A frontline politician and Chieftain of the All Progressives Change (APC) in Bayelsa State, Famous Danumiegha has called on Governor Henry Seriake Dickson to be bold enough to implement all the white papers on the various verification exercise conducted so far.
According to him, he conducted an independent investigation which clearly revealed that a sizeable number of the state’s workforce have no business drawing salaries from the coffers of the state government.
Danumiegha, a former governorship candidate of the defunct Congress of Progressive Change (CPC), observed that a number of them got into the public service with falsified documents like his 80 years old uncle, Hitler Okeh, who is currently working in the local government while there are also children on the payroll of the government which forms part of the monumental fraud in the system that has resulted in the huge wage bill of over N4.5billion.
“The various findings of the verification committee set up by government must be fully implemented if we truly want to save the state from imminent collapse.
“The issue is not about politics, we must all collectively tell ourselves the truth that very soon we may have no state to call our own given the stark economic reality confronting us as a people. The task of rescuing Bayelsa from total collapse must begin by all of us so I urge the government to fully implement all the verification exercise to address the issue of over bloated wage bill” he said.
He maintained that the state cannot survive with the current wage bill and stressed that even the best of government cannot survive under the present situation.
“Even if you bring President Barak Obama and Donald Trump to serve as governor of Bayelsa State under this kind of situation they will both fail woefully. We cannot afford to play politics with the salary issue and blame the current governor from now till thy kingdom come.
“There is nothing Governor Dickson can do unless we all collectively back him up to exercise the much needed political will to purge the public service by fully implementing all the verification exercise to weed the bad eggs out of the system.
Danumiegha pointed out that when the state was still collecting huge FAAC allocations, it was possible for government to pay salaries but with the reality on ground at the moment, where FAAC receipt is sometimes as low as N2b after all the deductions, it has become impossible to keep up with the monthly wage bill of N4.5 billion from a small state like Bayelsa with over 45,000 workforce excluding the local government areas.
The one time governorship aspirant added that currently, the local government councils have total salary indebtedness of over N18 billion with some local government owing as much as 14 month salaries.
“To think that, most of the workforce who are beneficiaries of this money have no business in the local government service, is disheartening. That’s why we must encourage government to weed them out. The political will that government needs resides with us the people so that we can save our state.
” The huge wage bill problem and the inability of the government to meet up with the salary obligation of its workers, especially at the local government level is self inflicted. Political leaders over the years who had the opportunity to occupy political offices took advantage of their privileged position to employ all manner of people and got their names inserted into the payroll as a form of patronage.
“Some of those employed are relations, cousins, children, grandparents and friends who sometimes don’t reside in the state. Some of them are in far flung places like Lagos, Abuja, Ghana, etc yet they are drawing salaries from the system.
“Governor Dickson should implement the white paper of all the commission of enquiries and verification exercise so that we can salvage the state from imminent collapse” he concluded.