By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, yesterday, dissociated his administration from state governments that have adopted the policy of “no voters’ card no salary.”
Fashola, who described the policy as an infringement on the rights of the workers, stressed that no one has the right to seize the salary of another for failure to observe one’s civic obligation.
He said, “such action violates the constitutional rights of the victim.”
Meanwhile, following the directive by the state Market Board for all markets to be shut, yesterday, to enable members go out and register, residents were left frustrated as all the major markets in the state were shut.
The Governor while, fielding questions from State House Correspondents on the ongoing voters’ registration exercise, pointed out that every workers are entitled to his or her salary at the end of the month, emphasising that the salary was a legal contract which ought to be respected.
He said, “Let us make a judgment call here on whether one person can withhold salary for work done because another person had not done his civic responsibility.”
One is a civic responsibility and the order is a legal obligation based on contract of employment. The only thing I can say here is that one must pause to read between the lines to read the intention. And the intention is all about participation from the general public and not witch-hunting”.
On the issue of some civil servants who have not exercised their civic right due to the late arrival of INEC equipments to their areas, the governor revealed that the State Head of Service (HOS) has been directed to inform heads of departments to enable staff who have not registered to do so, either by allowing them come late or letting them close early to register in the evening”.
Reacting to the statement credited to Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC that about 5.2million eligible voters have been registered in Lagos, Fashola described the figure as being speculative; adding the exact figure would only be arrived only when the exercise closes.
On why the state had not declared public holiday for public servants to register, he said the two weeks lost by students in primary and secondary schools was likely to cause a telling effect on the school curricular, adding that an extra day might add to the consequences.
Fashola added that the state Head of Service (HOS) has been directed to inform heads of departments to enable staff who have not registered to do so, “either by allowing them come late or letting them close early to register in the evening”.
He said, “Yes we have thought about the question of work free day but it is really a hard decision at this time one must be extremely sensitive to the long time effect of the two weeks that the FG decision have on the performance of the student because at the end of every year WAEC exam, we complained over the performance of the student.
So if the students have lost two weeks of their curriculum, we are already putting in place a programme to bridge the gap created by this two week extension. To do an extension classes to help them especially in those critical subject that they needed to pass to gain admission into tertiary institution.
“The students are just coming from a two weeks holiday, how do you declare a work free day on Friday again and they lose yet another day and you cannot isolate one section of the public service for this exercise”.