It is very glaring that when the outgoing Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam completely serves out his second term by May 29, the day the nation statute book too compels him to leave office, all eyes of sane people will believe that his two terms of eight years are a disastrous chapter in the life of the poor food basket state. But this is not the news now.
The news, however, is that the governor-elect, Dr Samuel Ortom has warned Suswam-led administration against last minute recruitments into the state civil service.
Ortom, while addressing party leaders at a stakeholders meeting in Makurdi recently at the Royal Choice Inn warned that any new recruitment carried out by the outgoing government after he was declared winner in the April 11 governorship polls will be reversed.
He reasoned that giving fresh appointments in the absence of unpaid salaries would amount to high insensitivity and will not be condoned.
This warning is coming on the heels of rumour making rounds that Gabriel Suswam has embarked on massive recruitment of over 6000 applicants for the state civil service.
This is even as the state governmnet owes public servants salaries of over six months and pensions that have accrued to over 11 months.
According to our source, Suswam is also believed to have connived with the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Omadachi Oklobia and the Chairman Benue Internal Revenue Service ( BIRS ), Mr. Gabriel Asen to fast forward the salaries of the already BIRS staff numbering about 2000, who have since been absorbed into the state service without pay to effect from February 2015.
This tactic by the governor is to plant a shaky start for the incoming administration.
The plan includes to absorb all the SURE – P staff who are over 3000 and also giving the Benue Investment and Property Company (BIPC), management an order to recruit over 700 staff under the guise of replacements which has already begun in various ministries.
The new staff who will resume duties by May, are said to have their appointments back dated several months to cover for some financial loop holes in the government where some appropriated funds cannot be accounted for, making it necessary for a sub head to be created for these monies to be expended.
This arrangement is not restricted to the state civil service alone as the Local Government Service Commission ( LGSC), has also gotten the mandate to employ an undisclosed number of staff.
It will be recalled that since the inception of Governor Suswam’s administration in 2007, there was an embargo placed on employment and any other recruitments, this even became stringent as there emerged a paucity of funds which led to months on non-payment of salaries.