Pensioners in Edo State have commended the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, for prioritising the welfare of retirees and ensuring their entitlements are promptly paid.
Speaking to journalists in Benin City, the retirees urged labour unions and other workers in the state to throw their weight in support of the re-election bid of the governor and his deputy, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, to sustain the regime of regular payment of pensions, salaries and other allowances as instituted by the current administration.
According to a pensioner, Mr. John Ogunbor, “In the past, pensioners had two uniforms; one was black in colour and the other was red. We were owed as much as three to four years of pension arrears. Our motto as pensioners is ‘Rest is Sweet After Labour,’ but before 2016, rest wasn’t sweet for pensioners because we had to fight for our monthly pension and the arrears we were owed after using our useful years for the meritorious service of our state.
“We’re elated that the era of endless queues and protests over non-payment of pension in Edo State is over. The days when pensioners were dying of hunger are no more and we’re proud of the governor. Unlike when we had issues paying our house rents, children’s school fees and other bills, pensioners under the Governor Godwin Obaseki-administration are credit worthy.”
He added: “For putting smiles on our faces again after years of neglect, we will come out en masse come September 19, 2020 to show our appreciation and we urge workers in the state to do so in order for us all to continue to benefit from the regime of regular payment of pensions, salaries and other allowances.”
Another retiree, Mr. Augustine Idaghe, noted: “My assessment of the governor’s performance in terms of pensioners’ welfare has been splendid in Edo State. By 24th of every month, our pensions and allowances are paid and this we didn’t enjoy in previous administrations.
“Again, Governor Obaseki is liquidating the accumulated gratuity whereas he has dealt with the payment of outstanding pension arrears. Now, as you exit the service, one starts getting his stipends. This again has not happened in the past 15 years, which is before Obaseki was elected. So I’m sincerely grateful to him for giving us the opportunity to reap from the dividends of good governance.”
According to Mrs. Irene Osa, a pensioner, “We call him our governor because he has changed the narrative of pensioners in Edo State, giving meaning and relevance to our lives. The governor didn’t just take us out of the camp of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as we were referred to in the past, but took us to our homes and ensured that we’re all comfortable and happy.
“Edo pensioners are proud of him; he has shown commitment and concern for the wellbeing and welfare of pensioners and retirees and we’ll continue to support him. Come September 19, 2020, we will ensure that the governor is reelected because we cannot afford to go back to the days of suffering, lamentations and carrying of placards in protest.”