By Simon Ebegbulem
DEPUTY Chief whip of the House of Representatives and the member representing Owan Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Pally Iriase, has attributed the plight of pensioners in Edo State to the premature retirement of thousands of civil servants by the administration of ex-governor Lucky Igbinedion.
He said: “ I was the Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly and I knew all that transpired then. There were certain things that I heard recently which I would have loved to engage my friend, Pastor Ize-Iyamu on so that they either expunge them from their campaign talks or state the facts as they are.
“I heard Ize-Iyamu is accusing the Oshiomhole government of destroying the civil service. Nothing could be further from the truth, nothing could be worse than an attempt to stand the truth on its head or to re-write history. If anything, it was the PDP government that nearly annihilated the civil in Edo State. Another point he had made is that this government is to be held responsible for running down the educational system.
“That is also another big and terrible lie. There is no way we can forget that in 2001, the then PDP government of which Ize-Iyamu was very influential, decided that the best way to handle paucity of funds and inability to pay salaries, was not only to downsize but to also tinker with the long-standing Pension Act, which provides that for the civil service, you are either 55 years old or you have served for 35 years, whichever comes first until recently when it was raised to 60 years.