By Ike Uchechukwu
CALABAR —No fewer than 100 political appointees of Cross River Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade are presently stranded in Calabar, the state capital over the non-payment of their salaries.
The aides numbering about 350 are among the last set of appointees engaged by the governor last December and in February this year as part of his plans to expand his government and bring on board more youths.
The latest batch of aides, who joined thousands of aides already in the employ of the state government, had completed their documentation with the office of the Secretary to the State Government, but have been waiting in vain for office accommodation and allowances as well as salaries.
It will be recalled that last December, Ayade announced the appointment of 120 aides and then followed it up in February with additional 250 appointees, totaling 370. Ayade has over 5, 000 political appointees in his employ.
When contacted for reaction, the Secretary to the State Government declined comment alongside some senior government officials who were also contacted.
One of the aides, who pleaded anonymity for fear of being victimised, said the experience has been harrowing and the excitement that accompanied the offer of employment was increasingly fading away.
His words: “I came all the way from Ogoja to do my documentation and the process took me over six weeks to complete. I have nowhere to stay in Calabar and each time I came, I squat with a friend who was kind enough to offer me a space in his single room.
“When our names were finally confirmed as S.As, I thought my problems were over only to realise that after three months, there is no accommodation for us, no office space and no salary.”
In fact, there is no communication whatsoever from our employers which is the government and right now, we are just roaming the streets of the capital and waiting to hear from the government,” he said.
Another newly appointed S.A, who simply gave his name as Odey, said he does not understand why there was disparity among the employees of government as the government seems to take the welfare of the recently recruited aides with levity.
Odey said: “After going through a rigorous documentation process, we felt that we will quickly settle down to our duties but to our greatest dismay, about three months after our recruitment, the government seems to have forgotten that we were recruited.
“Whereas some of the aides of the government are treated as first-class aides, have some sort of office accommodation and are regularly paid, a greater majority of us particularly the latest set of aides has very sad stories to tell as far as welfare is concerned.”