Former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi has explained why he paid off an accumulated pension and gratuity debt of ₦35 billion, which he inherited from the previous administration.
The former governor said he took the decision because of the sufferings of the elderly who were being denied their rights.
Obi, who stated this in an online event, titled: Politics 101 With Peter Obi, said the pains and lamentations of the elderly, who had served the state in various capacities but were not accorded their due financial rights, motivated him to pay off the inherited debt.
Coupled with his Christian belief that a labourer deserves his just wage, Obi said he could not watch the senior citizens suffer and cry without “doing something about their plight”.
Recalling a particular experience that cemented his resolve to pay off the inherited debt, the former governor said he had an encounter with an 80-year-old woman in the church where he had gone to pray.
He said: “One faithful day, I went to church to pray. As a matter of personal policy, I do not allow my security men into the church with me because I know God is the Ultimate Protector, and we are all one before God.
“As I knelt down in prayer, an 80-year-old woman, Mrs. Ndibe, of blessed memory, came and snatched my bible. She began to lament that she, just like many others, had not been paid her pensions and gratuity. She said God would not answer my prayers unless I paid them.
“I wanted to book a private appointment with her to discuss her complaints, but she refused. Paying the accumulated gratuities and pensions was the only thing she wanted. I later paid her a visit in her house and we discussed further. She told me stories of her pains that moved me to tears. She recounted all she had passed through because she had not been paid her gratuity and pensions.”
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