The Governor of Ekiti State, Biodun Oyebanji, has declared that he is irrevocably committed to fulfilling all his electoral promises to pensioners, who had expended their energies serving the state during their productive years.
The Governor also said that in order to fast-track the state’s development index and shore up Internally Generated Revenue, his government will introduce Land Use Charge in January, 2024 for all developers.
The additional revenue, he said would help government undertake more projects across all sectors.
Oyebanji spoke in Ado Ekiti, on Tuesday, during a special prayer organised for him by the State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), at Jibowu Hall, Government House grounds.
The prayer session was attended by the Deputy Governor, Chief (Mrs) Monisade Afuye; Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Adeoye Aribasoye; Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Habitat Adubiaro and members of the State Executive Council.
Describing pensioners as central to the progress of the state, having served zealously in the past, Oyebanji said: “I will be a bastard if I fail to protect your interest as Governor of the State. As long as we have the resources, all your issues and welfare will be at the front burner.
“How could someone work for that number of years and now can’t afford what to eat? This is not good enough. We will continue to attend to your welfare to make lives easier for you”.
Governor Oyebanji said he was already working with the Head of Service to ensure a more regular payment of gratuity.
“By January, 2024, we will dedicate a fix amount for the payment of your gratuity monthly at both state and local governments.
“The labour is agitating for wage increase for workers, they also have the right. We will look for ways to balance the two. We have to balance the everything and make sure everybody is happy.
“I appeal to my people in government to be selfless, we need to be sacrificial, because election has an expiry date. We will still go back to the people, what are we going to tell them if we fail them?”.
Expatiating further on the proposed Land Use Charge, Oyebanji, promised that the impending tax would be made affordable to all citizens, and not one that will be considered outrageous and jaw breaking.
“We are going to make it affordable. And I want to assure you that we will use the money for development and when we do this, I know that our people will be motivated to pay”.
Addressing the gathering, the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, Ekiti chapter, Mr. Joel Akinola, described the prayer session as the first of its kind that would be organised for a sitting Governor.
He described it as another remarkable step in their relationship with Governor Oyebanji.
Akinola, who stated that Governor Oyebanji’s government has been a “God- sent” to Ekiti, described the Governor as a man of integrity, who values pensioners and always keep all his promises.
“Governor Oyebanji is a politician but he is not behaving like a typical Nigerian politician who always deceive people. We are not here to praise him, but we want to appreciate the grace of God in his life. The pensioners are happy with you and we will always stand with you”.
Akinola appealed to Governor Oyebanji to pay part of the pension and check- off dues arrears to further cushion the effect of the current economic situation on pensioners and to also make name as a governor who values the lives of retirees.
In their separate exhortations, a man of God, Pastor Kayode Odebode and Sheikh Abdul, applauded Governor Oyebanji for being passionate about the development of the state, particularly his commitment to the welfare of pensioners.
Pastor Odebode, in his sermon entitled : “Integrity and Morality in Humanity”, at the spiritual event, a Cleric, Pastor Kayode Odebode, charged Nigerian leaders to always lead with integrity and display humanity to be able to etch their names in the hearts of the populace.
“All our Governor has been doing proved that he is a man of integrity. The Holy Book commanded in the Book of Leviticus that we should take care of the aged and the Governor is doing just that with prompt payments of pension and gratuity. He is a man of his words.
“I appeal to our governor not to drop his integrity and always b a man of his words no matter the situation around you, because whatever we are doing in this world we come to a close one day”.