The position of a State Governor like other political mantles of leadership is not a task meant for all kinds of human except people with inherent exceptional manoeuvering qualities.
However, no matter how administratively inclined any public office holder is, the best of him could be revealed when there is paucity of funds. This is because, it is one of the most challenging time as we know that workers would have to collect their monthly right in due course.
History can neither be expunged nor distorted unless sentiment and prejudice are given room for contamination. Throughout the First Tenure of His Excellency, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, no Kwara State worker of a kind was owed a backlog of salary even when other states like Benue, Kogi, Osun and others have stated owing theirs to the tune of 8 months.
As an administrator with passion for the dignity of labour, Governor Ahmed also maintained the timely payment of workers’ salaries not later than the 25th of every month until the economy of Nigeria continued to be perturbed by the by the untold recession in this his second tenure which commenced in 2015.
Since the time recession surfaced in Nigeria, all the state governors have been finding themselves in the pit of financial constraint. Today, many governors are still owing their workers backlogs of salaries up to 20 months. If anyone tries to crucify Governor Ahmed, who doesn’t even owe any of the state workers salary, for the few months owed the LG and SUBEB workers, he or she should ask why would oil producing states like Delta, Edo and others would own both their state and LG workers for many months despite huge federal allocation and exorbitant IGR from the oil companies.
To call a spade a spade, Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed is a hit for us in Kwara not a miss. It would be recalled that the staff of Kwara State Colleges of Education, College of Arabic and Islamic Studies (CAILS) and the likes were owed like nine to 10 month salaries. To my dismay, with the series of revenue generating strategies put in place by Gov. Ahmed, these workers’ arrears have all been cleared.
Despite the financial constraint, the Governor has been ensuring that Kwara workers in Kwara State Senior Secondary Schools, Ministries and the likes receive their salaries at the right time. It should be noted that the workers in this category are owed no salary till today. They have all collected their April salaries.
Finally, on the issue of backlogs of salaries of SUBEB and Local Government staff, I strongly believe that the governor is working hard to ensure that their salaries and pensions arrears are paid as the economy improves.
Taofeek Sanusi is a Public Affairs Analyst in Kwara State