The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State has slammed the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Timipre Sylva’s claim that the state government deliberately owed pensioners and that if he becomes governor he would immediately pay their arrears.
Sylva, a former governor of the state had during a meeting with the pensioners at Obogoro Community, Yenagoa Local Government Area ahead of the December 5 governorship election, claimed that his (Sylva’s) administration only owed the pensioners N3 billion as against the N20 billion he said was being owed by the present administration.
Sylva had then solicited the support of the pensioners, promising to pay all arrears owed them if elected governor. But the PDP Restoration Campaign Organisation of Governor Seriake Dickson dismissed the allegation, insisting that Sylva did not tell the truth.
The Director of Publicity, Restoration Campaign Organisation, Hon. Jonathan Obuebite in a statement issued in Yenagoa assured the pensioners of better days ahead. According to him, the financial challenge facing the state and the nation was responsible for the delay.
…Dickson met paltry N4000 in state coffers, inherited N430 billion debts”
The Restoration Campaign Organisation Publicity Director noted that the Dickson administration inherited huge debts from the Sylva administration totalling N434 billion incurred from various loans and bonds, adding that the government only met a paltry four thousand naira in the state coffers.
Hon. Obuebite accused the Sylva administration of pillaging the state, making it one of the most heavily indebted states in the federation but which Governor Seriake Dickson and his team have now reduced to N90 billion. He reminded the pensioners that Dickson had consistently paid their allowances since he became governor until recently when the financial situation in the state like those of other states dropped.
“Every month he was setting aside N250 million to pay pensioners until two months ago when the allocation to the state dropped to a terrible level that it became difficult to pay. But the Governor has promised that the pensioners will be paid this month,” he stated.
He said that state workers were already receiving their October salaries in spite of the low allocation from the Federation Account last month, adding that pensioners will also begin to get theirs soon. While commending the pensioners for their understanding, Obuebite called on Baylesans, especially the state civil servants not to be swayed by Sylva’s lies, saying he was known for reneging on promises.
He queried that if, in spite of the huge allocations then, Sylva could go ahead to obtain loans and bonds without much to show for it, whether it was in the present situation when there was paucity of resources that he would serve the state better?
“We want to implore Bayelsans, particularly the civil servants, not to fall for Sylva’s lies. If they do they will have themselves to blame because Sylva will owe them ten months’ salaries. Their suffering will be unimaginable under Sylva”, he said and urged them (civil servants) to continue to support the re-election of Dickson who was known to be a prudent administrator and good manager of resources.
“At least they (civil servants) can testify that Governor Dickson is not owing them salaries even for one month when other states are owing their workers up to five months salaries,” he further stated.