By Ushang Ewa
Almost six weeks after the denial of the sack of the Managing Director of the Cross River State Water Board Limited, Mr. Godwin Igile, the Governor, Senator Ben Ayade has appointed the Executive Secretary of the State’s Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Stephen Odey as administrator of the state owned company.
This was contained in a sponsored statement from the board, obtained by CrossRiverWatch.
“Following the challenges confronting the Cross River State Water Board Ltd and irregular supply of water to Cross River State Residents, the Executive Chairman SUBEB, Dr. Stephen Odey has also been directed by Governor Ayade to act as the Administrator of the Board, to fashion out ways to restore stable water supply to the State,” read the statement titled: ‘SUBEB Boss Charges Staff Of Water Board On Effectiveness’
It said Mr. Odey had paid a surprise visit to the premises on Tuesday where he expressed his displeasure at the “lukewarm attitude” of the staff he met on ground and charged them to be effective to ensure effective water supply or face sack.
“On behalf of the governor, I am here today to express my disappointment over the happenings in this office, this is base on the fact that nothing is working in this place. In town if you tell anybody that you are working in Water Board, nobody will be interested in seeing you because you have failed us, from the Junior staff to the Management level all of you have failed us,” Odey said.
He continued: “I want to appeal to all of you that from tomorrow we are going to reorganise ourselves internally and see how things can work.
“Let us return the glory of water Board back, and it requires the support of everybody. If you come to work and sit down in this office without doing anything, and then you carry your bag or handbag and leave this place you should ask yourself what did I contribute to the development of Cross River State?”
Mr. Odey then let the cat out of the bag when he said that: “I didn’t want to be very conspicuous in this office, but I think from the instruction of his Excellency, we have to approach this office full blown so that things can work out.”
In February, rumors of a sack had filtered around town after the board had supplied colored water to residents and CrossRiverWatch released a video of Mr. Igile saying colored water did not mean it was not potable.
“I have not received any communication of being suspended. But, I know that we have been under audit and investigations and that is on the utilization of funds,” Mr. Igile told CrossRiverWatch at that time.
Mr. Odey on his part had said that: Igile has not been suspended and I am still the chairman of SUBEB not water board. I was only dispatched here by his excellency to work together with the MD to ensure that water board serves the people effectively. That’s the situation.”
The situation was a face off between the management and some 483 contract staff who were protesting non payment. Another protest held a few weeks later.
And, on Tuesday morning, Mr. Odey said that: “We are working tirelessly to see how we can address the issue of nonpayment of contract staff. I am very passionate about addressing their issues and definitely as soon as the governor comes back money will be approved for payment of contract staff.
“Lets us try and revive this Board so that Cross Riverians will be happy, whether I am here or not, let us ensure that the basic reason why this office exists is readily available.
“If there is no water flowing in Cross River State, then all of us have failed, so in your own little contribution after this meeting go and ask yourself what can I do to bring back constant water supply in this state. Anybody that fails to work and is discovered will face disciplinary action.”
Only 90 out of the 247 staff were present when he visited. And, Mr. Odey cautioned against lateness to work and charged them to report saboteurs to desist them from vandalising reticulation pipes.
“Let me warn, what you are seeing today is what i do often, sometimes i can come here even 7:30am to lock up this place and if you are given a query, it will go into your file, which is not good for you. Take pride in this job you are doing, because people are always watching you and tomorrow if you show seriousness you may be recommended for something else. Be a straight person and stand by the truth at all times,” he said.
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