Gov Okorocha’s ‘Greek Gift’

| December 26, 2012 | 0 Comments

Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha, last week came up with another bizarre policy in the state.  Addressing  the state’s civil servants at Owerri City School, Owerri, the governor who was elected on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) directed them to go on a two-week holiday starting from December 21, 2012, to January 7, 2013, to enable them celebrate Christmas and the new Year with their respective families. He enumerated several projects executed by his administration since he assumed office on May 29, 2011, arguing that the holiday was necessitated by the need for them to garner enough vigour to face the challenges of moving the state to greater heights in 2013.

Governor Okorocha had within the last 19 months, introduced some policies and programmes considered strange by several people within and beyond the state.  One of such policies is the introduction of the Community Government Council (CGC), administrative contraption unknown by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended).

According to the Imo state government, the community government will operate in all the communities in the state, and would be run by junior civil servants.  The implication is that the affected civil servants would leave the comfort of their homes in Owerri, the state capital, to live and work in the rural areas, some of them lacking in basic social amenities.

Several opposition political parties in the state, including the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have expressed reservations about  the success of the CGS, also known as the Fourth Tier System of Government, since unlike the local government council system, the constitution did not make provision for its mode of funding and staffing.  But the Okorocha administration appears determined to have its way.

 The governor also introduced a dress code for the state civil servants despite complaints by the workers that their salaries and allowances are inadequate to embark on such luxury.

The dissolution of the democratically elected local government councils in the state early in the life of the administration, and the concomitant litigations had portrayed the governor as one who enjoys using unconventional methods to achieve set political objectives.

And when  last week he asked Imo civil servants to embark on a two-week holiday to celebrate christmas and new year festivities, the governor introduced  yet another unconventional as well as outlandish policy unknown, not only in the state, but in the country.

 The consensus within opposition political parties in Imo is that such a policy is not only strange but retrogressive.  The state Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) Chief Vitalis Ajumbe, while describing the policy as strange, was quoted as saying that asking civil servants to stay at home for two weeks to celebrate christmas and new year would adversely affect the economy of the state.  In his opinion, only a visionless administration would make such a policy.

 Said Ajumbe:  “This is to show that this government has no vision. There is  nowhere in the world where the government declares two weeks christmas and new year holidays for civil servants.

“It simply means that huge revenue would be lost to the state; the government did not also consider those coming from abroad who may require the services of the civil servants. So, it shows that both the government and the civil service are idle”.

He may be correct to an extent. LEADERSHIP gathered that some officials of the Imo state government described some civil servants in the state as “idle”, when the administration conceived the idea of forming the controversial CGC.  The thinking of the government then was that the creation of the Fourth Tier Government would create room for such “idle” civil servants to be productive. 

The publicity secretary of the State PDP, Chief Byleden Amajirionwu, reportedly described the holiday as “reckless” and “irresponsible”, adding that the governor refused to consider the economic implications of his action.

He said:  “Governor Okorocha appears to be naïve about the economic implications of such holiday.  This action goes further to explain our stand that this administration is also disorganized and deceitful”.

However, but the government would not accept any of these criticisms as justified.  It believes that the civil servants have worked so hard in the passing year, and so deserve a bountiful rest.  In fact,  Governor Okorocha also announced the decision of his administration to pay each civil servant in the state the sum of N10,000, in addition to their December salaries and allowances, apparently to show  his appreciation for their hard work over the year that is about to end.

Governor Okorocha recently said that he embarked on those actions considered by the opposition political parties as “bizarre” because he was driven by a passion for the development of the state, and the love for his people. If he decides to run for a second term in office, he would inexorably include the declaration of a two-week Christmas and New Year holidays for civil servants in 2012, as one of his major achievements.

Nevertheless, in a telephone interview with LEADERSHIP, Barrister Eze Duru Iheoma, Imo state chairman of the PDP, described Okorocha’s action as illegal, adding that the party would challenge it in court, describing the action as unconstitutional, saying that no governor has the right to send workers on holiday.  The Federal Government had earlier declared a three-day national holiday for the celebration of both christmas and new year holidays, and according to Ogechi Ibe, a student in one of the tertiary institutions in the South-East, geo-political zone, President Goodluck Jonathan should ask Governor Okorocha to rescind the controversial holiday.  The leadership of the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA), in the state, has also asked the president to intervene in the matter.

Governor Okorocha fought series of battles with civil servants in the state over issues bordering on their welfare.  And according to one of the leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, in the state, “those issues have remained unresolved”.  Not a few see governor Okorocha’s declaration of an unusual two-weeks Christmas and New Year holiday as a way to pacify civil servants for the unexplained inconveniences he caused them.  Uchenna Udensi, an unemployed graduate, emphatically described it as a “Greek Gift’.


Culled from :Here

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