By Festus Ahon
ASABA—SUSPENDED workers of Delta State Government have told Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to take urgent steps to recall them, failing which they will mobilise against his second term bid in 2019 with their permanent voter cards, PVCs.
The employment of the 1,000 workers, who were engaged by immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan was suspended by Okowa in May 2015, a few days after he was sworn in.
Okowa had cited alleged irregularities in the recruitment exercise as reason for ordering the suspension and assured that the process would be reviewed by his administration to ascertain those deserving of employment.
Speaking in Asaba, the state capital, spokesman for the suspended workers, Mr Obukohwo Ighesiri, said paucity of funds prevented them from resorting to a legal battle against the state government.
He alleged that the governor, when confronted in 2015 during his electioneering campaign with the recruitment process, had promised that his administration would create more jobs rather than sack workers.
Ighesiri said: “To our greatest surprise, barely 24 hours after taking his oath of office, what he deemed most urgent was to disengage those that were already in service, including those of us newly employed that were playing significant roles in the state.
“It is pertinent to let the government know that those of us who were employed into the civil service by the previous government, and disengaged by Okowa have created a network across the three senatorial districts to fight back with the only weapon we have, which is our voter cards. We are holding on to our cards to vote out a government that turned deaf ears to her citizens’ outcry.”
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah said government never sacked workers, explaining that the suspension order was to enable government properly investigate the employment process, as well as a proper overhaul of the civil service.
Disclosing that about 422 people who still on government payroll are yet to clear themselves in the on going biometric exercise to ascertain the number of real civil servants, he said the biometric exercise was designed to overhaul the service and create vacancies where required.