Ekiti State Commissioner for Information, Muyiwa Olumilua, tells ABIODUN NEJO in this interview that Fayemi is out to right the wrongs with controversial employment.
Former Governor Ayodele Fayose is insisting that the employment of the 2000 workers, who were sacked last week, followed due process. How do you react to this?
First and foremost, let me state categorically that Governor Kayode Fayemi did not sack any worker. You will wonder what I mean by that! You can only take away something that someone actually holds. These people did not have any appointment in the first place. They were not properly hired. Where did they do interview? As a matter of fact, they were not even captured on the biometrics payroll. There is nothing to show that they were employed, whether they were given letters or not. I don’t know whether you have seen the employment form that they paid N1000 for. The revenue from all the forms did not reflect anywhere in the government coffers. In the forms, one of the columns there has ID/PVC number. What has that got to do with employment? It was all a gimmick to sabotage the Fayemi government and as well attempt to load their cronies and people in the public service to wreak havoc. Let us look at the logic of it: A governor that said he had no money to pay the civil servants and owed them salaries for eight months, the same governor employed 2000 more! Does that make any sense?
Some people believe government’s action is vendetta just because the affected workers were employed by Fayose. How will you react to this?
There is nothing like vendetta in our action. What you will see is equity. In the State Executive Council resolution, you will find out that there are some workers whose appointments or otherwise we want to look at and consider them on a person-by-person basis. We want to check the veracity of their employment and vacancies available and re-absorb them. They include the 159 people employed during the first tenure of Fayemi but sacked by Fayose immediately he got into office and another 272 people employed by Fayose. That is equity if you look at it from any perspective. The 2000 are Ekiti State people just as the other people who heeded the advice of the incoming government at that time not to apply for any false employment. A lot of people stayed away because of that warning but some people went ahead. What we are doing now is to set everybody free, then recruit people afresh. Those 2000 people are not going to be excluded from applying for employment. It is going to be open to every Ekiti indigene. If you qualify and you meet all the requirements, then, you get employed.
Are there plans to give any form of consideration to the affected workers?
Nobody will have any undue advantage. Everybody is going to get equal opportunity to apply and participate.
Then, how will you compensate them for the period that they have worked without pay?
What work did they do? Even the governor that gave them fake employment did not pay them. How many of them have offices? If they were employed, into what positions were they employed? It was all a farce. It was only a booby trap for the incoming government. What we are trying to do is to correct this and throw employment open to everybody. The governor has instructed the Head of Service to put together all vacancies in the civil service. They should wait for the announcement of recruitment of new workers. Very soon, we will begin to fill the vacancies. What we are saying is that they can reapply. It is good to get jobs legitimately. This time, they will be proper civil servants, be on the biometric payroll and get their salaries and benefits. This is better than carrying around fake employment letters and feeling they are employed when they are not. I am sure thousands of people will be happy with the forthcoming recruitment.
Some are of the opinion that the Fayemi administration ought to simply regularise the appointments instead of easing them out.
Since it did not follow due process, to sweep it under the rug by regularising such is not right nor fair. What we are saying is – let us right this wrong; let us throw it open to everybody. Every bona fide indigene of Ekiti can apply for employment and get a job. When we are done with the audit of vacancies, then, anybody that is interested will be asked to apply. If they are still interested, they should apply and they will not be at a disadvantage in any way.
You are planning to recruit when inherited salary arrears have not been paid. You still have the burden of the N30,000 minimum wage. How logical is this?
What I can tell you about Governor Fayemi is that he fulfils his promises. If he says he is going to pay, he will pay. If he says he will pay N30,000 minimum wage, he is going to pay. Let us just count on his promises.