The issues of non-payment of salary, gratuity and pension is prevalent across the country. However, that of Yobe state is exceptional, because Governor Ibrahim Gaidam adopted a strategy that places premium on workers’ welfare despite distractions by activities of insurgents in the state. MUSA M. BUBA reports
History has indicated that the Boko Haram insurgency started in Kanamma area of Yobe state, but could not spread. Since insurgency became rooted in the north east region of the country in 2009, the economy of the region has been crippled, thousands of lives have been dispatched to their early graves, thousands have become living dead consequent to injuries inflicted on them by Boko Haram, many others were displaced from their homes, properties destroyed, peace took a flight, social life was disrupted and revenue generation not accessible.
Governor Ibrahim Gaidam as a professional Accountant, who voluntarily retired to join politics; has all it takes to control the minimal resources at his disposal without any hitches.
Support to security agencies
There is no doubt that when the insurgency started, Governor Gaidam has been supporting the security personnel with logistics in the effort to restoring peace to Yobe state. Patrol vehicles were allocated to the army, other security agencies and local vigilantees to fight the insurgency. Recently, Yobe state government released N200million for the payment of land compensation and another N200million support for building the army barracks in Damaturu, apart from cash donations of N500,000, presented to families of soldiers who died while fighting Boko Haram and N300,000 each for those who sustained injuries in Yobe.
According to press releases made available to journalists on different occasions, proves that Yobe state government had released over N5billion in the 2017, fiscal year for payment of gratuity and has paid up to December, 2017 while those who retired between January 2018 to date are being processed.
Available statistics shows that the state government does not owe its pensioners. It also shows that all pensioners and civil servants are being paid at the same time alongside with overhead cost to ministries, boards and parastatals.
Recently, the National Union of Pensioners (NUP) gave an award to the governor for the outstanding performance in regular and prompt payment of pensioners in the state.
The government has been disbursing furniture loan to its workers annually. Recently the sum of N300million was disbursed in April 2018 to all categories of workers. Chief executive of Boards, parastatals and substantive directors got N1,000,000.00 and N500,000.00 each respectively while least workers on grade levels 01-05 got N50,000.00 each to be repaid in equal 25 months without interest.
Yobe state government under the administration of Gaidam is a reference point in terms of regular and prompt payment of salaries. There was no month in history that Yobe state government defaulted in payment of workers’ salary even when federal allocation was not received and in a situation of unforeseen delay, the workers are informed promptly on why.
While in some states embargo has long been placed on promotion, in Yobe state promotion is on-going and being implemented immediately on submission to Ministry of Finance.
Vox-pop with workers/retirees
Ibrahim Kolere: How I wish the incoming governor of Yobe will emulate from what incumbent governor is doing in the state. Most of us depend on the government even the business men they get from us when salary is paid.
Adamu Kabuga: The prompt payment of pension by the governor has increased our life span, you know poverty kills easily.
Abba Babagana: Remain two years for me to retire, but since this government is paying the gratuity regularly, I think I will forfeit the remaining years, get my entitlements and establish myself.
2019: Who keeps the ball rolling in Yobe
As the electioneering period draws near, political activities in Yobe is yet to commence but whichever, the questions on the lips of the citizens is who succeeds Gaidam in order to sustain the tempo? The answer is, no one knows for now. Therefore the successor to the incumbent governor must be on his toes because anything less than what Governor Gaidam’s achievements in office will automatically work against his chance to be elected.
In 2018, the governor presented the least budget in the country of N92billion titled “Budget of Consolidation and Socio-Economic Rejuvenation” which is aimed at completing all the on-going legacy projects that his administration is started, including the multi-billion naira international cargo airport awarded in September, 2017.