By Kelvin Ololo and Marilyn Uyanah
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has said he cannot wait for 2023 to now out of office due to the pressure he is facing from the different systems that make up the State.
Mr. Ayade said this on Wednesday, while addressing hundreds of civil and public servants whose names, he ordered delisted from the payroll of the Cross River State government about 14 months ago where he said they should not expect arrears when the verification exercise is carried out.
The workers protested for four days last week and after meeting with Mr. Ayade, agreed to suspend their action for two weeks to allow for a verification exercise that will run from September 30 through October 9, 2020.
And, Mr. Ayade who said he is not a “normal governor” lamented that his aides will compromise the exercise and reiterated his claim that he did not approve any recruitment exercise.
“If by mistake God has brought you on the payroll, let us reach (an) agreement that condition number one, we will review the terms of employment, you will not get back to me to talk about arrears, as I have given you this opportunity you will rather see that more names will be added into the system even from my own people.
“So today we are standing here and I am saying let’s do verification because they are my people, they still have to get something but you have to have an open heart. And I was just telling them, by the time you do what you want to do now the next thing somebody will tell you pay me my arrears, pay me my arrears,” Ayade told journalists at the U. J Esuene Sports Stadium, venue of the exercise.
He mentioned two contradictory figures. Firstly, he said 2,000 and later said 2,500. However, CrossRiverWatch gathered that about 3,000 people were affected.
“In the name of God that I serve, I don’t know, I don’t know the day that this recruitment was done, nobody wrote to the governor. I earn an income that is less than the salary of this State. Today (Wednesday) is end of month and I still go to bed, I know no sleep looking for how I can pay September salary. Then without my knowledge an additional 2000 people unto the payroll without being told, I can’t believe this is happening, if I was a normal governor all those people involved in the recruitment process should be dismissed from the civil service.
“Meanwhile as you all know what I earn in a month cannot pay salaries, yet you have street light, yet you have water to be distributed, yet you have security challenges, armed robbery, banditry, kidnapping – one man have to deal with.
“On the same one person you are talking about roads, you are talking about industries, you are talking about factories from an income that is not equivalent to salary. Today, I have 2500 people to add onto the salary I cannot pay. I can’t wait for 2023 to come so that I can take a bow,” he lamented.
Also, he reiterated his position that hiss administration is focused on the people and not in planting of grasses or fixing potholes. He maintained that there was no benefit building gigantic projects when Cross Riverians go to bed hungry.
Furthermore, he averred that the choice before the sacked workers was simple, accept a new job offer now or insist on the payment of their arrears.
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