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POLITICS, Uncategorized

Ekiti: Haunted By Ghost Workers

Posted: May 15, 2015 at 12:48 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Yaqoub Popoola, Ado-Ekiti


Ekiti State Government, under the administration  of governor Ayo Fayose, has commenced another round of staff auditing, aimed at unraveling the identities of some unpatriotic elements who are feeding-fat on the system.

Ayo Fayose

Ayo Fayose

Successive Administrations in Ekiti State have, at one time or another, carried out such exercise for similar reasons, but how does this imaginary names find their way into the government’s payment list?

In all of these, notwithstanding, pundits have argued that the exercise might not be entirely sacred, after all, as politicians are known for wanting to impress or compensate their supporters and loyalists through various means, including employment patronage. There were instances where workers were relieved of their jobs on grounds of irregular employment by one particular government, only to be re- absorbed by another.

But it appears the system has a way of re- absorbing the ghost workers as the list keeps swelling months after months.

Interestingly, in some of the verifications conducted so far in the state, the following are some of the findings.

Sad enough, some workers were found to be irregularly employed while others got the job with fake certificates. There were instances where certain departments employed more than their capacity. Other irregularities included age falsification, multiple employments, and falsification of grade levels.

The defunct tenure of Engineer Segun Oni undertook the exercise which the opposition then described as political witch – hunt against perceived supporters of the then Action Congress (AC). The exercise which, political pundits said, exposed Oni’s government to unrestrained attacks was later embraced by Fayemi’s administration.

The implementation of the report generated dust in the state as Fayemi was alleged of plotting to terminate the services of over 5,000 local government workers. The allegation made by the PDP then shook Fayemi’s government which was barely two years in office to its roots as the governor’s spin doctors fought tooth and nail to disabuse the minds of the workers. The governor had argued that the action was in continuation with a reform process started by Oni’s administration in the state.

Fayemi explained that the reforms should not be misconstrued to mean that all the 5,000 workers were going to be sacked.

Said he: “l want anybody that has his or her names pasted on the notice board to come up and show whether there is any sack letter to back it up. l want to assure you that government has not sacked anybody, the motive behind the pasting of names of civil servants on the notice boards  was to confirm their status. Government is going to see the veracity of the status of the employees.”

Similarly, Fayose has disclosed that his government is taking the decision as one of the ways to surmount the dwindling fortunes of the state resources.

A statement made available to newsmen by the Special Assistant to the governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, stated that the verification exercise was aimed at blocking close to N500 million being lost to ghost workers monthly through the e-payment system contracted to a private company by the immediate past administration of Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

To this end, the governor hinted that verification of 48,977 workers in the Ekiti State public service has commenced while payment of salary will follow suit.

The governor’s aide disclosed that salary of April will be paid as workers are verified, adding that “Those insinuating that the verification exercise was meant to delay payment of April salary are just playing cheap politics because the arrangement is such that the moment verification is concluded on daily basis, salary of those cleared will be paid.

It would be recalled that the Fayemi-led government, after carrying out the exercise in the local government system, claimed to have saved the state a whopping N757 million annually.

The governor reeled out statistics on the outcome of the biometric exercise, saying a total number of 1,323 workers are benefiting illegally from the local government system.

It noted that physical headcount revealed a total number of 19,258 personnel in the local government system after which two rounds of biometric counting of workers was carried out.

Fayemi explained that the initial biometric counting gave a figure of 19,212 workers while the last biometric counting of workers revealed a figure of 17,889 workers.

He said that the last two biometric exercises revealed that a total number of 1,323 persons are drawing salaries illegally from the local government system which costs the government over N63 million monthly and N757 million annually.

According to him, N757 million would assist his administration to do a lot of developmental projects, adding that the financial implication was too much to bear in view of limited resources available.

Fayemi also revealed that 1,756 council workers with education-related certificates will be deployed to schools while 4,669 health workers in the councils will now be working with the state Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHCDA).

Regardless, the APC has kicked against the present exercise being undertaken by the Fayose-led administration. Reacting to the planned exercise, the APC described it as a conspiracy.

The party said it was vindicated over the alarm it raised that the state labour leaders had sold the state workers to Governor Ayodele Fayose in an alleged multi-million conspiracy deal to help the governor stall his impeachment by the House of Assembly.

APC Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatubosun, said in a statement that the alarm the party raised in the media had been manifesting in the stunts by the governor’s latest directive that workers should fill verification forms that would last for one month before he could pay workers’ salary.

He alleged that the provocative action was in the full knowledge and cooperation of labour leaders who had been deceiving the state workers in a scheme clearly against their interests while the labour leaders smiled to their banks.

“The labour leaders are in the picture of the governor’s new initiative to fill verification forms. The exercise is billed to end on May 19 after which there will be a report to be submitted at the end of May. This will make workers angry and the Labour leaders will pretend that they are unhappy. They will then mobilise workers for indefinite strike to stall the governor’s impeachment,” Olatubosun argued.

He advised workers to be masters of their own fate as no amount of strike can stop the impeachment if the lawmakers want to carry out their constitutional duties.

“The lawmakers are not civil servants. The constitution does not say lawmakers cannot sit when workers are on strike. It is a pity that workers are facing their current challenges because they have a lawless, deceitful, and uncaring governor,” he said.

Olatubosun added: “Fayose is the greediest, most deceitful and heartless human being to live in Ekiti space in history. If not because of our outcry in the media, the governor would have creamed off N70, 000 out of N100,000 that MDGs paid to each of its Conditional Cash Transfer indigent beneficiaries of the scheme. That is N155.7 million that would have accrued to a wealthy governor from the pockets of the poor people of Ekiti State.

“The governor paid these hapless and poor beneficiaries just N30,000 instead of N100,000 approved by MDGs already lodged in bank opened by Ekiti State for direct payment to the beneficiaries. Fayose did not know that former Governor Kayode Fayemi, who secured the scheme for Ekiti people, had already told the beneficiaries that they would be entitled to N100,000 as exit fund of the scheme and so he decided to short-change them.

“When we raised the alarm and MDG Officials read our press release, they queried the governor and threatened to stop the scheme and blacklist Ekiti State. This forced the governor to quickly ordered payment of another N30,000 and immediately the beneficiaries started to receive payment alerts.”

He said this was a big lesson for Ekiti workers to know that the man touting himself as the friend of the poor is the nemesis of the downtrodden.

He urged Ekiti workers to demand for their salary as the governor had no reason to owe workers after cutting thousands of jobs, reduction in allowances and running grants, refusal to fund security services, collection of N22b on federal projects and collection of N2 billion Ecological Fund he could not account for but could afford to raise his security vote to N200million monthly.