By Akinwale Kasali
The chances of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State to remain at the Lugard House is an Herculean task, as neglect of workers welfare could Mar his chances to remain in office for the next four years.
The Nigerian Labour Congress, Kogi State chapter revealed that the governor has failed to make the welfare of civil servants his main priority.
Though, infrastructure wise, Labour hailed the Bello administration for been proactive, but has neglected workers.
When the Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists, NGIJ, visited Kogi State to do an assessment of the first term of the Yahaya Bello administration, mixed feelings trailed his first term, with some sections of the people hailed his administration, while others knocked him off, saying he should throw in the towel and not contest for the next election, as they believed he has failed.
The chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Alhaji Abdullahi Ndalaye disclosed that the leniency of Bello has been the reason where the backlog of salary of workers has not been paid.
Ndalaye made this revelation during an interactive session between the Head of Service (HoS), Mrs. Deborah Ogunmola and members of the Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ), led by it’s President, Wale Abydeen, who are in the state on an assessment tour.
His words: ‘If I were Yahaya Bello, by now, many people will be in jail paying for their crimes and they won’t be saying all that. I have the confessional statement of a police officer earning salary from Kogi state government as a civil servant.’
”I signed the document published in Leadership newspaper of people with forged certificates and other infractions. These are the same set of people crying that they have not received salaries.
‘They talk about endless screenings; you should expect error margins of 5 or 10 percent in an exercise for over 80,000 civil servants and pensioners. Governor Yahaya Bello was humane enough to give people with genuine cases the opportunity to present evidence(s) to clear their names.”
He therefore advised affected workers with genuine cases to present their certificates and other supporting evidence to the committee for clearance.
Earlier, the Head of Service, Mrs Deborah Ogunmola said Governor Yahaya Bello meant well for Kogi state civil service as he has introduced reforms to make it more efficient, productive and effective.
Mrs Ogunmola disclosed that some people within the system are aware there are problems in the civil service and only a courageous leader can do what the governor is doing.
While explaining the controversy surrounding the screening exercise, she said the consultant discovered different categories of infractions including using fake certificates to get employment, presentation of fake certificates to earn promotion, failure to present original certificates, falsified date of birth and many others.
The HoS added that some of the people de-registered from Kogi state payroll were enlisted into the state civil service while in school and diaspora workers who abandoned their duty posts.
”Imagine some people claiming to be Kogi state civil servants are living outside the state, they absent themselves from duty without permission and making constant bank withdrawn in Kano, Kaduna, Abuja, Lagos’,” she narrated.
She disclosed that over 900 people with cases of omissions were added back to the payroll in 2018, noting that some of those blackmailing government of owing 38months arrears have no evidence of salary payment since 2014 based on bank statement verification.