By Michael Olugbode
Borno Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum met six local government secretariats in the state barely locked up when he paid a surprise visit to them.
The State Government had two weeks ago, directed top government officials and senior civil servants to report to work after easing its lockdown to prevent spread of Coronavirus.
Senior officials at local government areas in Borno are allegedly notorious for abandoning their local government to operate in Maiduguri only to return there for few days when FAAC allocations were received, or when they knew the Governor was paying visit. This has been on for ages even before the lockdown for COVID-19 and threat of Boko Haram.
The governor, aware of antics of the officials, left Maiduguri with many on his entourage having no knowledge of where they were headed.
He directed to be driven to Chibok, Bama, Gwoza, Damboa, Konduga and Askira-Uba.
During his visit to the six councils, senior officials, including some secretaries who currently oversee affairs, were absent with secretariats mostly empty.
The governor who passed the night at Askira-Uba local government area, had the intention of monitoring the quality of governance at the grassroots and to assess ongoing projects.
Zulum, was able to take the clever officials by surprise because not even his security details thought he was travelling far from the state capital as the Ramadan was ending and the Sallah around the corner.
The governor, who was surprised at the lackadaisical attitude to work, said: “None of the heads of department is around, neither the Secretary nor the other principal officers are reporting to duty.
“Look at the Secretariat, termites all over, an indication that nobody is operating in the Secretariat. Government cannot allow this situation to continue. We came from Maiduguri to determine the presence of senior public servants at their places of work. We have been pleading with them for quite some time to be operating from these local government areas so that citizens will feel the impact of governance at the grassroots but from all indication, many are not listening. We will take punitive measures because we cannot allow this system to continue” Zulum said at one of the local government secretariats.
The governor, who was apparently miffed with the attitude, took roll call of absentee secretaries, heads of department, directors and other ranking officials.
Zulum did not however announce the punishment awaiting absentee staff.
The governor also took time out to inspect projects being carried out by the state government in some of the local government visited.