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We don’t owe salary. Since our staff screening and verification exercise ended in 2018 we pay 100% of salaries to state workers on or before the end of every month. Find out.

At local government levels, we pay promptly too but percentage persists because of well-known problems of poor allocation, over-bloated workforce and inadequate wage-bill.

On this LG matter, we are doing our best and we will continue to do so. I didn’t add these people to the payroll, I met them there, along with many months of unpaid salaries. Labour itself would agree that we get no work for the salaries they collect. Carefully read this piece and try to evaluate the situation dispassionately, if you can. Afterwards, if you still think otherwise, kindly tell me how many people I should retrench so the LG allocation can go round. Or maybe you can come up with a better solution:

For the 13 years or so PDP ran Kogi, they stuffed the workforce with unqualified and unneeded friends, families and ghostworkers. All LGs had 2000-3000 ‘workers’ when Yahaya Bello took office in January of 2016. He inherited a workforce of 80,000+, many of them without official job descriptions. They also left many months of unpaid salaries and many years of unpaid terminal benefits (Google is your friend).

After an extensive staff screening and verification exercise that took the better part of a year and half Governor Bello weeded out most of the ghostworkers (about 10,000) and closed their accounts (many traceable to prominent members of the PDP elite). However, the real workforce still crossed the 70,000 mark.

Since the screening exercise ended in 2018 #GovYahayaBello has paid 100% salaries at state level, on or before the end of every month except for when FAAC is delayed. LG salaries have also come with the same promptness, except they remained problematic because JAAC and other income have been consistently insufficient to pay the bloated workforce fully. There is nothing you can do if your total salary wage bill at LG level is more than your total income. LG Autonomy even made the situation worse.

For instance, payment of 100% salaries to all LG workers would require over N5bn per month in Kogi State but the average total income for LGs, including federal allocation, is around N3bn (you can check the records at the RMAFC). And you still have to provide for projects and recurrents, traditional rulers and institutions which are LG by LG. Because the workforce is so much more than the income, at the end of every month, each LG’s federal allocation plus state IGR share and other income is brought to the table and a joint team of negotiators comprising state officials and organized Labour (NULGE, NUT, NLC, TUC, etc) agree on what percentage to pay per month.

All of this wahala could end if the Governor chooses to pull the kill switch as some of his colleagues have done. He could retrench a combined 20,000 to 25,000 persons from the workforce of all the 21 LGs – but retrenchment is a ‘solution’ which Yahaya Bello has turned down severally. In his words it is not something to do to anyone in this economy.

So, those of you who think we should retrench need to man up and tell us how many and those who should be so retrenched so we can start paying 100% salaries at the LGAs. Don’t hide behind political opposition to deceitfully intervene in a matter of utmost importance.

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