NLC ex-chairman accuses Delta govt of nepotism in civil service recruitment

By Gabriel Elozino

A former Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in Delta, Comrade Mike Okeme, has accused the state government of conducting backyard recruitment for cronies. He specifically accused the Chairman of the State Civil Service Commission, Dame Patience Nkem Okuofu, of being the mastermind of the allege illegality.

Okeme who is also a former Special Adviser to both Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and his successor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa on Labour Matters, described the development as worrisome and called for immediate investigation.

According to former the Labour leader, who spoke to journalists in Asaba, the state capital, the purported recruitment into the civil service contravenes the guidelines of the civil service commission rules. He revealed that a lot of persons have been recruited into the civil service from the “backyard” which he said has never happened in the history of civil service in Nigeria neither in the state.

He explained that there are rules and regulations that guide the Civil Service Commission, adding that these rules are being jettisoned for people they regarded as first class citizens. He said, “This morning I invited you here because of what is happening in the state. There have been backyard entry into the civil service in the state, which has never happened in the history of Nigeria neither in Delta State.

“There are rules and regulations that guides the civil service commission. The chairman of the Civil Service Commission, one woman they call ‘Mama Government’ is the one ravaging the civil service, a nurse heading technocrats, which is not done anywhere in the country. They are passing through backyard.

“Uduaghan, a year to go, employed 1000 civil servants into the service, then they were given letters, they have worked for three months when this government ascended office and this government said they should be suspended. They were not even paid a dime. We made a case and they started reviewing them after two years and decided to absorb about 400 of them, 600 of them are still outside, some of them are in court today, and behind them you are recruiting from nowhere.

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“The civil service regulations says that before you conduct recruitment, you must do advert. Some of us came in through adverts, we saw the advert then in Benin and we applied and when you apply they shortlist you, you go for interview and maybe taken. Nowadays there is no interview, you are selected on the prerogative of somebody.

“I have never seen a Civil Service Commissioner moving from one ministry to another and they will be supporting k0ola, it is not done. The Civil Service Commission is the builder of ethics. It builds people’s intelligence and moral, but you tell them you are coming to their office tomorrow, that they must wage kola, this is a new dimension to it.

“Government must investigate how people are coming through backyard into the civil service whereas there are still 600 people employed by Uduaghan a year to his exit and were stopped because there was no money, they didn’t absorb them, and later when Labour made noise they took some of them. They are recruiting people now and people who were recruited eight years ago could not get their appointments ratified.

“The Okuofu of a woman is telling us that some of us are second class citizens. This government has only done public recruitment once since it came into office. So far they have recruited over 70 persons, and they have resumed work. If you go to the ministries you will see some new staff, ask them how they came into the service. I’m calling on you, journalists, to investigate it. The facts are there.”

When contacted to react to allegation, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, denied the allegations saying there is nothing of such going on in the Civil Service Commission.

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