AUSTIN OYIBODE, EDITOR
Delta state head of service, Reginald Bayoko, has said that the governor of Delta state, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has no slot in the ongoing teachers’ recruitment by the Delta state government.
Rather, he said anybody who successfully scaled through the process at the end of the exercise got the employment strictly on merit. He made this clarification during an interview with journalists in his office.
Emerldng.com understands that there have been rumours milling around that the employment of 1000 teachers to boost the state teaching service has been shared to politicians, senior government officials and members of the state house of assembly, this has been the rumour among the low class people in the state.
Unconfirmed report has it that some persons who are not in government were given slots for the teachers recruitment making the computer based interview, as it were, a mere formality or a show to the public that the recruitment process passed through the necessary procedure.
But in the interview, the state head of service painstakingly dispelled the assumption, arguing that even the governor of the state was helpless as he could not inject himself into the process, declaring that whoever emerged out of the over 50,000 applicants that applied merited the employment. He said the online application and the computer based test assisted in reducing physical interaction with the applicants.
He said: “That is what we are saying, people have different mindset. They are seeing the reality on ground but they are saying the other side. This is because of the level of skepticism they hold. As I’m even telling you now, the governor does not even have a slot.
“I was in a meeting where the issue was raised and the consensus was that the employment should be merit driven. You find that the recruitment was computerized, application was online, there was no interaction with anybody. There was a computer based test as well.
“This was to reduce the level of interaction. The score was almost instantaneous. So, you knew whether you scaled through or not. There was no form of influence or whatever. A number of persons came to me but I was helpless.
“I told them that is the process and there is nothing I could do about it. Even the governor himself could not inject himself into the process. So, it’s not true that any slot was shared.”
This online newspaper also reports that the 3000 persons who were recruited into the state civil service by former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan before his tenure elapsed in 2015 were sacked by the incumbent governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa on assumption of office in 2015.
But prior to the 2019 general elections, Governor Okowa called for the absorption of the sacked workers, thereby setting up a committee to review the process and report to him.
In the interview, Bayoko said the process was almost completed. He noted that the committee has submitted the report and he was in the final stage of submitting the report to the governor for final assent and announcement of absorption of the suspended workers.
“I just finished reviewing the report of the committee set up to review that exercise. I’m finalizing the report for delivery to the governor. From there, with the speed the governor treats matters, we don’t expect that anything regarding that exercise will exceed more than a week or two,” Bayoko said.
When asked whether there were plans to recruit more civil servants in the new administration, Bayoko said the absorption of those suspended workers is employment but added that before any recruitment is done, there is need to consider the impact considering the new minimum wage that has been put in place by the federal government.
The head of service said as at the last count, the state public service which includes the mainstream civil servants, the teaching service, hospital service and all the parastatals is in the region of 51,000 personnel, adding that with the biometric exercise embarked upon by the state, the issue of ghost workers has been phased out of the service.
He said the verification exercise was a big success for the state as it has shaken up the state data base thereby digitizing the workforce through Herkabella, noting that there will not be a second process but that as people are employed, their data are fed into the system.
According to him, the process has removed many from the state payroll who, prior to the exercise, were fraudulently receiving salaries but not staff of the Delta state government.
He said: “I might not be able to give you figures but there is been a number of persons who have had to exit the service because of the regularization of their records of service. You will discover that there were a number of persons who did not actually declare their actual age, so the exercise threw up their real ages.
“There were also some too, when they assumed duty, you will have heard of instances where people go to change their records in order to prolong their stay in service. That exercise has, to a large extent, rebalanced the system.
“For those who, perhaps, would have stayed longer, many of them have exited the service. There were some pockets of cases of staff who, apparently, were in the payroll but do not come to work because some of them were in overseas while others have some other engagements. Because they needed to come in to prove that they are around, we also threw them out. So, the issue of ghost workers has been arrested.”