The month of May ended without any credit alerts for Bayelsa State Government workers, even after Governor Henry Seriake Dickson and the State Chapters of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had agreed weeks earlier on half salaries for the five months being owed the labour force.
The machinery of government which has been operating in fits and starts since January ending has literally ground to a halt as starving civil servants, teachers in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions have abandoned their respective workplaces. It is same with the eight local government councils where workers are being owed upwards of 12 months.
What is most incomprehensible is that a small state, so rich in oil and gas and often receiving a lion’s share of the 13 per cent Derivation Fund shared monthly at the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) Meeting, cannot pay salaries, whereas Edo State (with a larger and better-educated workforce) has raised the minimum wage to N25,000 per month.
Someone is definitely acting out the meaning of his middle name as ‘SERIAL WRECKER’. He has wrecked the State Public Service through monumental corruption, arbitrariness and non-payment of salaries. He has wrecked political appointees disengaged last February by withholding their salaries for January and February. He has ruined contractors (who executed government projects) and retail businesses in Bayelsa, as many have shut down due to lack of patronage. He has equally wrecked the economy of the state and Nigeria, having been a party to the conspiracy by outlaws to cripple the oil and gas industry if then President Goodluck Jonathan was not re-elected. (See Sahara Reporters, January 24, 2015 ‘Ex-militants re-group in Bayelsa, threaten war if Jonathan loses,’ and The Punch, January 25, 2015 ‘Niger Delta militants threaten war if Jonathan loses.’)
Nigerians should be able to identify the human forces working against the material well-being of citizens and the peace of the nation and act decisively to checkmate them before they plunge the country into avoidable crises.
.Peresuo D. Fubara is a Port Harcourt-based public affairs analyst