Former Deputy Chairmen of Local Government Areas in Anambra State on Saturday threatened the reelection bid of the state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano.
They said they would reconsider their support for the governor if the arrears of their entitlements totalling about N80m were not paid before the November 18 governorship election in the state.
Rising from a meeting in Awka, the state capital, on Saturday, the council chiefs said the debts included wardrobe allowances, 28-day hotel claims, furniture allowances and salary differentials for two years they served.
Speaking through their leaders Messrs Chuks Obiwelozo and Emmanuel Enwerem, under the aegis of Deputy Chairmen’s Forum, they alleged that former local government chairmen and councillors who served with them had long been paid such entitlements.
They said each of them would be entitled to about N4m, adding that they were 20 in number.
“We are 20 in number across Anambra north, central and south senatorial districts of the state; and we have siblings, children, parents, friends and well wishers.
“We want the governor to know what is going on; we are suffering and this is adversely affecting our families.
“And we want him to know that this is election period. We can’t go into that election in empty stomachs.
“The governor is a good person, but some of his aides are blocking us from seeing him and lodging our complaints. There’s communication gap and we are not happy about it”.
They said when their tenure ended about a year ago, they were paid N2.5m each in two instalments in that respect from their total due of back pay of about N6m.
“Our protest is not against the governor, but it’s clear and natural that hungry people cannot be expected to participate effectively in any electoral process. We want the governor to hear this and pay us so that we can be part of the electioneering”.
They alleged that the Chairman of Local Government/State Joint Account Committee, Mr Tony Olih, was frustrating their payment.
When contacted, Olih said the state government was not owing former council chiefs as alleged.
He said the Anambra State Government had settled the council ex-workers as stipulated in their letters of engagement, expressing surprise at the claims of the former council chiefs.
He said, ‘‘What you people should consider is whether the contents of the appointment letters were fulfilled or not. Their appointment letters were clear and they accepted them, so why return now after they had served out their tenures to complain?”
He said during their meeting with the deputies, the government had placed its cards on the table and told them what it could afford and it was agreed that payment would best be staggered, and that was government did.