By John Danfulani, Ph.D
Gov. Nasir Ahmed El-rufa’i, the chief tenant of Sir Kashim Ibrahim House Kaduna,is a record setting/breaking persona. In simply terms,he is a trailblazer. You can’t find any state chief executive in Nigeria with his kind of record. Within his first year in office( 29th May 2015-29th May 2016) Mr.El-rufa’i has said the unthinkable and acted instinctively.
One of his wondrous records is multi-layered staff verification that commenced a few months after mounting the saddle on 29th May 2015. It’s on record that from 1999 to 2015, rumour of existence of “ghost workers” instigated his predecessors to screened salaries vouchers. His predecessors formed committees of civil servants and organized labour and performed previous exercises. Their exercises recorded resounding success and improved the situation.
After each round of verification salaries vouchers slides back to their blotted sizes. As a man who believes in his capacity to get to the root of all matters, Mr. El-rufa’i resolved to take-on this matter. He changed the known composition of the screening committee and handed the entire process to some consultants to professionally execute the scheme. The so-called experts invented assorted styles of verifications like; congregating all civil servants at the headquarters of the three senatorial zones, ordering them to identify themselves with voters cards or drivers licenses, and prove of marriage certificates or change of name documents. Workers complied with their directives.
In his first state broadcast in 2015, Mr. El-rufa’i gave a progress report of the exercise by stating they have saved over 120m Naira from the exercise. Sometimes in 2016,his government provided another report – which said they are saving 500m monthly from the exercise. After one of their reports, they promised that the exercise will end by May 2016. As I write, the exercise is ongoing with over 16 thousand workers to appear (once more)before his excellency to personally to clear themselves. The other meaning of this is, Mr. El-rufa’i will verify documents of over 16 thousand workers himself.
It’s only in Kaduna State and in Mr. El-rufa’i’s regime that a staff verification exercise has gone beyond 12 months. If it is true that the exercise will end with him personally verifying documents of staffers, it means “billions” sank in engaging the services of experts have failed. The question now is; who is to be held responsible for the waste of billions of the state’s resources and lives of workers loss in one of the verification centres in 2015? Where went the mantra of running a prudent and efficient government he promised in his inaugural speech of 29th May 2015?
Truth be told,the entire verification exercise is a farce and a grand strategy of illegally yanking off a sizable number of civil servants from the payrolls in other to be able to pay salaries. It’s on record that in some months, workers can see their names on the payroll and in subsequent months their names are missing.Such workers don’t have any problem, problems were intentionally created for them just to have some financial breathing space. Mr. El-rufa’i and inventors/handlers of this satanic verification scheme are so skillful to the level of knowing the number that must have problems each month. And once your name is missing, you are likely take three months to be told what to do or documents to supply to the committee. Most of the people facing this palaver are the Local Government workers and primary school teachers.
Mr. El-rufa’i’s government simply don’t have the financial muscles to pay salaries and perform its traditional schedule of safeguarding lives and property, let alone provide other social services contained in their 2015 campaign manifesto. Because Mr. El-rufa’i and his party said too much during the campaigns – not minding the dwindling global oil prices, they are in a huge mess and at the tip of a political cliff. All the dribbling through invention of excuses is a desperate attempt to avoid falling off the cliff. Why constant postponement of evil days that will surely come? Where is the wisdom of playing the proverbial ostrich in a porous terrain? And somebody wants me to believe they went to Harvard for training? No way!
Since they are men deficit of morality and courage to state the truth, they can’t openly tell Nigerians and their various states the true situation. In climes where the leadership is sensitive and guided by principles of openness and democracy, mandate givers are told in plain languages the quandaries facing them. And their input on the way-out sincerely solicited.
Mr. El-rufa’i’s maradonic dribbling got a smooth path because leaders of organized labour in Kaduna State compromised the interest of their workers. The only time they acted was when the imperial governor attempted making labour optional. Because of labour leader’s overt betrayal of workers, their members were tempted to take themselves out of labour unions because their leaders action that left them at the mercy of an autocrat who don’t value labour.Workers themselves contributed to their woes because they refused to invoke clauses that empowered them to pull the sanction trigger despite sensing betrayal by their supposed comrade leaders.
Some of us have no doubt that this multi-billion Naira staff verification exercise that has bastardized the spirit of labour will be cited as an achievement. However, they better know that people can’t be fooled all-through. Can somebody tell Mr. El-rufa’i that he can run but can’t hide from the verdict of history?