Chukwuma Soludo, the governor of Anambra State, promised to discontinue the state’s long-standing weekly sit-at-home habit on Wednesday.
Soludo, who spoke on the occasion of the 2022 Public Servants Day, described Simon Ekpa, the organiser of the last sit-at-home, as “a mad man in Finland.” He said it was only in Anambra that the order was not obeyed, adding that by next year, the trend will be completely abolished.
He claimed that Anambra could no longer afford to lose 20% of its public life to at-home activities, which he claimed is already a way of life in the South-East.
“Eight LGAs were totally taken over at the time we came, they said they were unknown gunmen, no, 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 can not 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,” he said.
The governor also rejected the nomination of a serving commissioner for the public service award during the occasion of the 2022 Public Servants Day.
The Anambra State Head of Service, Mrs Theodore Igwegbe, had during her speech, announced the commissioner for lands and 32 others as nominees for awards for their “sterling performances” in 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 dysfunction within the government, soon, they will start running to HoS looking for awards, it is not done.”
While appreciating the public servants in the state for voting the All Progressives Grand Alliance in the 2021 governorship election, Soludo said his administration is focused on making Anambra a prosperous and livable homeland.
He announced the suspension of Christmas rice to public servants in the state which used to be the case under the immediate past administration of Chief Willie Obiano.
He replaced Christmas rice with monetary gift of N15,000 across board, including for retirees, saying that the review was informed by the inflationary trend which had made the price of 25kg bag of rice to increase 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 for 10 per cent of workers in the state from next year to cushion the effect of the general inflation which is eroding the value of income.
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 pleaded with the governor to grant permission and allocate funding so that the Civil Service Commission may conduct interviews for promotions in 2021 and 2022 in January 2023 and in 2023 before July 1, 2023.
She criticized Anambra’s public service for being overly politicized, for excessive government meddling, and for lacking performance evaluation guidelines.