Ikpeazu, Orji in war of words over workers’ salary arrears
Outgoing Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, and his predecessor, Theodore Orji, at the weekend, engaged in war of words over non-payment of accumulated workers’ salaries.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state, last week, embarked on an indefinite strike over salary arrears of its members, which paralised government activities.
Absolving his administration of responsibility for the development, Orji, through his Liaison Officer, Ifeanyi Umere, in a statement, said it is Ikpeazu’s administration that should be held responsible.
Orji said: “For the avoidance of doubt, neither myself nor my administration is responsible for the staggering salary arrears owed both civil servants and pensioners in the state.
“Before my administration came to an end on May 29, 2015, core civil servants were not owed even one month. Parastatals were the ones that were owed between two and four months. The records are there.
“If for any reason they couldn’t or were unwilling to offset the salary arrears, why did they allow it to skyrocket to between 35 and 40 months, including core civil servants? So, I am not the problem, they should carry their cross.”
Reacting, Ikpeazu’s Chief Press Secretary, Onyebuchi Ememanka, in a statement, said: “Ikpeazu is proudly carrying the cross of Abia State’s governance, and will continue to carry it till his last day in office.”
The governor, however, noted that as a personal policy, he would not join issues with any of his predecessors, stressing that for almost eight years in office, he has not engaged any of his predecessors in any kind of untoward exchange, even when it seemed politically expedient.
According to Ikpeazu’s spokesman, this policy is largely responsible for the socio-political stability being enjoyed in the state since 2015, and which Ikpeazu intends to sustain. He added that the governor is of the view that history and posterity will, over time, put all things in proper perspective.