Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State on Tuesday rejected the nomination of a serving Commissioner for public service award on the occasion of 2022 Public Service Day.
Theodore Igwegbe, the State Head of Service, announced the Commissioner and 32 others as nominees for awards.
This was for their sterling performances in the service of the state.
But Soludo said while the HoS could nominate civil servants who are under her direct control, it was not within her powers to nominate a commissioner who is in the same executive council with her.
He congratulated all the public servants in the state, including those nominated for awards, the 21 commissioners and all the managing directors of parastatals and agencies.
He said: “I congratulate the Commissioner for Lands.
“You know I am not a politician, I say it the way it is.
“I have told the HoS that it is not within her powers to begin to decide which Commissioner did well or not.
“No, it is not your remit to do that.
“You can have that for people who are under you.
“You cannot begin to tell me which Commissioner did what.
“They are your colleagues and you cannot set examination for your colleagues.
“It is wrong.
“That will create dysfunctionality within the government.
“They will soon start running to HoS looking for awards.
“It is not done.”
Soludo appreciated the public servants in Anambra State for voting for the All Progressives Grand Alliance in the 2021 governorship election and for their contributions towards the achievement of his “Solution Agenda” and successes so far.
He said his administration is focused on making Anambra State a prosperous and livable homeland with simultaneous attention to policy thrusts of Security, Law and Order, Economic Transformation, Social Agenda, Transformation Governance and Environment.
He announced the suspension of Christmas Rice to public workers in Anambra State as used to be under administration of Chief Willie Obiano and its replacement with monetary gift of N15,000 across board, including retirees.
He said the review was informed by the inflationary trend, which had increased the price of 25kg rice from about N8,000 to N21,000, as well as the need to make workers have options of what to buy according to their various needs.
Soludo also announced a salary increment of 10 per cent for workers in the state effective next year to cushion the effect of the general inflation, which is eroding the value of income.
He said Anambra State could no longer afford the loss of 20 per cent of its public life to sit-at-home which, he noted, is already becoming part of life in the South East.
He said his administration had successfully combated criminality, which held eight Local Government Areas of the state under siege at the time he was inaugurated in March this year.
He said: “Eight LGAs were totally taken over at the time we came.
“They said they were unknown gunmen.
“They are known gunmen born of women and from communities.
“Last week, one mad man living in Finland said he was declaring sit-at-home.
“It was only in Anambra that it was not observed.
“By the time you return next year, we shall stop sit-at-home.
“We must get back to work, working five days in a week.
“We must take back Anambra from the criminals.
“We cannot build a prosperous Anambra when we work four days, when our children go to school four days, that is a 20 per cent loss in productivity.”
The HoS called on Soludo to consider full implementation of the National Minimum Wage in the State and upward review of salaries to mitigate the economic realities of the day.
She urged the governor to approve and provide funds for the Civil Service Commission to conduct 2021 and 2022 promotion interviews in January 2023 and that of 2023 before 1st July, next year.
She decried the over politicisation of the public service in Anambra, excessive government interference and absence of performance measurement standards.
Igwegbe said: “As a routine, governments constantly interfere in the day to day running of the service through frequent changes of top officials and massive purges such that political factors rather than merit now plays a major role in the civil service.
“The politicisation has weakened the institutions of the civil service and created anomalies such as irregular and arbitrary appointments into the service, which leads to square pegs being forced into round holes.
“The absence of measurable objectives has led to a situation where the activities of civil servants are difficult to assess in a clear, consistent manner, this creates performance management problems.”