As part of activities to mark this year’s Workers’ Day, the Akwa Ibom State Pensioners have called on the State Government to see the need of including pensioners in the state budget as to ensure proper budgeting and timely payment of pension allowances, arrears and gratuity to senior citizens of the state.
The State Secretary of the Union, Obong Cosmos M Essien made the called yesterday at the NUP Secretariat, No. 10 Uko Eshiet Lane, Uyo while addressing members of the Union immediately after the annual Workers’Day celebration.
“According to him, “we have realized that allowances of pensioners have not been including in the budgets of the state, that why sometimes will owed us. The Government used to pay us with the leftover money after attending to other financial issues; that means they don’t regard us. We want to put a stop to that.” “We want government to include us in the state budget and as well create either a Board or Commission (as they would like to named it) to oversee the issues of pensioners in the state. Under this platform, they should equally create different departments designated for Retired Local Government Pensioners, Retired State Civil Service pensioners, Retired Primary School Teachers pensioners amongst others to aide in planning the budget of pensioners in the state.
Earlier, the state Chairman of the Union, Obong Ettetor J Uwah who was represented by the Union’s Vice Chairman, Obong E D Ekpo noted that the aimed of the gathering was to appreciate and celebrate the state secretary of the Union, Obong Cosmos M Essien on his outstanding performance and credibility exhibited in the course of serving the Union over the years.
He, on behalf of the state Exco and entire members commended Obong Essien who also doubles as the South South Zonal Secretary of the Union for his commitment, dedication, sincerity, doggedness, and dynamism in the course of fighting for the welfare of the Union in the state, south south and Nigeria at large, describing him as a square peg in a square hole.
While emphasizing that, the positions of a secretary in the Union are always permanent for the purpose of continuity, the Chairman solicited for members cooperation and support to Obong Essien as to continue to perform credibly and to in his assigned duties.
Responding, Obong Cosmos Essien who was full of excitement, expressed gratitude to the Almighty God for the enablement, protection and blessing upon his life, that of his family members and the members of the Union.
Stressing back the history of the Union in the state, Obong Essien noted that the state branch started at the Christ the King Primary School along Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo and later proceeded to No. 7 Abak Road, before they got the temporary Secretariat at NEPA Line, Uyo. He particularly thanked God for the New Permanent Secretariat they have been able to get today.
He noted that, since then, building the Union was not an easy task, that so far that have been able to fight a good fight and as well succeeded in getting what rightfully belongs to them, adding that the Union would not relent its effort until Government harmonize the allowances of pensioners in the state.
He called on members to continue to lent more support and cooperation to the leadership of the Union in the state as to continue to serve them better, pointing out that one of their greatest achievement record is that members of the Union can now get their retirement benefits the first month immediately after their retirement and therefore thanked the Head of Service, Mrs. Ekereobong Akpan for her motherly role and support to pensioners in the state.
He pledged to continue to serve the Union diligently and dedicated the award which was presented to him to the members of the Union whom according to him have been very supportive over the years.
The highpoint of the event was the official presentation of Personality Legacy Award to Obong Essien.
In his word, the first son of Obong Essien, Doctor Ifiok Essien thanked the Union for the honour done on his father. He on behalf of the family pray God to grant members of Union long lives in order to reap the benefit of the services they rendered to the state and nation.