it the peoples governor’s reckless spending that had a band wagon effect in about 27 states also facing the same challenge?
If the dwindling economy is not an excuse why state governors should not pay it’s work force, what is the excuse of some media houses, both print and electronic that have also not been able to pay it’s workers’ salaries for more than 3 months? Many of whom have also joined the call for a bail out.
On the issue of borrowing, show me a state that has depended only on the federal allocation and it’s IGR to run it’s affairs and I will list states that their predecessors, even (after accessing several loans) left their states worst than they met it.
That Imo state is in debt does not mean the state is doomed. Nigeria as well is in debt, advanced economies also seek for loan. To obtain loan is not a crime, what could be referred to as a crime is if such loans does not reflect on the purpose of which it was obtained.
It will do us no good even in the face of commendable achievements, to continue to strive with malignant pleasure to set the government in opposition with the people.
Am optimistic Imo state will bounce back and our civil servants and every one that is swayed by the economic down turns will soon have reasons to smile to the bank.
Joseph Chimezie writes from Owerri, Imo state.
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