The Advanced Peoples Democratic Party (APDA) in Ondo State on Wednesday advised Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu not to play politics with the workers’ salaries and emoluments. Chief Banji Akinkuowo, the APDA Chairman in Ondo, gave the advice during a stakeholders meeting in Akure. He said that APDA was worried over the controversial payment of 80 per cent of the September 2016 salary arrears by the state government. Newsmen report that the state government had used part of the Paris Club debt refund to pay 80 per cent of September 2016 salary arrears with a promise to pay the remaining 20 per cent later.
The organised labour in the state had threatened to go on strike if government failed to pay the balance immediately, forcing the state government to meet with labour leaders several times. Newsmen also report that the Ondo State Government had initially said the 80 per cent payment was not salary arrears, but a gift to the workers before it later said that the money was paid in error and agreed to pay the balance soon. According to Akinkuowo, salaries should be of prime importance to any state government. “When you pay salaries, it will energise the economy of the state and people will be able to pay their children’s school fees, electricity bills and many other things. “And when you don’t pay salaries, it will strangulate everybody including the workforce and non-workers. “The state government must pay the September 2016 salary arrears in full as long as it received the Paris Club money from Abuja added to the internally generated revenue of the state. “Ondo people need to be happy because if they are happy it will be easy for the government to govern well and if they are not happy it will not be easy as well,” he said. On the chances of APDA in the state and nation at large, the party chairman said that the party was poised to take over government at both levels in 2019 given its grassroots appeal. “APDA will provide succour to Nigerians and act as a shield against the wheel of poverty currently ravaging the country.” According to him, APDA will take Nigeria out of the woods when it forms government at the centre in 2019.