Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, wednesday, paid a surprise visit to Egor Local Government Council by 8:20am, where he ordered the suspended senior officials of the council including the Head of Service, Mrs. Racheal Oriefo for coming late to work.
Governor Obaseki who arrived the secretariat at about 8.05am and met few workers at their duty post also ordered the gate to be locked immediately even as the workers made effort to call the senior officials about the governorâ€™s presence.
Of 599 staff members at Egor, only 36 were on ground 20 minutes after the official resumption time, leading to the suspension of the Head of Administration, Mrs. Rachael Iriefo, even as the governor recalled that Egor was the most indebted Local Government in the last administration.
He said: â€œYou see, they do not come to work, but at the end of the month, their bill is almost N50m for salaries, outside of teachers. No senior person is here, no Head of Service; so how can they manage the Local Government?â€
He also lamented that the council got N47m, yet their Union leaders would protest that the government had abandoned its obligations, adding that although the state did not owe LGs, it had to use other monies to make up for their deficits.
Governor Obaseki continued that everyone in the state had to buckle up to develop the state and that the Local Government must not be allowed to collapse.
He declared that if they failed to generate enough money to pay salaries, then he would get managers to do the job, berating them for their dilapidated transport system in spite of the fact that they received N107m from their last windfall.
On the purpose of the visit, he disclosed that while at the Joint Allocation Committee meeting JAAC, yesterday, it came to his notice that the amount available after deductions and after IGR for this month was less than N1m, meanwhile, salary bill gulped about N50m monthly.
He therefore, visited the LG to conduct on-the-spot assessment because the solution to the problem could only come from the workers and the only way he could help them was by getting them sound leadership to make the LG viable.
â€œWe give this Local Government 3 months to become viable. They have to do everything they need to do to reduce cost and increase revenue. Walking round your premises, I am shocked that this is what your offices look like. It is so filthy and I wonder how you keep your LGA clean if you cannot keep your own premises clean. All your senior officers are not at work, so if your leadership is as irresponsible as displayed now, how are we going to get the leadership to run this Local Government?â€ he said.
Former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Lucky Imasuen, who was also present at the LG, agreed that the LG workers had to justify their income, saying that only a radical approach could put them in their place.
Similarly last week, Obaseki also paid unscheduled visit to Owan East local council secretariat and did not meet senior officials of the council on duty.
Obaseki was visibly annoyed about the unkempt secretariat and the workers attitude to work.