Anxiety in Cross River as Ayade Orders Screening of Political Appointees


Bassey Inyang in Calabar
There is palpable fear among political appointees of the Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, following a directive from the governor that the public servants, numbering about three thousand should be screen with a view to establishing the authenticity of their appoints.

The fear is fuelled by speculation making the rounds in the state that Ayade was using the screening as a decoy to relief some of the public servants of their appointments over suspicion that they are loyalists of his political opponents.

THISDAY gathered that before the governor ordered that the screening be conducted, some of the political appointees had stopped receiving their salaries, fuelling speculations that their names may have been omitted from the nominal list of public servants in the state, for allegedly flaunting dual loyalty.

At the Government House in Calabar where the governor’s aides from the three senatorial districts of the state are being screened, some of them were seen discussing the issue in groups.
However, the chief press secretary to the governor, Mr. Christian Ita, dispelled the speculation that the screening was a prelude to the offloading of public servants perceived to be disloyal to the Ayade administration.

Ita said the governor didn’t need any screening to sack any of the appointees, saying the governor has the power to fire whoever he can fire.
“He who hires, has the powers to fire,” Ita said.
He pointed out that the essence of the screening was to establish those who were genuine appointees or public servants, especially in the face of the recent arrest of a “fake governor’s” aide.
Ita said there was nothing about the screening to suggest that it was designed to witch-hunt perceived political opponents.

Ita said the screening was also meant to ensuring that the state government maintains a clean payroll for public servants in its employ.
Asked if some of the public servant were parading fake employment, Ita said such possibility can not be ruled out.

A press release issued in calabar and signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Tina Banku Arbor, stated that the exercise which will be conducted in conjunction with the office of the Head of Service,  and that of the Accountant General will commence from September 26 2017 by 10a.m. with commissioners and special advisers,  September 27, 2017 – Senior Special Assistants, Personal Assistants and Community Relations Officers, September 28, 2017, will be the turn of Chairmen and members of boards, commissions and agencies, Directors General and heads of extra ministerial departments.
The announcement said that the venue for the exercise is the office of the Secretary to the State Government.