Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki
Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Dave Umahi, yesterday distributed 68 Hyundai Jeeps to members of his state Executive Council who were recently appointed.
The governor, who told members of his cabinet and other government officials in the state to make sacrifices for poor masses, noted that he’s still using the official vehicles used by his predecessor, Chief Martin Elechi, throughout his eight years.
Umahi currently has over 1,000 persons as aides. The aides include commissioners, Senior Special Assistants (SSAs), Special Assistants (SAs), Executive Assistants (EAs), Senior Technical Assistants (STAs), Technical Assistants (TAs) and other aides.
He said his administration must cut cost of governance to give attention to the teeming population that voted the government into power with the hope of improving citizens’ welfare.
Addressing the commissioners, permanent secretaries, SSAs, SAs and his other aides while distributing 68 Hyundai jeeps to members of the council who were appointed in his second term administration, Umahi said his administration would soon review workers’ salaries which he described as a must.
He said: “It’s quite very tight. We are going into review of workers’ salary which is must. It is a commitment. We also have a commitment to execute our various projects. So, sometimes without the grace of God it is difficult, because allocation is dwindling.
“These vehicles are partly 99.9% government and .01% personal. Your transport allowances are being paid inside consolidated salary. So, these vehicles are to enable you discharge your duties diligently. We are in the process of replacing the vehicles for the Development Centre Coordinators and of course the local government chairmen, but it’s not quite very easy. Early next year, hopefully, we should be able to have enough money to purchase more vehicles.
“I want to appeal to our leaders, let us make sacrifices because of those that elected us, because of those that are at home. There are people that cannot find one square meal to eat. So, it will not be good that we starve everybody. After all, the vehicle I am driving is that of Chief Elechi which he used for eight years.
“So, we have to make sacrifices. We have to find a way to cut the cost of governance. Sometimes I wonder why government appointees grumble. We have brand new vehicle for you and you are getting your salaries regularly and so on. Yet, you are grumbling. I think you are putting yourself in a very terrible
spiritual position. Do you want to be like these people in the village?”