The Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Southwest Zone has said that out of the 6 governors in the Southwest, only Governor ‘Seyi Makinde of Oyo State is committed to the payment of the outstanding entitlements of pensioners.
The union made this disclosure on Thursday as it threatened to vote out governors who refuse to pay entitlements and other benefits accrued to them in the zone.
The union further threatened to drag the recalcitrant governors to court if they handle their pensions and gratuities with levity.
Zonal Secretary of the union, Comrade Olusegun Abatan, who made the threat during the pensioners zonal meeting held in Osogbo, affirmed that they have electoral powers to decide who governs them during the electorate period.
According to him, only the Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, is upright in his responsibility in offsetting pensioners’ outstanding entitlements.
He prayed to God to strengthen him the more to be able to meet their plights the more.
He expressed displeasure that apart from the Oyo state governor, no one else amongst other governors in the region can confidently say he attends to pensioners’ plights.
“It is not fair for somebody who served the nation for 35 years to die in penury while a governor who served one or two terms continue to receive salary for the rest of his life.
“The checkup due to our union is not paid by some of the states. We had informed members of the public that the NUP will take the governors in the Southwest to court.
“In the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is stated that anytime salaries of workers are paid, pensions should also be paid concomitantly or every five years.
“There was an increase in salaries and wages in 2019, many state governments entered into an agreement with the NLC in their respective states, the adjustment to salaries and wages were put in place.
“In some other states, there was an agreement that when there was a circular from Abuja in respect of consequential adjustment to pension, the state government should also pay the consequential adjustment.
“The federal government has not only adhered to the adjustment, but they have also paid it. The problem we always have is with our state governments.
“It is like the state governments are having a meeting that pensioners should die in penury. They flout the constitutional provisions with reckless abandonment.
“No state in the Southwest has addressed the consequential adjustment. We have resolved to send reminders to the state government. We have also resolved to involve the State Houses of Assembly in various states to come to the rescue of the pensioners.
“It is quite unfortunate that in most states of the federation, the houses of assembly have become the appendages of the executives. But we hope in this regard, they will do something to alleviate the suffering of pensioners.
“The way things are going, we may be forced to instruct our members to look and verify those that will be of importance to their lights as we approach the 2023 elections.
“Whoever does not take the plight of pensioners with relish may not be voted for. We did it before and it worked.
“We are concerned about deepening the insecurity that is happening in our region. It has never been our tradition to be so treated, harassed, hunted, kidnapped, killed, slaughtered as it is going on here. Ibadan-Lagos expressway has become a den of armed robbers. We appeal to the governors in the Southwest to please brace up and do the needful in beefing up security in the region.
“Despite the humongous amount doled out by the federal government in form of bailout, pensioners in the Southwest have not benefitted from it”, he asserted.
On their voting strength, the pensioners argued that they have children, grand children who are in the civil service, who are artisans, who are market women as well as many dependants in all circles, who could be ordered to vote them out.