By Jonathan Ugbal, Government House Correspondent
Cross River governor, Senator Benedict Ayade has directed that salaries for the month of January be paid on or before the end of the week in order to ensure workers send their children to school.
Ayade disclosed this when he paid an unscheduled visit to the state’s Land and Urban Development ministry headquarters in Calabar, this morning to ascertain the level of staff punctuality where he expressed dissatisfaction with the level of commitment from staff of the ministry, the Commissioner inclusive.
Reasoning that the workers will be broke by now due to the Yuletide expenditures, Ayade said “we paid so early in December and so you should be broke and out by now and this is the time you need money to send the children back to school”, adding that, “I am also concerned about your welfare and well being and that is why I am directing that the salaries for the month of January should be paid between now and Friday.”
He stressed the need for workers to be disciplined and imbibe an industrial culture to ensure his administration’s plans to revolutionize the state industrially, is effective with the citizenry benefiting, positing that it was time Cross Riverians act to correct the impression that the state is only about culture and tourism.
According to the governor “I go round the world to bring investors to come into our state to invest because over time, as a people who are known for culture and tourism, there is a wrong impression that all we do is to know how to do culture and tourism and so Cross River State has become a signature state for just tourism which is not the truth, we are a very hard working people so we have an industrial background. I believe that there can be an industrial harmony between tourism and industry.”
Frowning at the lackluster attitude of the civil servants, Ayade directed the gates of the ministry be shut upon his arrival and charged them to be industrious.
He said “my idea is to see how we can revolutionize the state and create industries, create opportunities for job expansion, provide opportunities for people to exhaust their great natural potentials and to achieve this, it can’t work if we have a civil service attitude.
“To prepare the people to be ready for the industrial emancipation that is coming soon, everybody must be industrially prepared to provide an industrial hand to support the investors that are coming in. With almost 150 staff you have less than 60 present at 8 O’clock, it is obvious that my efforts are not working. If it was, I expect to see that at least the head, the Commissioner himself should be here at this point.
“I have spent sleepless nights and you know what the state is going through, when I achieve all that and I come back and I see the workforce that I give my right hand to protect not giving the support that I need, I feel so saddened by what I have seen here.”
Ayade who hoped the scenario he encountered will improve had earlier announced the suspension of the Commissioner John Inyang, reverted his decision following pleas from staff of the Ministry.
He said “the statistics show that we are truly not prepared for the industrial revolution that I wish for this state. We cannot continue this way, for that I am going to order the immediate suspension of the Commissioner and he has to be suspended until he comes to explain (staff cut in saying “sorry sir”) you don’t need to do that, he has to be suspended because I have warned severally that I will not tolerate this (staff kneels and continuing saying “sorry sir”) no no no, you don’t need to do that, it is totally unacceptable for me to find this situation, he is the head and he is supposed to show example.
“Now you are begging for him, you should recognize the fact that this is how the system goes down, if I cannot sleep, he should not sleep, if the head is rotten, everybody is. In the philosophy of fraud and management, they will tell you the first thing is to fry the big fishes, let the big man go down first and then others will follow. Because I have not addressed you like this before and you pleaded, I will pardon him.”