The civic tech non-profit organization, BudgIT, has defended its research report indicating that several states, prominently Abia, Edo, and Adamawa, all states with Governors elected on the PDP platform, owe their workers several months of unpaid salaries and other benefits.
The report cast spotlight on what CSOs have long considered an overlooked problem: the ineptitude and poor management of sub-national governments in the country. Seeking to avoid public fury and abdicate responsibility, state governments in Nigeria have long learned to attribute internal challenges to the central government. BudgIT’s report, however, exposed their own poor management, especially of public finance and called for redress.
Predictably, the report was met with angry outbursts by some of the indicted governors who have questioned its validity. Reacting to the protests, BudgIT has defended the research and the output, maintaining that it was carried out with reliable tools and tested methods.
In a statement signed by Iyanu Fatoba, head of media, communications and designs, on Monday, the organization said “Using the stratified sampling technique, we surveyed 1,042 respondents across the three senatorial districts of each state.”
“These comprise the following state MDAs; state secondary health institution; state high court; state house of assembly service commission; state secondary school; and state tertiary institution; pensioner paid by the state; local government civil servants; local government secretariat; primary school; primary healthcare centre and pensioners paid by local government.”
“Likewise, we deployed the Kobo toolbox to ensure an additional layer of scrutiny in collating, interpreting and contextualising the data.”
Dismissing the denial of the Edo State government in particular, BudgIT said “respondents from Etsako Central ascertained that the state owed eight months and a half salary and four years’ leave allowance. Workers in Etsako West & Owan East also affirmed that the government owed them seven months and six & a half months’ salary, respectively.”
BudgIT’s insistence on the validity of its verdict on Edo State is corroborated by accounts of citizens on social media, some of whom have frowned at the government’s attempt to discredit the report. It is a similar situation in Abia State, with Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration commonly referred to as the worst governorship administration in the country’s sociopolitical history.
Dr. Ikpeazu once boasted in the media of his administration’s offering of N500, a sum less than $1, to new mothers at the state-run maternity clinics, most of which have now been shut just as state tertiary institutions have lost their accreditation due to poor performance standards.