Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, has said civil servants in the state are “selfish and ungrateful”.
Akeredolu spoke at a public event in Akure, the Ondo State capital, where he presented cheques to the owners of private properties affected by the ongoing demolition of buildings in the state to pave way for road dualisation.
SaharaReporters reported that the governor’s remarks was the result of the demand by the civil servants for the payment of their outstanding salaries.
On Monday, civil servants in the state through organised labour unions, issued an ultimatum on the payment of backlogs of salaries.
The Ondo State government had confirmed the receipt of N20 billion as its own share of the last tranche of the Paris Club Refund from the Federal Government.
However, on Tuesday, Akeredolu lashed out at the civil servants for being “ungrateful” to his government, despite prioritising their welfare since his administration took over in 2017.
He claimed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state had put smiles in the faces of workers, even with lean resources by ensuring the civil servants come first in any policy.
“Since I came into office, I have paid your salary arrears, yet our people (referring to the civil servants) are both ungrateful and selfish. And since we came into office, we are not owing even a month’s salary. Not one single month," he said.
Akeredolu, who took a brief swipe at the former government of Olusegun Mimiko for leaving behind backlogs of salaries, however, agreed that his government might not have met other expectations of the workers, and the people of Ondo State, based on the promises made during the election campaign.
“Somebody (referring to Mimiko) was in office and did not pay your salaries and leave allowances. But we have paid and even promoted you, and you people still think we have done nothing. l can tell you that I agree that we have not done nothing; I know that is how life is — you people are both selfish and ungrateful.
“In terms of the welfare of workers in this state, we have done our best. No state has done better than us because we believe a worker deserves his pay."
According to the governor, the wages of government workers — who are less than five per cent of the population — take 90 per cent of revenues accruable to the state.
He continued: “We pay people who are less than five per cent of the population of the state and they take 90 per cent of the income. The revenue that comes to this state, 90 per cent of it goes to less than five per cent. We are up to date in the payment of salaries and pensions; all officers who are due for promotion have been duly served; the 2017 leave bonuses have been paid while some workers have equally enjoyed vehicles loans."
He, however, affirmed that the government and organised labour leaders have been holding meetings on the modalities to be used to offset the outstanding salaries of the civil servants with the N20 billion Paris Club Refund received from the Federal Government, adding that "before the end of this week, we will clear all arrears”.