Eze Samuel Agunwa Ohiri, the Chairman of Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, has criticized the immediate past Governor of the state, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, over his inability to pay pensioners, when he was in power.
Ohiri, who is popularly called Eze di Eze or Eze Imo, could not understand why Okorocha refused to pay the pensioners despite all the funds available to him at that time.
The Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers’ Chairman made this public over the weekend, during an interactive session with journalists in his palace in Owerri, the state capital.
Speaking further, he accused Okorocha of unnecessarily playing politics with the wellbeing of the pensioners throughout his tenure as governor, without minding the consequences of his actions.
He disclosed that the Okorocha-led government conducted what he described as “unending verification exercises” that never yielded any result.
According to him: “Perhaps, Okorocha government may have been using the unending verification exercises to undermine the payment of pensioners in the state.
“Before this present administration, there were series of unending verification exercises of pensioners in the state and for me, I felt like the government was kind of playing games with our senior citizens and that wasn’t right.
“At every opportunity, I made it known to the governor and the government that they needed to take care of our senior citizens, but nothing came out of it.”
However, he thanked the present Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha for making the payment of pensioners a reality.
“I want to thank God Almighty that finally something is being done through Governor Emeka Ihedioha. I have to say that in honesty and sincerity, I am happy that at this point that our pensioners are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.
“I also commend the process, because it is not just paying them, it requires some planning. First of all, we need to understand and to know how many pensioners we have in the state and truly and accurately how much is due to each of them. And such planning and well thought out process was what I felt was lacking in the previous administration in the state.
“Also, before now, some of the problems that we had or some of the complaints I received as the chairman of council of traditional rulers from these pensioners include that every month the government can decide to pay them arbitrary figures.
“Somebody that was supposed to get N70, 000 or N60, 000 was paid N13, 000 or N15, 000. And nobody knew how government arrived at those figures. And they couldn’t go to anybody to get answers to those questions.
“But now I thank God that the government has begun payment to them 100 per cent. So, I want to say that I have good faith in the exercise that has just been concluded and I believe it was sincere, honest and reliable.” Eze Ohiri Said.