Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Gov. Obiano's Foot Soldiers Lament Over Unpaid Salaries, Marginalization

… Says governor’s Advisers are not doing their work’
ASCOF MEMBERS at the meeting

ASCOF Chairman speaking with some of his executive present


ASCOF members

By Okechukwu Onuegbu

The Anambra State Councilors Forum (ASCOF) consisting the 327 elected councilors across 21 Council Area of the state has urged the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano to as matter of urgency release all their basic entitlements for the period of two years they served as legislators in the third tiers of the government.

ASCOF, whose tenure began on January 27, 2014 and elapsed same date in 2016, lamented starvation of their statutory funds, including their emoluments, amongst others, saying that the deprivations denied them resources to execute any project at their constituencies, even as they become debtors to people, banks and other financial institutions.
Delivering their communique at the end of their meeting held yesterday at Cana House, the state's capital, geared towards brainstorming on how to bridge what they unanimously agreed was a gap of marginalization in remuneration and streamlined communication that could militate against the governor's second term intent, the ASCOF Chairman, Hon Emmanuel Anayo Okpaleke, who represented Achina ward one, Aguata Legislative Council, while appreciating governor Obiano for his magnanimity in extending their tenure by 6 extra months, said they had been grossly marginalized throughout their tenure in financing their recommended constituency projects, payment schedule, and their severance fee.
Okpaleke further noted that through the Joint Account System, their wings were clipped as they were deprived of more than 80% of their statutory entitlements as enshrined in the Anambra State House of Assembly 2007 Public Officers' Salary Structure Law which came into full force on 4th July, 2007.
He said, "It is so unfortunate that we started with the former governor who marshalled out this unlawful payment schedule and we are not sure His Excellence is aware that we are not happy. We frown at the way certain individuals who had been playing the part of intermediaries between us and the government had been misrepresenting and short circuiting us and we maintain that we, as the Councillors Forum, deserve our elbows greased to enable us build a formidable grassroot structure, which makes up more than 90% of the political structure that would deliver His second tenure."
He said that the Forum insisted that the accordance of their full statutory emolument is not negotiable and an issue that demanded urgent attention as all the councillors were all heavily indebted to several Micro Finance Banks during their tenure.
While expressing confidence that there would be no need for litigation as a plan B, because he was very confident that the governor will positively react to their demands after receiving their complaint officially, the ASCOF Chairman said, "I keep saying that our governor has a large heart and once this money is paid, we would quickly settle our debts and fall back to our various wards to clean up our already soiled political image and rebuild our political structure."
Also speaking, Hon. Prince Collins Agbasiere, the Chairman of Anambra State Councillors, Anambra South Zone, maintained that the governor is a "listening governor", and will make haste to respond to their outcries given that they are his spokespersons at the grassroot level, having worked tirelessly to elect him for his first tenure and resolved to still do the same in his second tenure.
The forum's executive members were hence mandated to articulate their resolves and forward them to the appropriate quarters which included the office of the state governor.



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