Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, on Saturday expressed disatisfaction over what he described as neglect of the oil-bearing state by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government.
The governor noted that the state was poorly represented in all cadres of the federal civil service in the centre, especially in the selection of Permanent Secretaries for federal ministries.
Dickson called on Buhari to redress the trend which he described as “unfair and inequitable” to the people of the state.
The governor, who spoke at the Government House, Yenagoa, during a courtesy call by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, also challenged Buhari to expedite efforts on the completion of the ongoing federal secretariat project in the state.
According to him, available employment statistics reveal that Bayelsa ranks among few states that suffer under-representation in all cadres of the Federal civil service.
A case in point, the governor said, was that at present, Bayelsa State does not have any federal permanent secretary. Dickson therefore solicited the support of the HoS in the desire of the state to have a fair share in the distribution of employment and appointment slots.
According to him, “We will like you to give us listening ears as we make the case for a fair and equitable representation in all cadres of the public service of the federation. A case in point is the absence of a permanent secretary from Bayelsa State in the Federal Civil Service.
“As you are more aware than I am, since the retirement of Amb. (Dr) Godknows Igali, our state is now one of the few states that do not have representation at that level. I don’t believe it is deliberate. But, I will like to call your attention to that, because you are also a member of the Federal Executive Council,” Dickson said.
While congratulating Mrs Oyo-Ita on her appointment, Dickson expressed the readiness of the state government to partner her office in driving his administration’s policies on the welfare of public servants, particularly in the areas of housing and training.
He said the government had already acquired large expanses of land in some strategic areas of the state capital, Yenagoa and would collaborate with reputable development partners to build affordable residential houses for civil servants.
Speaking on the federal secretariat project, Governor Dickson stressed the need for the Federal Government to make necessary sacrifices in the face of the current economic hardship to ensure its completion.
He said the completion of the federal secretariat would free the state government from the extra burden of providing office accommodation for almost all the federal agencies domiciled in the state.
The Head of Service of the Federation, Oyo-Ita, who said that she was in Bayelsa State to attend the marriage of her son, expressed determination of government to effect a paradigm shift in documentation, and in the welfare of the civil servants.
She added that the areas of housing, training, regular payment of salaries and allowances as well as post-pension life were special areas of focus for the federal government.
“I want to leave behind a deep and lasting change in the culture of the service and the people operating it. I’m looking at developing a character change and a civil service that will act in line with the ethics of the service, efficient, productive, incorruptible and citizen-centred,” she noted.