… As Board Chairman warns staff against truancy, indiscipline
The Transition Committee Chairman of Orumba North Local Government Area, Hon. Sir Ogo Ekwueme recently played host to the Chairman and members of the Anambra State Local Government Commission Board who were on a familiarization visit to the local government.
In his welcome speech, Ekwueme who informed the Board members that the local government boosts of 212 staff out of which 171 are women, expressed happiness over the visit adding that the visit would afford the Council the opportunity to interact with the Board of the Commission.
Addressing the staff of the local government who trooped out en masse to receive them, the Chairman of the Board, Barr. Vin Ifeanyi Ezeaka explained that they were at the local government to see their environment, familiarize themselves with the staff and also to let them know what they were employed to do.
According to him, “We are here to see you, to see how we can restore the system to what it used to be. I am sure your TC Chairman will tell you that our Governor, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo has told the TC Chairmen and the Commission members that our duty is to make sure that we restore the local government system to what it used to be and then make it better and to make it better is to digitalize it because we are now in the digital age. So, please, we brought a message, that message is simple, that you will all sit up to be able to fit into the new system.”
Barr. Ezeaka warned that henceforth, the Commission would be holding all the Heads of Departments, HODs and all the Heads of Local Government Administrations, HLGAs accountable for lateness and absenteeism on the part of the workers insisting that “if they come early themselves and punish you appropriately for not coming early or for not coming at all, you will sit up.”
“So, HLGA, effective today, as we are leaving, we will be monitoring you and the HODs. We are going to approve, with governor’s approval, what is called electronic attendance register. When we come for the biometrics and for physical capturing of the people and their data, any Head of Department that has a ghost worker, a dead worker or a worker who had his or her age multiplied, we will hold that Head of Department responsible for that action because that is collusion.
On financial impropriety, the Commission boss said, “The appointed TC Chairmen find it difficult to make you people do the right thing. We are begging you to do the right thing. Governor Soludo has said that every revenue accruing to the local government will be paid into the Council’s account.
“Staff Claim is not for sharing, it is an account head that comes from JAAC to you. What it means is that if any staff incurs any expenditure, he brings it for approval and the Chairman approves and minutes it down to HLGA who will pay the person. It is not that you share it among the staff, it’s not a bonus. The name claims means you have spent something and you need to claim it back. So, we are preaching that this same thing should go from the local government system.
On what the State Government is doing to better the lots of the local government workers in the state, Barr. Ezeaka said, “We have already asked the governor to increase the imprest for all HODs. We have also written that that the local government staff salaries will be harmonized with that of the civil servants in the Ministries. We also know you don’t have junior workers, some of you are on Levels 14 and 15 and you are still doing cashier work, cleaning your offices, we want to stop all those things but we need your cooperation so that when we are talking to Mr. Governor, we will tell him that the system has changed.
“We have set up a committee, in every local government, there will be award for the best local government staff. From January, we will set our target to identify who the best staff is in each of the local government and it will be a ceremony”, he stated.
Speaking on behalf of the workers in the local government, the Head of Works Department, Mr. Cosmos Nwafor observed that while not trying to defend the workers, “I want to assure you that the local government workers are dutiful and there’s never any government that came to power that we have not supported and we promise you that we will support you.”
He urged the Board of the Commission to give the local government workers in the state its policy direction so that they would be guided by it in all our dealings insisting that what was killing the local government system in Anambra State was absence of an enduring system. “But you have assured us that a system will be put in place”, he added.
Photo: Hon. Sir Ogo Ekwueme, Transition Committee Chairman, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
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