BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Retired civil servants in Osun State were on Thursday thrown into jubilation following the presentation of bond certificates to them by the state governor, Ademola Adeleke.
Presenting the bond certificates to the Contributory Pensioners at the hall of the Local Government Service Commission, Abeere, Adeleke apologised to the retirees on behalf of the state government for the failure of past governments to pay them their entitlements.
Addressing the apparently excited senior citizens, Adeleke disclosed that his administration had since inception in November 2022, released a sum of N1.528bn for bond certificates for retired workers of both State and Local Government while a sum of N350m had equally been released as gratuities to retired staff of local governments, primary schools, secondary schools, tertiary institutions, civil servants, staff of parastatals among others.
While noting that Osun has been redeeming its battered image “due to the bad conduct of the previous government,” the governor declared that he was not doing the retirees favour by clearing their pensions and gratuities, but that he was only fulfilling his electoral mandate.
He said to the retirees, “permit me to first apologize, on behalf of Osun state, to our pensioners, for the ill treatment of the past. You had laboured hard to serve the state. It is unfortunate that the past government decided to ignore and deride your significant input and contribution to state development. Accept our apologies.
“Since I took over the administration of this state, my constant focus is how best to resolve all outstanding workers related debts. It is unacceptable for a government to treat its pensioners the way the past government had done. I had decided never to follow that path. Workers, in and out of service, deserve their due emoluments.
“It was in that spirit that I attended to the issue of half salary. We are paying it and we will clear all outstandings based on our people-oriented template. Let me make this clear. I am not doing you any favor. I am only fulfilling the task you voted me to do. It is in that spirit that I am extending this attention to the contributory pensioners.
“Under the Contributory Pension Scheme, I ordered the release of a sum of N700m between November, 2022 and January, 2023 for bond certificates for retirees at the State level. For retirees at the Local Government level, I approved the sum of N828m for bond certificates for retirees in primary schools and local governments between November, 2022 and January, 2023.
“I have also acted with respect to the Old Pension Scheme. At the State level, from inception of the administration to the end of January, 2023, a sum of N200m has been paid as gratuity. At the local government level, the sum of N150m has so far been released as gratuity to retired local government staff and primary school staff.
“Today, 119 retirees cutting across the civil service, parastatals and tertiary institutions are being given their bond certificates totaling N632,952,655.56. For local government service, 62 retirees are to be given bond certificates totaling N205,428,602.07. Primary School retirees totaling 92 will be given bond certificates totaling N621,819,731.03.
“In summary, our government has so far released a sum of N1.528bn for bond certificates for retired workers of both State and Local Government while a sum of N350m had equally been released as gratuities to retired staff of local governments, primary schools, secondary schools, tertiary institutions, civil servants, staff of parastatals etc,” he noted.
He restated his commitment to addressing inherited debts, adding that, “the ultimate goal of any government is the welfare of the people. Any government that refused to serve public good has failed constitutionally and morally.”
The beneficiaries were full of gratitude to Governor Adeleke, saying “you (Adeleke) has wiped away our tears.”