According to a former United States of America President, Barack Obama in year 2010-“And you know the true sign of madness is if you do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. We’ve tried what they’re doing and it didn’t work. And we wouldn’t get a different result if we went back to it. So we’ve got to move forward, not back.” This citation is not to ridicule or tag the government of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as been mad but to give counsel on its traces that are relevant with this quote and no doubt, it is the staff screening and verification exercise.
While it is been praised by many technocrats and idealists who are well acquainted with the negative effects of a bloated civil service force, the realists whom I align with shall and will continue to discredit the staff screening and verification exercise for as long as it continues the same way it has been overtime. This way is among other things the modalities of operation which has indirectly claimed several lives, caused kidnapping, facilitated robbery attacks and several stranding of some people who live in comfortable homes.
The madness therefore is the fact that BVN numbers are not been used as a focal concept in the staff screening exercise. The sign of this madness is the fact that staff records of registry and the various local government director of personnel managements are not been used to ascertain staff legitimacy while the actual madness is the fact that affected staff must keep coming to Lokoja until they are cleared. No matter what good intension attached to the screening, events unfolding around it has made it crystal clear to say, “nothing good can or will come out of the Kogi state screening exercise again”.
While they are too numerous to mention, I must say the families of those who lost their lives in road accidents while traveling from far and near to Lokoja for the purpose of this exercise understands better. Mid last year, a bus conveying staff from Ankpa had accident and nobody survived, the memory is still very fresh on how the wife of a PDP leader from Dekina local government area lost her life in a motor accident on her return from screening during the last quarter of 2016. Most recent is the circulating death of one Mrs Olu Abraham from Mopamoro local government area.
The latter was reportedly kidnapped along Kabba-Obajana road on her way to Access bank Lokoja where she was to collect the statement of her account been part of the requirements of the screening. While I pray God to accept her soul it only berates the extent at which the endless exercise has cost several poor and innocent lives. This is aside the untold hardship the exercise has melted on kogites. Some homes hardly afford three square meals, most business activities has folded up due to poor patronage. Recall that kogi is a major civil servants state and nothing can move when the civil servants are not smiling.
At this juncture, I will like to conclude just the way I started as a way of advising governor Yahaya Bello by quoting from Bob Marley where he said-“the truth is everyone is going to hurt you, you just got to find the ones worth suffering for”. This is to say, no matter how hard you try, people will disappoint you but you need to itemize the order of your activities especially as a public servant.
Finally, there is neither contradiction or any doubt to say the staff screening exercise is an advise of technocrats and the backdrop thus far has shown the implications without much delay. So, you as the governor own yourself the choice of whether it should continue as advised by political technocrats or end in the interest of the suffering masses because alas, one of the two will be offended. Decide who to stand with before it is too late.
God Bless Kogi State.
– Comrade A. M. Nasir writes from Minna, Niger State
You can follow me on twitter via @amnasiru