Squabbles between outgoing and incoming governors took a disturbing turn yesterday as the Kayode Fayemi-led Ekiti State government terminated the appointments of over 2000 workers recruited by the previous administration of Governor Ayodele Fayose.
It was the week’s climax to related drama. In Oyo State on Wednesday, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who would vacate office in a matter of days, swore in 11 new permanent secretaries, saying the gesture underscored an understanding of the role of the civil service to his administration.
Also on Wednesday, in Bauchi State, the House of Assembly, within 24 hours, fast-tracked a bill through its first, second and third readings and passed it with 13 of the 31 members of the legislative chamber.
The bill, when signed by outgoing Governor Abdullahi Abubakar, will repeal the State Public Property and Funds Recovery Act of 2017, vesting the power to investigate sleaze in a court rather than in the state’s tribunal.
The three scenarios have however continued to generate mixed reactions from stakeholders in the affected states.
Meanwhile, briefing reporters in Ekiti State yesterday, Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Values Orientation, Muyiwa Olumilua, recalled that Fayemi, before taking the reins of power, had warned citizens of the state not to participate in the employment.
“All appointments made after the gubernatorial election of July 2018, an exercise found to have violated due process, are hereby cancelled and declared null and void,” the commissioner said.
He noted that the exercise was done by the Fayose administration to sabotage the new government, adding: “Some people heeded the warning and stayed away.”
But Fayose in a reaction through his spokesman, Lere Olayinka, described the sack as an act of wickedness and political vendetta.
“Fayemi has only succeeded in writing his name in the history books of Ekiti as one who inflicts pains and sorrow on the people. He has only demonstrated the wickedness in his heart by sacking Ekiti sons and daughters duly employed by the state government,” he said in a statement.
He warned: “Whoever applauds this show of wickedness will be reminded in future when the actions of Fayemi will also be reviewed.” He also urged the citizens to “enforce their rights to seek redress in the court of law.”
The Ekiti State chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Sola Adigun, told journalists: “Fayemi should put an end to this ugly but repeated scenario where every successive government sacks workers employed by its predecessors in Ekiti. It started in 2003 and it has continued since then. We are going to see Governor Fayemi and the Head of Service to stop this.”
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chapter in the state condemned the sack as evil and inhumane. Its spokesman, Jackson Adebayo, noted that nothing could have been more traumatic in a state where the civil service is the mainstay of people’s livelihood.
Reacting to the Bauchi State House of Assembly’s bid to change an anti-corruption law, Aminu Tukur, member representing Lere/Bula Constituency, alleged that the bill was passed with ulterior motives, to achieve “objectives best known to the speaker.”
He said: “It’s unfortunate that only 13 out of 31 members were called secretly to converge at the House. The usual time for sitting is 10:00 a.m. but the sitting commenced from 9:00 a.m.
“The 13 members are the same well known associates of the outgoing governor. Their agenda is well known to everyone with a good head on his shoulders.
“The law was put in place to serve as a deterrent to whoever misappropriates public funds. But because the governor failed to secure a second term in office, he connived with his cronies to assemble at the House by 9:00 a.m. to do this evil against the people of Bauchi State.”
Worried about how the state would fare economically when he assumes office, Bauchi governor-elect, Abdulkadir Bala Mohammed, yesterday claimed the state’s debt profile had risen to N96 billion.
Mohammed who spoke to reporters in Abuja through the head of the transition team, Ladan Salihu, said the level of indebtedness was much higher than the N57 billion inherited by Abubakar.
He questioned why the debt allegedly rose in spite of huge federal allocations to the state. He also criticised alleged moves by the state’s lawmakers to grant to themselves pensions for life, and make fresh appointments.
“We have had cause in the past to warn civil servants in Bauchi State that although government is a continuum, they must not shift their loyalty and pile up financial liabilities through acts of sabotage and utter disregard for laid down procedures for employment, promotion or discipline.