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Open letter to Governor Otu over non-payment of gratuity


Your Excellency Sir,
Distinguished Senator Prince Bassey Otu.

Let me use this medium to formally convey hearty congratulations to you on your emergence as the 4th democratically elected Governor of Cross River State, and most importantly, for surviving the numerous legal battles filed against your emergence, and having completed one year in office.

Sir, your hard work, commitment and impart on the lives of people within the confines of Cross River South led to the evangelism of your personality across the state, giving you the wider acceptance that led to your emergence as Governor. Needless to mention, the “Back To South” agitation also gave a boost to your emergence.

Sir, your decision to peg your administration’s focus on “The People First” mantra, came with wild jubilation and expectations. Especially for the downtrodden and all those whom the last eight years have been a thorn in their flesh. Yes! the last eight years can be best described as wasted years in certain critical areas of life. Industrial revolution was necessary but the government at that time failed to set the right modalities for these industries to thrive. How many youths are currently employed in the respective industries that were established? It is painful to see how wasting and deserted these industries stand.

Your Excellency, my attempt to explore critically the linguistic interpretation of the phrase “People First”, gave me the urge to publicly seek your attention to address the concerns that are contained in this letter as it aligns with the yearnings of the people you represent.

Firstly, I appreciate your efforts to sanitise the state capital after the level of abandonment it faced during the last eight years of Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade’s administration. The return of Calabar as the cleanest city in Nigeria is a testament to your unwavering commitment to take us back to the good old days when we stood proud as citizens of Cross River State.

Sir, permit me to state that I am not an economist but a concerned youth who has been affected by the harsh realities of government policies. This public outcry is coming up as a result of the trust I have in your administration to listen and act accordingly as you have promised to centre your emphasis on the people.

It is not a waste of effort to seek to sanitise the state: bringing back the street lights, repairs of dilapidated roads, and evacuation of waste and traffic lights are all welcomed developments. However, there is more to just doing these little necessary adjustments.

Sir, I interpret “The People’s First Mantra” as one whose emphasis should not be limited only to the renovation/refurbishing of government properties, and reclaiming of sold government assets by the previous administration, but a responsive government that should listen to the voices of the masses and proffer viable solutions without hesitation.

Sir, my late father Richard Ike Ideba, was one of those who committed their time to the service of the Cross River State Government. He was employed in 1988 at the Ministry of Local Government Affairs as a Driver/Mechanic from where he rose in ranks to the height of Chief Superintendent of Works before his retirement in 2015 and unfortunate demise in 2016.

Your Excellency, citing the level of maltreatment meted out on my late Dad, ranging from issues of promotion implementation to non-payment of his gratuity, I am compelled to say that the Cross River State Government does not have good intentions towards her civil servants.

While I understand that your administration just came on board, it is necessary that you put measures in place to start payment of gratuities to those who have done their part in rendering services to the Government.

Let me reiterate that I am not an economist but daily, the country keeps getting worse and we are forced to economise beyond the acceptable.

Your Excellency, the only good news that will gladden me and the host of other retirees whom the last administration failed to offset their entitlement is to alert the public with the modalities you have planned for the implementation of payment of gratuities.

My late father left a lot of responsibilities behind. I was much younger when the tragedy struck. I could not say a word then. I once believed that our Government are people-oriented but my thoughts were made to be mere hallucinations by the immediate past government.

Sir, given the continuity nature of government, I implore you to come to the rescue of the dying pensioners and retirees who have been deprived of their entitlement for too long.

Your Government should not at this point start the usual blame game of pointing fingers at the previous administrations. Sir, I want to believe you know what it means to mount that office and you came prepared.

The actualisation of the phrase “People First” should start with raising the dying pensioners from their sick hospital beds, and putting smiles on the families of deceased retirees who can not afford to live on the terrifying minimum wage.

Your Excellency, this plea is not only for my late Dad who did not enjoy the benefit of his labour but to all those whose voices are dim and cannot say a word. Sir, people are dying!

It is not a “Season of Sweetness” for the deprived and downtrodden neither is there a “Renewed Hope” for the helpless and needy.

Sir, I hope that you take responsibility by immediately setting up modalities to start the implementation of payment of gratuities.

Your Excellency, I would love to conclude my appeal by drawing your mind to the assertion of James Madison the fourth President of the United States of America that says “The effect of a representative democracy is to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of the nation”.

I am full of positive expectations that you will swing into immediate action to bring joy and lasting happiness to our homes.

Always, I shall do my part as a law-abiding citizen to promote the interest of the State.
I am constantly “Thinking of Cross River State”.

God bless Cross River!
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!

Your citizen,
Ike Emmanuel Richard.


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