The Bayelsa government said the ongoing public service reforms has reduced its workforce from 55,000 to 27,000, thus fishing out and expunging 28,000 ghost workers from its payroll.
The Bayelsa Commissioner for Information, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, made this known in a statement on Saturday in Yenagoa.
Iworiso-Markson was reacting to criticism by the Bayelsa chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) to the job losses occasioned by the management of the reforms.
He berated APC for criticising the reforms, adding that the aim was to deal with payroll fraud and not to sack workers. It would be recalled that an APC member of the Bayelsa House of Assembly, representing Brass 1 Constituency, Mr. Israel Soni-Goli while receiving two members of the PDP led government noted that the government was not managing the reforms properly.
The Bayelsa Commissioner for Youth Development, Mr. Ibarakumo Otobo and Mr. Asari Mangeta, an aide to Gov. Seriake Dickson, had on Wednesday defected from the PDP to APC. According to Iworiso-Markson, the APC only made a failed attempt to discredit the well-intentioned and generally received by the public sector reforms in Bayelsa.
He said that media reports quoting the APC as having described the sack of 28,000 workers as regrettable only shows that the party and its followers are not abreast of developments in Bayelsa. He added that any politician attempting to attack the reforms and the removal of fictitious names from the payroll was an enemy of Bayelsa and her people.
The Commissioner described the commencement of the ongoing exercise to engage 1000 workers into the public service as a pointer to the benefits of the reforms. He further said that the recruitment was in addition to the huge financial reprieve from the removal of ghost names from the payroll.
He, however, challenged the APC to provide one qualified Bayelsa civil servant who was sacked as a result of the ongoing reforms to back its claim. “It is clear that the APC in the state is worried by the wide acceptance of the reforms by Bayelsans."
“When you are out against ingrained corruption, what do you expect? Corruption will fight back. This is a classic case of corruption drawing the daggers against the reforms in the name of APC in Bayelsa."
“Anybody faulting the holistic implementation of the reforms hates Bayelsa; anybody attempting to politicise the removal of fictitious names from the over-bloated payroll is an enemy of the unemployed Bayelsa youth."
“What this government has done is what other administrations failed to do because they considered political considerations above the interest and survival of our dear state. “Who are the 28,000 workers that have been sacked? Where were they sacked from?", he asked.
The commissioner added that the APC should be in a position to parade some of the supposedly sacked workers from the public service,. He said the fact was that a party built on a mound of lies would not stand, saying, this lie should be discountenanced as Bayelsa is not a ghost society.
“You do not sack ghost because there is no provision for them in the society of humans. Are they alleging the sacking of 28,000 ghosts workers," he said.