A local official in Akwa Ibom State, who resigned his appointment over the weekend, said he preferred to put away the title of a “chief of staff to the chairman” rather than work for months without salary.

The

official, Edidiong Udofot , said  he was chief of staff to the Chairman of Nsit Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Eric Akpan.

Mr Udofot, who is also a local politician, published his ‘resignation’ letter on Facebook on Sunday.

“I cannot continue to bear the name without salary in a government I fought diligently and risked my life for its victory.

“I do not want my people to keep counting years in service for me while in reality nothing good is forthcoming,” he said in the open letter which has elicited controversy in the state.

Mr Udofot told PREMIUM TIMES he used to receive N100,000 as monthly salary from the council when he began working as Mr Akpan’s chief of staff in 2018.

Mr Akpan, at the time, was doing his first term as chairman of the council.

Mr Udofot in October 2020 was elected as the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for a newly created ward in Nsit Ibom where he is receiving a N25,000 monthly stipend. By then, Mr Akpan had won re-election for a second term.

Mr Udofot admitted to PREMIUM TIMES that the council chairman stopped paying his salary as chief of staff on the grounds that he was now a ward chairman.

“I was the chief of staff throughout his first term, we fought and won the second term (election) and we continued the government.

“But since we started the second term in December, I have not collected even a thousand naira. Yet, I was still carrying the name chief of staff and people are disturbing me with so many issues.

“When I asked him why he reduced me from N100,000 a month to N25,000 he said he stopped paying me salary, that they have compensated me with the (position of a) ward chairman and that I am now a delegate, so I will start getting money,” he said.

‘No provision for chief of staff in local government’

The chairman, Mr Akpan, denied appointing Mr Udofot as his chief of staff. He said the local government administration law in the state does not make provision for such an office.

The law, he said, only allows the chairman to have two special assistants and two personal assistants.

He said Mr Udofot was among his 52 aides which he was paying from his security votes.

“After the three years, I went for a second-term and I had dissolved my former aides which I have not reconstituted for now,” he said.

Mr Udofot, apart from being a PDP ward chairman, is the secretary of the youth caucus in the local government area, the chairman said.

“The issue is just his greed. At the moment, he is the secretary of the youth caucus in Nsit Ibom which I made him, I made him the ward chairman and he is working. So why does he still need more things? Don’t we have other youths?

Mr Akpan said Mr Udofot, during the lockdown that was caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, garnished the account of the council over a N4.2 million debt he claimed the council owed his father between 2004 and 2005.

Mr Udofot and Mr Akpan are from the same ward.

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