Bayelsa in South South Nigeria and Ebonyi in South East Nigeria were both created on the same day in October 1996 by former military head of state, Sani Abacha.
They are also strong Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governed states with Governor Seriake Dickson in Bayelsa and Governor David Umahi in Ebonyi.
Bayelsa is the least populous state (36th) in the country with about 1.8 million people according to the 2006 national census results. Ebonyi is the 34th most populous with about 2.1 million people. Only Nasarawa state separates the two in terms of population figures.
On Saturday, as Nigeria marked 56 years since its independence; the two states alongside four others celebrated the 20th anniversary of their creation. For civil servants in the states however, the two governors made two different announcements – with good news for one set of workers and bad news for the other.
The good news first. In Ebonyi, Gov. Umahi used the occasion to announce a five percent increase in the salaries of workers in the state.
The announcement will come as a needed reprieve for the state at a time of dwindling revenue from the federation account and a nationwide recession accompanied by high inflation. Umahi also announced a few other goodies for the state’s civil servants.
In Bayelsa however, Gov. Dickson said that the state simply cannot pay its workers their full salaries as accruable revenues to the tiny oil rich state have declined.
Speaking to members of the Bayelsa Elders Forum in Yenagoa, Dickson asked them to prevail on the civil servants from their different localities to accept the payment pattern which has endured since February 2016.
“Some of the major challenges our government is facing is dwindling revenue and security. We call for collaboration to ensure law and order in all the local government areas in the state,” he said.