Billy Graham Abel Yola
The Adamawa State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Attahiru Tahir Shehu, dropped a bombshell on the preceding APC government in the state, alleging that under the Bindo administration jobs were sold to the highest bidder for two hundred thousand naira (N200,000) regardless of merit, competence or qualification.
Commenting on the new Fintiri-led PDP government, the party stalwart said its leadership is focused and has set up visitation panels to get to the root of shoddy practices that had prevailed in the state, and would guarantee probity in the process of recruitment of public sector workers and appointees.
Shehu made the remarks in an exclusive chat with the Sun Newspaper over the weekend.
Responding to talk that the state PDP was on a political witch hunt as a result of the setting up of visitation panels by the administration, the PDP Chairman said, “What we met on ground is appalling, because what we are looking into is a case where caution was thrown to the wind and due process abandoned in employment under the last government.
“Any serious government that needs to set its government on sound footing must set up these kinds of panels in order to obtain genuine information.
“All the then governor used to do was to grant waivers to some people, and that has diminished the powers and responsibilities of the Civil Service Commission to follow due process of employment; that was why we said any employment that has not followed the due process of the law would be scrutinized.
“They might not be sacked, but they would be screened to ensure that they followed the due process and are qualified for the office they were employed into.
“What used to happen under Bindo was that they just generate employment letters and hand it over to their agents at the cost of one hundred and fifty thousand naira and the agents would then auction it at the cost of two hundred to two hundred and fifty thousand naira,” the PDP Chairman explained.
He continued that: “To get employment then, you would have to part with about two hundred thousand naira and you would not undergo any verification either for credentials or merit.
“The PDP government is not that kind of government, and we are just sending a message that it is no longer business as usual for those who think employment could be merchandised.
“Our objective is to sanitise the system and minimise excesses in running government.
“Let me cite an example with the Adamawa State Polytechnic, where someone with a secondary school certificate has been employed as a lecturer. For goodness sake, how can such be allowed?
“The previous APC government in the state had employed someone with a NABTEB as a surgeon and he had been around killing people,” he revealed.
“In some instances, we are aware that management of some schools have employment syndicates who generate employment letters at the cost of one hundred thousand naira; they in turn give it out to some agents at one hundred and fifty thousand and the agents then auction it out to the highest bidder at the cost of two hundred thousand naira.
“The situation was that, if you have two hundred thousand naira, you will be given employment into any office regardless of your qualifications.
“In the College’ for Legal Studies, someone with an SSCE has been employed and posed as a lecturer to go and train prospective lawyers.
“Should we just turn a blind eye on this situation because some people are crying? No, we have to correct this blatant anomaly.
“The people of Adamawa should expect nothing less than standards from this government, and we are committed to keeping our promises and to giving equal opportunity to all without fear or favour.”
Responding claims that the PDP government in the state has ordered the retrenchment of some local government staff, he said, “The governor never gave such order, but rather it was deliberately twisted by some criminal elements in the state so that the people of Adamawa will not see through their track record of evil.
“First of all, the staff strength of the state civil service is about thirty five thousand and the statutory allocation to the state is slightly above two billion and the state government might need to borrow to pay the thirty five thousand people. The question is how can we make the rest of the about four million people in the state benefit from it?
“Normally, you would expect that staff strength would be decreasing due to retirement, deaths and transfers; but here it never does, it keeps going up.
“It is because of the issue of ghost workers.”
He went on to explain that, “The directive was for purging of ghost workers bumping the salary burden of local governments into millions of naira that have been diverted by the previous government.
“We challenge anyone who claimed they have been sacked to come forward with their genuine documents.
“Those crying are those who are masterminds and beneficiaries of the ghost workers fraud.
“What they used to do is that after the payment of salaries, the staff of the local government and cheiftaincy affairs, the local government service commision and those that are in charge of the local governments, connive over the inflated local government workers and, after payments have been made, those that are fake will bounce back to the bank and they would then raise a memo to retrieve the excesses and share it among themselves.
“That was what was operational in the last government; so when you hear anyone crying, they are beneficiaries of the fraud.”
Speaking on the state of security in the state the PDP Chairman said, “This government is committed to safeguarding the lives and property of the people of the state and that is why we are pushing for the passing of a stringent law to deal with criminal elements in the state.
“The law is tailored to punish kidnappers, among other criminal activities and … accessories before or after the fact.
“The governor has been having consistent meetings with all the security chiefs in the state and, in no distant time, the people of the state will be sleeping with their eyes closed,” he assured.
Explaining the policy thrust of his government he said, “Our government came in under the cloud of huge expectations because the previous government did not do anything to touch the life of the masses.
“We presented a candidate who has been tested and proven and has won the respect and admiration of the people when he acted as a governor for three months.
“He definitely delivered within the time he acted; so let me assure you that it is a government that has focus and one that keeps to its promises to the masses during campaigns,” he stated.
“From the inception of this political dispension in Adamawa, this is the only government that synergises with its political party, to work assiduously with a view to delivering their promises it made to the people at campaigns; this is the government that is conscious that is in covenant with the people of Adamawa State and that it is ready and working hard to keep all its campaign promises.”