Over 2000 unpaid and highly perturbed Imo State Pensioners in Owerri capital city and environs converged to worship and carry their 10 year old case in supplication to God at a special 3 hour special intercessory mass conducted by the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Rev. (Dr) A.J.V Obinna at the Assumpta Cathedral as the prelate of pensioners Intervention Committee led by Comrade I.I. Ohaneze.
The renowned Catholic prelate who observed that this is not the first time the estranged pensioners had come to Assumpta for their supplications to God but this time they have come under the theme “taking our case to God” and that Governor Uzodinma was aware of the presence of the elder statesmen and may be there to address or perhaps to hearken to and address their plights.
In a double phased homily, Archbishop AJV Obinna lamented on the position of the Igbos in Nigeria who lost all the talents given to them by God and are today playing second fiddle with idolatry and worship of money and class distinction or segregation, which have kept them far from realizing erstwhile divine potentialities.
Bishop Obinna again reiterated that all men are equal before God, that there is no Osu or Diala anymore to discriminate against. Turning to the congregation, the Archbishop remarked that things have gone torpsy-toring and haywire in Imo State so much that Imo pensioners, coming to the Cathedral to seek God’s face is a tragedy and does not speak good of us. He added that you do not negotiate pensions and just because of greed, corruption, “Ima madu” and neglect of onye aghala nwaneya, things have fallen apart in our state, to the extent that pensioners cannot be paid as at when due.
He prayed that God in his infinite mercy will hearken to the cries, grooms, gnashing of teeth and sublime prayers of these elder statesmen and women and promptly grant their requests and touch the hearts of those in authority to do the needful.
He went down the memory lane to trace how the then revered resourceful, educated, talented Igbo men full of zeal and spirit of unity of onyeaghala nwanneya lost all their talents due to greed, corruption and bad leadership or governance which are the causes of the ugly plight of pensioner and workers in Imo State and prayed that God would touch the hearts of the Igbo man to realize himself so as to do good including payment of workers/pensioners, their wages for services properly and honestly rendered.
In the course of prayers of the faithful, twelve worshippers from the four wings of the capacity filed Assumpta Cathedral Owerri offered intercessory prayers to God on behalf of the pensioners, the government and the people of God that they may have a change of hearts and experience a new lease of life.
At the end of the near four hour marathon supplications and praises in the presence of God, Archbishop Obinna in his usual humanitarian characteristics manner fed the 2000 pensioners that attended the mass for the old men and women including retired Directors-General, General Managers and Permanent Secretaries.
The secretary of retired Permanent Secretaries of Imo State, Chief F.I Agba has revealed why Imo pensioners in their numbers stormed the Assumpta Catholic Cathedral on Sunday, November 15, 2020 while also accusing the governor of hiring managers for reasons best known to him to manage public fund.
Speaking to our reporter at the venue, Agba argued that if Senator Hope Uzodinma believes in due process and accountability, he should not allow any stranger or mercenaries to manage public fund let alone payment of salary of pension. He said that it is criminal to allow anyone who can’t be audited by the Auditor general to disburse public fund.
He wondered what is the role of the accountant general if not to pay salaries and pensions as spelt out by the constitution. Agba regretted what the Imo pensioners have gone through since the inception of the present administration. “We are in pain. Our members are dying in their numbers, yet the government pretend unaware of our plights. It is that bad that when they don’t pay you, you don’t know who to run to as those responsible for payment schedule are not aware of who pays salary”, Agba hinted.
Speaking on their reason for going to Assumpta, he stated having waited for so long and nothing happens and when we protest, they teargas us and claim that opposition is using us to fight the governor which is not true, hence their decision to hand over their case to God.
The technocrats averred that Imo workers are on holiday which is why standard has eroded the people, saying that if it were in the past, when civil servants we’re allowed to discharge their jobs, you don’t build a road today and it develops pot-holes tomorrow, such civil servant will be queried but in this case, who do you query?