If word from the streets and from government aides is anything to go by, this year’s Christmas in Ebonyi State would be the best in recent times.
According to Monica Ada Eze, Speial Assisiatnt, “No citizen from Ebonyi State or residents from other states will say that the Governor has not reached him or her one way or the other during this season. Be it former Lawmakers from the state, be it Federal Workers working in various organisations in the State or be it members of Nigeria UNION OF Teachers (NUT) or members of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) everybody have something from the Governor to celebrate Christmas.
“Apart from the largesse to civil servants, all the political office-holders, including the NWC of PDP, senior technical assistants and technical assistants have been granted funds to celebrate their Christmas and New Year festivities, including bags of rice and tubers of yam. Never in the history of Ebonyi State has our people been so remembered by their governor”.
To make the yuletide even thicker, Governor Dave Umahi, approved the payment of extra one month salary bonus, otherwise called 13th month to workers under the state employment. He also distributed bags of rice and tubers of yam to each of staff.
He approved and directed that junior workers would receive 100 per cent bonus, whereas senior ones would be paid 50 per cent of whatever they receive monthly, boasting that his administration was neither owing workers salaries nor pensions. He disclosed his administration’s plan to begin immediate payment of gratuity arrears owed by both local and state governments since 1993, amounting to N8 billion.
The governor, who expressed dismay that civil servants found it difficult to pay their retired colleagues their pensions but would want to be paid when they retired, noted that he would begin payment of gratuities this December, with the families of retirees who had already died.
He said: “We are not owing anybody pension in Ebonyi State. Gratuity is owed since 1993, and gratuity for both local and state governments is over N8 billion, but the funny thing is that when you seat as a civil servant, you refuse to pay others their gratuities, and when you now leave, you start insisting, we should pay gratuity.
“So, for those we have owed gratuity for a very long time; we are expecting a miracle. What we want to do for our brothers and sisters that were not paid gratuities before their death: we intend to look at their case and see how we can pay off their gratuities through their families. We hope to do it this December.
“We also want to pay everyone that has retired 10 per cent of whatever we owe him/her in the name of pension and other allowances.”
Free Transportation of Home-bound people of Ebonyi State
Eze wrote further: “In demonstration of the selfless nature of his administration, the governor has directed the transportation of all Ebonyians in Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Nnewi, Onitsha and other big towns in Nigeria where they reside back home to the state capital, Abakaliki, for the 2016 festivities.
Martin Luther King Jr,, may have had Umahi at the back of his mind when he stated: “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” Throwing more light in this regard, the great Indian leader of all times, Mahatma Gandhi, said:
“The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”
Umahi’s benevolence and his love for his people will forever speak for him throughout his life.
This piece contain exceprts from an article titled “Ebonyi: Umahi Lays Foundation for Memorable Christmas And New Year”, written by Monica Ada Chidinma Eze, Technical Assistant (TA) on Media to Governor Dave Nweze Umahi