SHOCKER : How APC Gov Lavished Over 1.5 Billion - Senator Dino Melaye

Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Kogi State Governor
Senator Dino Melayi has accused Kogi state Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello of lavishing a shocking 1.5 billion naira on inclusive staff verification exercise.
In a statement signed by the outspoken APC Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial district, he accused Governor Bello who is also of the APC of financial recklessness.

The statement reads in full:
"It is no longer news that the punitive measures employed by the Kogi state government in facilitating its endless staff verification and auditing exercise  have exacerbated the state’s induced economic  conundrum and   sent some law abiding citizens to their early graves while some others have been subjected to robbery,  dehumanizing, kidnapping and rape but what is now news is the amount of tax pays’ money allegedly used in fostering the pain inflicting exercise  of the cruel confused Direction Team of Governor Yahaya Bello.

Investigations have shown that over 1.3 billion naira was callously lavished on the staff verification and auditing exercise while 270 million naira was used just o write the report of the exercise that obviously seemed to have died on arrival.
After assuming office on January 27, 2016, Governor Bello’s administration inaugurated a staff verification and auditing committee  on February 22, 2016,  aimed at curtailing leakages, sanitizing the state’s civil service and  weed ghost workers from the government’s pay rolls  but since then , more than three other committees headed by different people have been inaugurated to undertake the same responsibility given the manner the various committees saddled with the responsibility of fighting corruption in the civil service were on their own caught in the act they were paid to fight.

While Kogites first saw the frivolous exercise as a welcome development given the way it was first painted and pasted to the public,  but they were however taken aback   when the first committee headed by a retired army General, Paul Olushola Okuntimo could  not justify the confidence reposed in them.

According to reports, the Okuntimo Committee resorted to military high headedness and was glaringly coloured with allegations of indiscipline, fraud and inordinate mass sack , thereby making Labour and other concerned workers to demand for its sack.  The committee was later disbanded after a protracted public uproar and its chairman subsequently replaced by Dr. Jerry Agbaji, a candidate largely believed to be supported by the state’s chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress.

One wondered why it was still not clear to the Confused Direction Team and its master that, the screening exercise lacked the wherewithal to deliver its mandate but rather throwing in the towel and employed more people friendly and digital approaches, Governor Bello and his bamboozled team still went ahead to install another back up committee headed by the state’s Auditor General,  Alhaji Yusufu Okala to work from the backend simultaneously with the Agbaji’s committee.

However, when Agbaji’s report was submitted  on Wednesday  22nd June, 2016 the report was far below average as it was reported to be marred and doctored so as to please the wishes of a few corrupt individuals within Bello’s administration.

Following the allegation of the sharp
practice associated with Agbaji’s report,  12 members out of the total 29 members of the panel declined appending their signatures on the final reports and distanced themselves from whatever was the outcome.

This further led the government to disband the Agbaji’s panel and empowered the Okala’s back up panel to fully take charge of the verification exercise.

Okala’s committee swung into action without much ado and after a few weeks it gave a detailed presentation of its findings on a live broadcast  aired on Nigeria Television Authority  some times in July, 2016. It disclosed that out of the 88,973 people it screened at the State and local governments, 18,211 were discovered to be ghost workers and unintended beneficiaries, adding that the state will  enjoy  a monthly saving of 1.3 billion  from the exercise.

Another committee was also immediately set up by Governor Bello for the review of the final report whose lethargic style of work spanned almost through year 2016 while their feeding, hotel lodge, sitting allowances and even transport bills were footed from tax payers’ money.

As far as this staff verification and audit is concerned, there is no end to formulation and inauguration of Governor Bello’s amoebic and amorphous committees as he is allegedly bent on fighting vendetta and scoring voodoo political goals while subjecting the state’s workforce to begging, indebtedness and all form of in human treatments.

As at the time of writing this piece, another committee was also said to be in place and were still doing almost everything claimed to have been done by the previous committees, a clear indication that there is an unwavering confusion in the so-called New Direction camp and it is an empirical proof that   governor Bello and his handlers lack the 21st Century’s initiatives needed to upgrade the workforce and place it on a productive pedestal.

All over the world, it is a global standard that, staff verification and auditing exercise should be able to focus on policy formation aimed at improving on the welfare and services of the workforce through diligent implementation of the recommendations of the  said exercise provided it is being done according to standard.

While I abhor  the existence of the so called ghost workers system which have milked the state of its precious resources and made a few privileged people rich at the peril of the entire state, it is germane to note that, staff verification and auditing exercise should not only be narrowed down to  weeding ghost workers or even depriving genuine workers of their  rightful jobs, but should  be strong and potent enough to look into the spores in the civil service system, identifying the accurate number of man power needed as the state’s workforce and create room for employment where necessary as well as formulating sound policy for pensioners.

Bello’s staff verification and auditing exercise is in all standards and judgments politically motivated and was never meant to better the state’s fortunes so that, despite the directive of the state house of Assembly to suspend the exercise while asking member of the panel to appear before it, but for the reign of executive impunity, Governor Bello never gave a dime.

The exercise under reveal, has revealed Bello’s desperation to superglue himself to the golden seat in the Luggard House as the people he has been appointing  so far were believed to be his future machineries  to facilitate his evil bids come 2019.

Otherwise, how could a small state like Kogi undertake staff verification exercise for almost one and half year while the federal government and other states only used a few weeks to conclude the same exercise and have a perfect outcome? So long as the exercise continues, those who are feeding fat on it will continue to enjoy even though the people are crying. That is what you will get when some members of the committee always smile home with 100, 000k per sitting besides other benefits.

Governor Bello should explain to Kogites why Some persons especially from the core northern states were imported into the state and imposed on Kogites to embark on the exercise that have subjected the people to this hellish  situation. It is a known fact that, some individuals from northern states like  Zamfara ,Bauchi and core northern regions are actively  involved in the screening and they have been lodging  in Riverton hotel right from the inception of the screening exercise till date even at  the expense of Kogi state tax payers. while diverting the state’s resources.

This is when the genuine citizens are hungry and the genuine workers in the state have been denied of wages for over ten months but people from other states who were imported into the state are eating Queen’s food daily while bonafide Kogites are languishing in hunger despite the bailout funds which the government claimed it received . No doubt, Governor Bello is anti-people governor and has no single welfare policy for the people he claimed to lead.

Several people  have lost their lives as a result of suffering emanating from unpaid salaries while many died on transit for the endless screening some others suffered robbery with their original certificates confiscated and burnt. Some people have been kidnapped and in most cases,  kidnappers demanded for just for 20k.

Little wonders, the rate of kidnapping is ever increasing in the state to the point that, even commuters’ lives are no longer safe while commuting the state. About six commuters were kidnapped a few days ago in Okene while transiting from Onitsha to Abuja. Despite this, the Governor still have the effrontery to arrange for a national award as the best Governor in Security related matters.

Governor Bello should tell Kogites why crime rate has astronomically increased within his few months in the office because, since he does not have good policy on ground for job creation, he should stop sacking people and emptying them of their livelihood. When youth are left idle, evil and satanic ideology could easily be implanted into them.

Many professors of good standing lecturing at the state’s owned university including a former rector of Kogi Polytechnic, were falsely sacked by Bello’s screening panel and  declared ghost workers while some other staff totaling Over 623  of Kogi state university were declared ghost workers, making most qualified staff of the school to work their ways to other schools void of hostile working environment.

This is even when there is no governing Council in all higher institutions in the state since Bello assumed office which is contrary to the rule of NUC and NBTE. Over 200 workers of Kogi Poly were also declared as ghost workers. Under Bello, the confluence state has become the confluence of ghost workers.

It therefore behooves on the people of Kogi state to demand total end to this callous and endless staff screening and verification exercise especially the civil right movement should wake up to this challenge, and Kogites should ensure  reawakening of investigative journalism in the state  to enable Bello and his co-travelers know that, indeed sovereignty belongs to the people".

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