Gov. Adams Oshiomhole of Edo said on Monday that he retired a permanent secretary over what he described as alleged “irresponsible act”.
Oshiomhole justified the compulsory retirement of Mr Alhassan Ikloha, as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment , in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Peter Okhiria, in Benin.
The governor spoke at a meeting held with permanent secretaries in the state civil service at the Government House. He explained the retired officer contracted out the Museum Ground at Kings Square at a paltry sum.
“The retired Permanent Secretary gave out the Kings Square premises in the heart of the city to a multinational company to do business for 31 days at a ridiculous rate of N300,000 throughout the duration.” Oshiomhole described the action as “the height of irresponsibility.
“I have a duty and obligation to explain why we had to retire the permanent secretary and hope that this will guide you on how you manage your own ministries.
“We are all at the mercy of the Edo people and we would have our jobs secured to the extent that we are able to competently manage our various portfolios in a way our people get maximum benefit.
“While going round in Benin City you will agree that in spite of all investments we have made, the city has remained substantially unclean. “We have refuse in so many places, our walk ways have been taken over by all manners of persons.
“People are parking vehicles on the roads we have expanded thereby denying our people free flow of traffic. “I have even seen people converting highway to permanent garage where they sell vehicles and you find things like vehicle for sale as if we have expanded the road to serve as a permanent motor park.
“Public places like the Oba Ovonranwen Square has been turned to refuse dump and across the state the markets are unclean.
“And I have had series of meetings with the ministry to take their jobs a little more seriously,” he added. The governor said that he had prior to Christmas warned them to ensure that all the street lights were working perfectly.
“Because the government could not use tax payers money to erect street lights only to have them not working because someone is not doing what is suppose to be done.
“I do not believe we need to hire the services of a contractor to replace a bulb on a street light. I believe our civil servants have the competence to at least replace a bulb.
“I also do not believe that we need contractors to get a mechanic to fix a generator which is faulty. “I do not believe we need to hire a contractor to help us procure diesel to ensure generators are working in order to ensure that the street lights work.
“We have done everything we can to make the ministry take their jobs seriously, but I regret that in spite of this, most of the time we still have areas where street lights ought to be on.
“But they are not on because there are all kinds of things I consider excuses why street lights are not on.”
The governor, therefore, advised civil servants in the state to provide creative leadership in their various ministries. Oshiomhole enjoined them to reflect on the challenges of providing good governance in the state.
He noted that he had seen from records that most civil servants even had the best of degrees from high profile universities “better than you will find in the private sector, but the truth remains that the civil service is not working optimally.
“We cannot get good governance if the civil service is not ready to play its part and the civil service is the official memory of government and beyond the vagaries of politics the civil service ought to ensure policy stability.
“You are to ensure that government policies are executed, you are responsible for the formulation of agreements, MOU’s and to ensure they are also implemented.
Oshiomhole also informed the permanent secretaries that in the next few weeks they would be accounting officers of their ministries until the appointment of commissioners in February and ordered them to take their job seriously.
“In 2013 we cannot do things exactly the way we did them in 2012 or in the past, we must revisit our attitude to work and take the state as their own by doing their best to keep the state going.’’