· Civil Servants grumble over non-adherence to rules
The appointment of 11 new permanent secretaries by the Imo state governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma has elicited mixed reactions from civil servants in the state who expressed disappointment that despite non-adherence to civil service rules, procedure and guidelines in making the appointments, the governor who in July last year assured that appointment of permanent secretaries in the state will be based on passing relevant examinations did not keep his word, as some of the newly appointed permanent secretaries did not sit for any examination.
They also recalled that contrary to the governor’s assurance in July last year that any person who retires from service either on the ground of age or length of service, will go, to make room for others, as the era of recycling is gone, some retired civil servant are still in service, while some have been reappointed into higher positions.
Some senior civil servants who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity said, “despite the complaints and negative controversy that trailed the tenure of Mrs Mary Izuogu as Permanent Secretary, of Local Government Service Commission where she remained in office for 6 months after her official retirement date, she was appointed Chairman of the Commission.”
“Another case in point is that of the Auditor General for Local Government, Barr Osita Nwosu who retired years ago, amidst myriad of allegations but is still in office till date despite series of complaints by civil servans”.
They averred that, “it is illegal for a governor to unilaterally extend the tenure of any civil servant, as it is only the Civil Service Commission that has the power and authority to do so.
Even at that, the extension would only be on contract basis. In which case the person whose tenure is being extended would not retain the position he or she held prior to retirement.”
“For instance, if the person was a Director he would be contracted as a Deputy Director. But as it is now, the civil service commission in the state has not been constituted. The question is, who then extended Izuogu and Nwosu’s tenures?”
“There is also the case of Isaac Nnamdi Agwunobi, an Acting permanent secretary who hails from Oru West L.G.A who is still in service after retirement, among many others, whose continued stay in service has become questionable and raises concern.”
They also alleged that most of the newly appointed permanent secretaries were elevated without taking examinations. ‘For instance, Mrs Iheoma Anyiam who was a staff of the Imo state Water Corporation which is a parastatal did not transfer her service to the state civil service from where permanent secretaries are appointed. She came for the examination and was barred from writing because she was not qualified. But surprisingly, her name appeared on the list of those who passed the examination. We have it on good authority that there are some powerful people in the corridors of power who insisted on her being elevated despite all odds. Now, she has finally become a permanent secretary inspite of her obvious deficiencies.”
Some people who also pleaded anonymity said, “The governor, should, in line with his orchestrated zero tolerance for sharp practices and irregularities take a critical look at the records of the permanent secretaries appointed by former governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha at the twilight of his tenure and seaf the wheat from the chaff.
The appointment of some of them who were not yet Directors before being made permanent secretaries should be reversed while those who were appointed on merit should be retained.”
Nigeria Watchdog investigation reveals that the unjust, manipulated and jaundiced promotions and appointments in the civil service without recourse to rules, procedure and guidelines have further dampened the already depleted morale of civil servants who are already facing sever challenges arising from non or irregular payment of salaries and allowances, inexplicable deductions, nonpayment of pensions and gratuity which has made the thought of retirement a night-mare instead of a cherished climax of service of father land.