By Inyali Peter
Most times after getting sensitive information about government misdeeds, I prefer to hold brief to gather more facts and confirm the authenticity of the information from different sources before making public remarks because I am highly irritated by falsehood and disinformation.
After confirming the news that Cross River state government has commercialized civil servants promotion by imposing a levy of three thousand seven hundred naira (N3,700) on them as promotion fee from over twenty three victims (civil servants), I begin to imagine the vision of Governor Ben Ayade for Cross Riverians.
When the governor stated some months ago that he sees the state as a company with him as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) nobody probably foresaw commercialization of the civil service as one of business strategies to garner profit for his company (Cross River). The number objective of every CEO is to maximize profit but I don’t think any good CEO would go as far as levying members of his internal publics (employees) to make profit. They would rather develop human capacity and give employees some incentives to boost their morale which will in turn lead to improved productivity.
The commercialization of promotion in the civil service has rightly positioned the leadership of the state as hopelessly and helplessly inhumane. It means the government is not looking at things with human face and has reaffirmed my initial judgement that the Ayade administration is grossly irresponsible, heartless, reckless, incompetence and insensitive to the plight of Cross Riverians.
When states like Ebonyi and Edo are increasing workers salaries, Cross River is busy devising ways to squeeze out the meager pay of civil servants which cannot be compared to the enormity of challenges confronting them. Is this the governor perceived by many as labour friendly? Is this how friendship works? This is unacceptable!
Cross Riverians may have forgotten so soon how Ayade deceived unsuspecting job seekers that he has lifted the twenty three years old embargo on employment into the state civil service. After that pronouncement which was around October last year, so many people bought recruitment forms for one thousand to one thousand three hundred naira (N1000-1,300) but almost a year later, no single person has officially been recruited into the service. I recently did an article calling on the government to either commence recruitment process or refund monies to those who paid for the forms. But as usual, my advice was ignored.
Apart from this, the government has concluded plans to forcefully deduct the sum of one thousand naira (N1,000) monthly from civil servants salaries in the name of an insurance scheme code named “Ayadecare”. All these is coming on the heels of government failure to deliver laptops to the poor civil servants after compelling them to pay for it about sixteen months ago.
Governor Ayade may just have found new oil wells in civil service but where is the money going to? With all these injustices melted on poor civil servants, who will help them out? The state’s salary structure is one of the least in the country yet Ayade administration still makes the highest deduction in the country from civil servants salaries.
At a time where prices of goods and services are increasing daily, a responsible government should think of how to better the lots of workers by increasing their pay rather than sucking them dry.
I want to call on Civil Society Organizations and Rights Groups to look into the plight of civil servants in Cross River state now before it gets out of hand. The way Ayade is going, one day workers may no longer be entitled to their wages. Deductions may finish their salaries before they even get to receive alert.