Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) staff and Peoples Democratic Institute (PDI) Staff Welfare Committee, Mr. Innocent Nwankwo, has questioned the reasons given for the planned reduction of the staff strength of the PDP over paucity of fund.
Nwankwo stated that a political party with 16 state governors and forty senators as well as 131 and 390 members of the House of Representatives and State Assembly members respectively would not be hard placed to maintain its workforce.
He declared that the “the fortunes of the party has not nosedived as reported because as at today the party can of boast of 15 governors, 44 senators, 131 House of Representatives and 390 State Assembly members”
He also stated that the total staff strength of both PDP and PDI is 96 in number, contrary to the earlier reported figure of 120 in number, adding that: “The monthly wage bill of Establishment Staff (PDP/PDI) put together is about N15 million, contrary to the earlier reported N65 million Naira per.”
He clarified that the PDI, which is the research arm of the PDP, has always been in the payroll of the party since its inception till date contrary to reports that it was merged thereby over blotting the staff strength of the party since 2016.
Nwankwo maintained that: “At the point of implementation of report when submitted, the affected staff will be paid their severance allowances as contained in the party’s Establishment Manual duly signed by the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.”
He also pointed out that the report of the committee set up to rationalize the workforce of the PDP has not been received and discussed by National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
The PDP leadership has been planning to reduce the staff strength of the since 2015. A circular issued by a former National Secretary of PDP, Prof. Wale Oladipo, in 2015 stated that apart from the reduction in the number of the staff on the payroll at the party’s headquarters, the salaries and allowances of those to be left behind would be cut by as much as 50 per cent.
He listed the decisions to include the “reduction of the allowance of all NWC members by 50 per cent and reduction in the number of security personnel attached to the national officers by 50 per cent.”
Other measures included the “reduction of the salaries and allowances of all staff (Establishment and Staff of NWC members) by 50 per cent, effective August, 2015.”
Oladipo added that “Establishment staff that would remain is required to obtain individual letter of re-validation from their state chapters within one month of this circular as to their suitability for service at the national secretariat.”
This position was revalidated by the present NWC when it met with workers of the party. At the meeting, the leadership of PDP told the workers of the planned reduction in staff strength.
It also told the workers that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is not more than 45 staff.
The PDP leadership told the staff that more people could be engaged as ad-hoc staff during electioneering era.