Connect with us

Letters to the Editor

A Sincere Rescue for Pensioners

Published

on

“Nos morituri….We who are about to die, salute thee”

Five or six top officers, cheeks glowing with evidence of good living, are seated round an impressive oval table, concluding the disbursement of funds for the month having the other day received the monthly allocation from the federation Account. They have been at it for the past two hours and are in the process of winding up.

Hesitatingly, one of them, after a glance at the uncommitted balance in the working paper, asks “ em……em…., how about the pensioners?” Two others impatiently retorted in unison, “What about them?” The first speaker, with the embarrassment of someone who has said the wrong thing at the wrong time, replies, “Well, they have been complaining about failure to pay them regularly, non-harmonization, and that we are owing them arrears of payment. I am   wondering if anything can be carved out for them.” Then in order to make up for misplaced advocacy, he adds, “at least to shut them up for the moment.”

The man presiding over the meeting flares up and explodes, “Let them talk. Everybody keeps talking from all directions. Where is the money to pay them when we have all these other pressing demands to meet? I haven’t even been paid my last month hospitality allowance.” One of the other officials adds deprecatingly, ‘The old blighters. They can’t stop parading a false sense of importance.”

The boss drains the remnant of the Five Alive fruit juice in his glass, changes his mind against the remaining crackers biscuit in the saucer, and impatiently picks up his papers, ready to leave. He starts walking towards the door, and his parting shot is, “Tell the P.R.O to issue a press release highlighting what we are doing to meet demand from all sectors in spite of limited resources. As for those ever- complaining pensioners, if they talk rubbish, impose another mandatory verification exercise on them. That will preoccupy and silence them.”

Does the above sound like fiction? It is a classic replication of what happens in departments of the office of the Heads of service all over the country, and the prevailing neglect and insensitivity on the part of the federal Government and particularly, state Government towards their pensioners.

The sorry plight of pensioners does not appear to touch their hearts and minds. It does not matter to them that the majority of “These hands that toiled from day to day in the field of earnest labour” are now languishing in financial and emotional distress, unable to even find money to buy basic medicines to sustain themselves. And yet every government claims to be a government with a human face, deafening us with proclamations about poverty alleviation. Yes, indeed, they have a human face, but it is a face completely made ugly by functionaries who continue giving governance a bad name.

In 2010 something pleasantly dramatic happened to Federal pensioners. President Goodluck Jonathan was on board. Funds were provided for payment of all arrears of pensions, including a review of pension rates. His federal Head of service pursued the matter with admirable vigour, ensuring that payments were regular and adding IT colour to the exercise by sending a text message to each pensioner whenever payment was made into his or her account. December 2010 pension was even paid before Christmas! It was so fantastic that some of us started wondering if Jonathan’s papa or beloved uncle was one of us suffering pensioners, prompting him to act so sympathetically.

Then suddenly there was a reversion to “before, before.” Early regular payments stopped and the delightful text messages no longer came. All our ears are assailed with nowadays is the billions of pension funds stolen by officers in the Federal pensions Office. My six months 2009 un-paid pension must have found its way into the pockets of those fraudsters.

With regard to state Governments, Imo state is a case study. What is disgusting is the government’s refusal to carry out overdue upward harmonization of pension rates over the years. Imo state Government consequently pays miserable pension rates. An utterly pathetic example is a pensioner on the same payroll sheet with the writer, whose monthly pension is N1,942 (one thousand nine hundred and forty two Naira)!! Granted that this man might have been an office cleaner or road labourer is what he must live on for the rest of his life “having meritoriously retired” from the service of his state?

The problem lies mainly with current top officials in government who are earning comfortable salaries and who when due for retirement, manipulate immediate payment of their gratuity and substantial pension. They feel unconcerned about those earning a pittance. They are the people who piously initiate memos for fresh verification of pensioners, but never a memo urging harmonization of pensions.

Elections come and go, and pensioners constitute a substantial number of voters. The federal Head of service claims he has about 100,000 in his list. Imo state certainly has a good number also. I bet most federal pensioners, excited with what happened in 2010, voted for Jonathan. I also bet most state pensioners did not vote for Ohakim because of the raw deal they went through. Twenty thousand pensioner’s votes would have meant something!

If the inattention continues as the next election approaches, a  thousand hired prayer warriors and manifesto writers with short memories can never drown or neutralize the mournful lamentations of these aged and un-cared-for pensioners who in public  and in private cry to heaven for vengeance or relief.

Then  as more and more of them get thrown into the amphitheatre for a terminal battle with the on-going neglect, they will shake their fists in deprecatory salute as they croak in despondent voice in whatever language they speak, “Nos morituri, te salutamus- We  who are about to die, salute thee.”

_______________________________________________

By a Concerned Senior Citizen
 

ARTICLES

An open letter to the President of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo

Published

on

An open letter to the President of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo -Kenkwo Kingsley Kesaandu

Re: South East Regional Security

By: Kenkwo, Kesaandu Kingsley

 

Mr. President,

I want to start by commending Ohaneze Ndi Igbo socio-cultural group for their interest in the welfare of Ndi Igbo mostly as it concerns security with their call for us to have our own regional security like the North and West to complement the efforts of main security outfits like the Military, Police and NSCDC.

Sir, we appreciate how you called the South East Governors for them to understand the importance of this with regards to the killings mostly by the Fulani herdsmen.

Governor Dave Umahi at some point, told us that the Yorubas copied Operation Amotekun from them, saying it was their idea.

This took our hopes high that our leaders are about living up to their primary responsibility of protecting lives and properties of the people. Though many were pessimistic as they sounded so convincing that these Governors do not have the will to push the regional security.

Unfortunately, yesterday, they unanimously agreed to just the community police of the NPF. Frankly, nobody is against the community police but we shall be safer if we have the regional security to complement them as they know all the nooks and crannies of our homes.

Sir, it is very obvious that “ndi anyi na ha so achuga mmuo si na anyi n’esi mmuo mmuo” and these Governors have no regards for us.

I can only describe this act of theirs as being sycophantic as the wish to impress the Presidency.

People who came to beg us for votes few months back, now have no regards for our takes and feelings.

I wish to state that these five men spoke for themselves and not even members of their families as no sane Igbo man is inline with them.

Sir, we look up to your leadership to bring back sanity of these men as it is crystal clear that personal interest has beclouded their sense of reasoning and judgment.

On this note, I make the following recommendations to you.

1. Organise a South-East protest in support of our own regional security.

2. Give the South-East Governors 72hours ultimatum to reconsider their decisions.

3. Mandate all the South-East Speakers of the five Houses of Assembly to start preparing the bill that will back up the regional security in the region.

4. Meet Mr. President and the NSA on behalf of Ndi Igbo and the importance of having our own regional security that will help FG in its fight to tackle insecurity like kidnapping, armed robbery, Fulani herdsmen killings etc.

There is no doubt that Ndi Igbo are peace loving people who are very law abiding. We value life so much.

We are ready to forgive our Governors as they do not know what they are doing.
We cannot leave our security issues to them as it is every man’s business.

They and their families go about their daily activities with heavily armed security officers and might not understand what the common people pass through on daily basis “onye ahu di nma amaghi ihe onye ibi n’ahu”. People now find it extremely difficult to go to farms and this is our major hope of survival.

Sir, majority of us unlike the Governors and their families who are guarded by security men with our money do not have what it takes to hire the police as “onye nna ya luuru nwaanyi amaghi uru nwaanyi bara”. They should kindly allow us to have this security outfit ‘Operation Ogbuigwe’ as many have suggested so that we can put a stop to this menace and common enemy of the people called insecurity.

Remember, this is a very crucial issue and must be addressed with all level of seriousness as Ndi Igbo also deserve sound sleep with their eyes properly close.

Thanks!
Yours in the development of Ala Igbo,
Kenkwo Kesaandu Kingsley (KKK)
President, Ihitte/Uboma Youth Forum, Ihitte/Uboma L.G.A., Imo State.
13th February, 2020.

Continue Reading

ARTICLES

Scrap JAMB E-Exam

Published

on

Scrap JAMB E-Exam

I wish to use this medium to express my dissatisfaction over the introduction of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board E-Examination (JAMB).

If I may ask, can our nation, Nigeria ever become a developed country? Over the years, Nigeria had always been known as a developing nation. I have never heard that Nigeria has become a developed nation, and yet we are competing with the Western world.

Few months ago, not less than 1,500,000 candidates sat for JAMB examination for this year. How many of them can boast of satisfaction during and after the examination? They complained of one problem or another. It is either that the power supply failed, or that there was no network at the center, “no internet connection”.

Imagine what it will look like during examinations when such a situation occurs, while the few lucky ones are busy writing the same examination you are supposed to start, finish together at the same time: The shock alone will make that person fail.

It is quite obvious that half of the candidates, who sat for the examination ended-up with low scores and some did not even have a result at all at the end of all their struggles, due to the unpleasant experience they had.. If JAMB must conduct e-examination, let it start afresh with a better arrangement all together, at least by properly equipping all the centers with modern computer sets, because most of the computers they are using are faulty and out-dated.

Furthermore, with our epileptic power supply, who can boast of a hitch-free E-examination? Until the Federal Government and JAMB sit together and look into this unpleasant situation, nothing better can be achieved.

I suggest that the Federal Government and JAMB should embark on a project for ICT Center in every state of the Federation. Each state should have a five thousand (5000) capacity hall, well equipped to tackle the issue of congestion that are experienced in our JAMB examination centres every year.

Thanks, from a concerned citizen

Chidiadi M. Tobechi
Owerri

Continue Reading

FEATURED

Fulani herdsmen menace didn’t start today

Published

on

herdmen wahala

DAILY TIMES Friday, August 3,1984

See the audacity with which the Fulani herdsmen spoke 35yrs ago. If we go down memory lane further, we might discover that this fulanization program might be a century old.

What with our innermost villages being invaded by ‘ayon condem’.

Try to ask for directions in a locality you are not conversant with, on a Sunday, you will find that the youths in the street do not speak Igbo.

Oh yes, many of us are so important that guards are imported.

Noble Sir Olumba KSJI
(Owerri)

Continue Reading

Trending