Posted by News Express | 20 December 2021 | 481 times
It is exactly a year down the line when the new Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Arc. Amos Olatunde Ojo, as he then was, promised to offset all areas of Legislative Aides of the National Assembly. The promise may have been inspired by the euphoria of the new job and office. Till date, the promise remains unfulfilled.
As at the, it was public knowledge that many of legislative aides were owed most of their allowances ranging from first 28 days, Duty Tour Allowance and arrears from June 2019, till date.
The CNA tactically and cleverly offset the least of the arrears by paying for the first 28 days across board and subjected the rest to appropriation by Management of the National Assembly. What an administrator and his administrative lapses!
Since then, it was from one deliberation to the other, promises upon promises; at a point, it degenerated to threat and confrontations. The situation now is that the arrears have been once again, subjected to appropriation from the National Assembly before statutory Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) and salary arrears are paid.
The whole issue became worrisome as the National Assembly that is charged with appropriation of both recurrent and capital expenditure in Nigeria could not appropriate funds to pay its staffers.
The issue of the debt payment degenerated to a level that Management used divide and rule tactics to approach both pro- and anti-management legislative.
What a pitiful way to fight a middle class that, by error, found themselves in the midst of the well-to-do in the society.
It got to a point security agencies were deployed to NASS to harass anti-Management aides by the leadership and Management of the current 9th National Assembly.
The spirit of the struggle through comradeship and followership of the current legislative aides has been sealed by the House of Representatives, Senate and the CAN.
The National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) who claimed to be the sole employer of staffers of NASS appeared toothless with the claim that it is only NASS Management that could determine the legitimate fate of National Assembly legislative aides.
At the moment, the only news in the public domain is that the Clerk to the National Assembly has paid off all arrears, salaries and allowances of legislative aides in the 9th Assembly, including arrears from June 2019, as the CNA confirmed in his interview with the National daily recently. That publication has not been refuted.
It has gotten to a point that the umbrella body of the legislative aides known as NASSLAF has, on several occasions, disowned its own members and statements in the guise of playing to the gallery.
Gradually, the story of legitimate earnings of legislative aides is being consigned to the dustbin of when “funds are available” while other appropriations are on the highest pedestal.
It is now clear that previous leaderships at all levels are better off than the ones succeeding them, as is the case at the National Assembly at both Management and leadership levels.
The December 15, 2020 promise by the CNA has come and gone; and one year down the line, December 15, 2021 has equally come. But the struggle for payment of salary arrears and arrears of other allowances has continued to linger; and may continue lingering forever, unless and untill it is resolved.
But it is better at every level, that leaders should be known, addressed and identified with their words, as saying one thing today and doing the contrary isn’t a good precedent.
•Ekundayo Momoni writes from Ogbomosho, Oyo State.
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