High Life with Kayode ALFRED
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting almost every aspect of life. In Nigeria, this has resulted in dire problems involving individuals, communities, and the government. Although the reality of unpaid salaries is not unfamiliar in most states, it has not been used as a hammer against any single individual who is not a governor—until now.
A viral video recently started making the rounds on social media. In the video, an individual reported to be a supervisor with the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), censured the CEO of LAWMA, Ibrahim Odumboni, for refusing to pay the salaries of workers, from April to date. The lamenting worker stated that Odumboni’s refusal to pay their three-month salaries meant that he—Odumboni—cared little for the welfare of his workers, some of whom are elderly women.
The LAWMA worker took things a notch higher by capturing the insides of his kitchen, which were very clean and very empty. Following this, he asked the audience—and Odumboni—how he was supposed or expected to survive without food. In his words, “We go to work every day. We ensure that Lagos State is clean. We go to work very early in the morning till 4 pm, when we return home. When there was COVID-19 lockdown, we had no break. We were still going out and ensured that Lagos was clean.”
Raising things to a crescendo, the worker stated that he is an asthmatic; that his basic medication (the inhaler) is 6,500. If things continue this way, he said, Odumboni was going to spoil the good works of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Afterward, the worker knelt and begged Governor Sanwo-Olu to come to their rescue, pay their salaries, and save him—and the others—from certain death.
Responding to the video, LAWMA stated that it was in no way hampering the progress of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s governance, or intending to do so. It maintained that the welfare of every individual working for the government, including the contract staff of LAWMA, is a priority. It was further emphasized that the April salary for LAWMA workers was released to the contractors, and will soon reach every staff—including the man from the viral video. Furthermore, the salary of May and others are already being prepared so as to be disbursed in timely, efficient manners.
In this, Ibrahim Odumboni has been cast into the limelight of public censure—nay, into the eye of the storm.