The All Progressives Congress (APC), Bayelsa State, has queried the decision of the state Governor, Seriake Dickson, to appoint 35 permanent secretaries three months to the end of his administration.
Dickson at the weekend inaugurated 35 permanent secretaries and a Commissioner, Mr. Felix Sam-Ateki and charged them to work with the incoming administration to ensure full implementation of the civil service reforms.
The governor said his administration would soon receive the formal report of the reforms which he noted would be one of the key documents to be handed over to the next government.
While congratulating the new permanent secretaries on their appointment, Dickson called on them to avoid partisan politics and focus on the execution of policies and programmes of government.
He said: “As you go to your various Ministries, Departments and Agencies to ensure the public/civil service is programmed and made ready to work and support policies and programmes of the next administration, you are not to dabble into the political squabbles of the day.
“You are not to be part of the dust of political conflicts . I charge you all to maintain neutrality and focus on the execution of the policies and programmes of government.
“I urge you all and the entire civil service to brace up to execute the policies of the government of the day loyally and as ably as you can.”
But the APC in a statement signed by its State Secretary, Alabo Martins, chided the governor saying that the party was aware of many clandestine indiscriminate employment going on across various MDAs without recourse to due process.
He said while they were not averse to such appointments, especially if they were in tandem with civil service rules and regulations, they had their reservations with regard to the timing of the appointments.
Martins said: “If the outgoing administration was aware of the existence of these vacancies in the top echelon of the public service of the state and that the situation was creating a lull in the service, why were the vacancies left unfilled until the eventide of the administration.
“No doubt, the appointments are in bad taste just as the motive is clearly political and an effort to put the popular in coming government on a bad light by ensuring that we are financially transgulated.
“We appreciate the fact that until February 14, 2020, the present administration has the constitutional powers to hire and fire but this responsibility should be carried out in the best interest of the state and its people. We must say that the present scenario is just for the satisfaction of some political interests and therefore falls far short of the wider interests of the state.
“We advise the Government to concentrate on completing uncompleted projects,such as the 8year old Isaac Boro express way. We also call on bayelsans to hold the restoration government response in the future if some of these decisions are reviewed for the betterment of bayelsa
“We are aware that employment is a means of empowering citizens of the state, mostly the youths. It curtails restiveness and other social vices in the state.
However, the employment of the the restoration government does not follow acceptable procedures, apart from the Forest Officers and few others.
“The government did not lift embargo on employment until January this year when one thousand graduates were employed. But, pockets of employment were carried out from time to time with names directly forwarded by His Excellency the outgoing governor”.
Martins said the appointments were supposed to be on geographical spread to the eight local governments areas but that they were one-sided with some local councils having more than others.
“The rules and procedures do not allow applicants to apply for employment directly to the Governor. But, this is practice in the state. Integration of officers from the plastic industry was haphazardly done. It created avenue for irregularities in the system which allows illegal employments into the civil service.
“This created irregular transfer of officers from one organisation or establishments to another under the governor’s directives. The officers are moved without promotions and were stagnated on grade level for example environmental sanitation authority staff moved to SUBEB, and from SUBEB to civil service. Then from SSSB/Radio Bayelsa etc to the international institute of tourism and hospitality and to the civil service.
“Transferring officers to MDAS without considering the promotion prospects and headship of department by deserving or serving officers.
No vacancy is sort in the relevant grade and cadre before the transfer is effected.
No proper applications and routing of letters by applicants before transfers are effected for some officers”, he said.