The Bayelsa State Government has said that it owes nobody any apologies for removing ghost names from the over-bloated payroll in the state.
The Government also stressed that the decision to flush out unqualified workers who came into the public service through dubious means should be commended by all well meaning citizens.
The State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson, stated this at the Oporoma headquarters of the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area during the grand finale of a grassroots sensitization programme on the state government public sector reforms on Monday.
Mr. Iworiso-Markson who described the various town hall meetings as a huge success, said the strong support expressed by the people would give government the needed impetus to drive the reform process to success.
He reiterated that no amount of blackmail would truncate the process, stressing that those crying foul over the reforms are people who were benefiting from the bastardized public service being rescued by the government through the reforms.
While reassuring genuine workers of improved welfare, he debunked rumours making the rounds that government would scrap the Rural Development Authorities (RDAs) established by previous administration.
His words, “There is no such plan. We have repeatedly assured our genuine workers that the reforms would not adversely affect any of them. But it’s a human system, so if any one of them is inadvertently affected in any way, he or she should approach the complaints desk.
“And I can assure you that the mistake will be rectified immediately. That is the directive from His Excellency, the Governor. But for those workers, who came into the service through the back door and those of them who used fake certificates, we have no apology for removing their names from the payroll because it’s the right thing to do.
“They have no business in the service. And it will surprise you to know that it is the people who have been defrauding the government over the years that are making the loudest noise.”
The Government’s Spokesman thanked the chiefs and people of Southern Ijaw for coming out in their numbers for the meeting and for the support they have been giving to the Governor Seriake Dickson-led administration right from its inception.
Fielding questions from the participants, Mr Iworiso-Markson, assured the people that government would give some preferential treatment to the area in terms of number slots in the ongoing recruitment of 1000 graduates in view of its size both in population and landmass.
In their separate remarks, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Konbowei Benson, and the Chief of Staff, Government House, Rt Hon Talford Ongolo, urged the people to reciprocate the love Governor Dickson has shown to the area by supporting the reforms.
According to them, the reforms would enable government to save more money to take care of workers welfare and push the ongoing Yenagoa-Oporoma- Angiama Road before leaving office.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Southern Ijaw, Mr Kia Ebidoughebofa Nigeria, commended the government for instituting the reforms, noting that the council saves about five million naira every month after payment of salaries.
Other stakeholders who endorsed the reforms were retired federal permanent Secretary, Amb. Bolade Igali, political appointees and lawmakers from the area as well as traditional rulers including the Ibenanawei of Bomo Kingdom, King Joshua Igbugburu.
The Chairman Bayelsa State Local Government Service Commission, Chief Adolphus Ofongo, Vice Chairman of Joint National Association of Persons With Disability in the area, Mr Preye Ebis and women representatives including Hon Ibiba Aye-Agele, Mrs Elisabeth Bidei and Mrs Rosaline Igunis also made submissions at the meeting.