The immediate past Secretary to the Government of Anambra State and a frontline contender in the forthcoming governorship election in the state, Mr. Oseloka H. Obaze has said that pension and severance packages are entitlements and should be treated as such.
Obaze while speaking in Awka on Wednesday said it’s illegal for any government to tamper with people’s entitlements or treat it as if they are doing the beneficiaries a favour. He noted that all political appointees and employees have retirement benefits, as such the benefit clauses on people’s appointment letters must be respected.
Obaze decried the fact that Anambra State Government has failed to pay the severance packages of former council chairmen and council members. Similarly, he deplored the failure of the state government to pay the housing allowance and other entitlements of retired judges including several former chief judges, which forced the judges to seek legal remedy.
Referring to the imperative of good governance and the interface between the government and the governed, the former United Nations’ official said “you can disagree with people on matters of principle but you can’t withhold their entitlements because of such disagreements.”
He recalled the various roles he played while serving as the SSG to former Governor Peter Obi’s administration to ensure that people’s entitlements and severance packages were paid expeditiously.
On the state government’s decision to appoint Local Government caretaker committee chairmen, instead of holding elections, Obaze said that as per the Constitution, only a force majure could stop such an election. It was thus unconscionable for anyone who enjoys the legitimacy conferred on him by votes of the people to deny local government chairmen and council members such legitimacy. He advocated that the people at the grassroots should be given the opportunity to elect their local government officials. He encouraged the people to insist on having credible local government elections in Anambra State.