Former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi has given reasons why he paid off an accumulated pension and gratuity debt of N35 billion, which he inherited from the previous administration.
He said the plight of the elderly who were being denied their rights informed his decision to pay off the inherited debt.
Speaking in an online event, titled: Politics 101 With Peter Obi, the ex-governor further explained that his Christian belief that a labourer deserves his just wage was another motivation.
He stressed that he could not watch the senior citizens who had served the state in various capacities suffer and cry without “doing something about their plight”.
Obi recalled a particular encounter he had with an 80-year-old woman in the church where he had gone to pray.
He said the woman, a retiree did not only snatch his bible from him, but assured him that his prayers would not be answered until he settled the pensioners in the state.
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.”