By Mercy Hill
Former local government officials in Anambra State, including councillors, supervisory councillors and secretaries, have renewed their call on the state government to offset their entitlements yet to be fully paid over two years after leaving office.
Noting that those benefits were provided by the law, the ex-officials said they had served the state with loyalty and diligence throughout the period they were in office but were being deprived of their due entitlements.
In their separate speeches, they explained that members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and supporters of the incumbent Governor of Anambra State played very significant roles in bringing the administration of Chief Willie Obiano on board, having in 2013, participated in the party's primary election that threw him up as the governorship candidate of APGA, as well as the main election that enthroned him as the Governor of Anambra State.
Contending that the Governor knew what was right and lawful, they urged him to use his right discretion and powers to see solve their issue.
Kenechukwu Nwegwu and Paul Onwuegbusi, representing the Supervisory Councillors, explained that it was an opportunity to call on those who were trying to play the "good boys" to the Governor, to desist from giving wrong interpretations to what they were doing.
Hon. Chinedu Ifeacho, representing the Secretaries, noted that it was a demand that was provided for by law and regretted that some people were tagging them enemies of the government and the Governor for fighting for their rights.
He went further to say that the Governor knew better than those who were trying to ill-advise him from doing what was right and required of the laws of Anambra State and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which the Governor, under oath, promised to respect and protect.
'Yes, they are only trying to make the Governor to be seen as a Governor that disobeys the law he swore to respect and protect but Governor Obiano knows better than they do. We believe he would not want to go against the law. The Governor has to leap and look beyond the point of those who are trying to blur his vision and bring him into a bad light. This is a clarion call on the Government and the Governor of Anambra State to express their belief in the rule of law and show their resolve to uphold the laws of Anambra State and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by performing this legal responsibility of paying us our severances.
'Since the Governor believes in empowering the people of Anambra State whom he governs, by paying us our severances, he will become the highest investor in human beings in the history of the state. It will be a rare feat,' he said.
The spokesman/leader, Hon. Bestley Okoye, commended Chief Femi Falana, SAN, who took it upon himself to speak on behalf the team, noting that Falana was determined to ensure that the right things were done by taking the appropriate steps to get the Anambra State Govt to perform the legal responsibility of paying the severances of the ex-council officials.