By Tony Nwanne
The Edo State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dan Orbih, has urged Governor Adams Oshiomhole to refund the illegal deductions made from statutory allocations to the local government councils in the state.
The PDP Chieftain, stated this at a press briefing in Okada, Ovia North Edaast Local Government Area, days ago that this would enable the local councils pay all arrears of workers’ salaries ranging from six to 18 months.
Orbih said the deductions made at the Governor’s Office were enough to pay salaries of council workers and that the allocations to local councils published in the newspapers are different from what is actually released to the councils.
He challenged the state government to publish what has been paid to the local governments from the internally generated revenue since he assumed office almost eight years ago.
He said the government would not have had difficulties paying salaries, if local councils were left to manage their allocations, including internally generated revenues (IGR).
Orbih urged local council workers to protect their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and to use it to vote out the APC during the September 10 governorship election.
His words: “We can confirm that the reason why he has refused to conduct elections to fill the vacant positions of chairmen and councilors is to enable him squander allocations due the local governments in the name of saving it for them.
“The truth is that rather than supporting the local government councils, Oshiomhole has impoverished them by not only denying them their full allocations as and when due, but also by denying them their share of state IGR”.
Head of Service, Akoko Edo Local Government Area, Mr. Tom Ebhotemen described the PDP’s allegations as baseless. He said members of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) were aware that the state government does not touch local council money.
His words: “We are aware that the state government does not take any kobo from our allocation. The problem is that the allocation has dropped; we have been paying teachers’ salary and we have also been paying our own workers’ salaries. We have been doing projects before and paying salaries as well. The problem is that the allocation dropped sharply. Anybody who says the state government tinkers with our money is lying.
“NULGE is aware that the state government does not touch our money; they are also aware of the drop in allocation; all they ask is for us to alternate the payment of primary school teachers and their members, such that if we pay primary school teachers fully this month, we should pay NULGE members fully the next month.”