The Inter-ethnic Network for Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, INCRA, a Pan-Rivers media group raises alarm over the rapid decay of the civil service  under the present PDP-led government in Rivers State. The civil service in Rivers State has in recent times, been bastardized and reduced to a mere attachment of the Rivers State Government and is chiefly at the mercy of the government.

Gov. Wike's repugnance for civil servants in Rivers State is unseen and leaves much to be desired. We cannot reckon with the fact that the State Secretariat Complex is in pitch darkness, without power supply and workers are compelled to walk up a 14-storey building to access their offices. This is the height of irresponsibility of any government. This rather pathetic situation has forced most workers, especially the aged ones, to abandon their offices as they are unable to access their offices without a lift and those who are able to find their way to their offices leave before 12noon due to poor working conditions. 

Almost Three years in office, Governor Wike has not been able to improve the Civil service structure he inherited from his predecessor and has refused to  employ workers to strengthen the workforce. Despite these anomalies and failures of the government to increase the workforce, it is still unable to pay workers their salaries promptly, rather, it is busy giving grants to private institutions and granting unsolicited aids to other State.

The Governor has effectively allowed his selfish political interests handicap the smooth and effective operations of the civil service. Tribalism, favoritism and nepotism are now major features of the civil service in Rivers State. Unqualified persons are appointed or promoted into offices they lack the wherewithal to run. The Governor's overbearance and interference in the activities of workers has instilled fear in them thereby making them unable to be objective and exercise good judgement on certain government policies referred to their offices.

Prior to the vicious imposition of the Wike-led government on Rivers State by political forces in 2015, Rivers State enjoyed a robust and effective civil service and civil servants were accorded the respect and attention they deserved. There was an efficient system of administration that was responsive to the needs of workers and ensured good working conditions, timely payment of salaries and incentives and periodic training for workers. Sadly, all the achievements of the previous government in the area of repositioning the civil service for optimal efficiency and productivity have gone down the drain following the emergence of the Wike-led government.

We are surprised at the silence of the Head of Service in the State, Barr. Rufus Godwin, even in the face of these debasing treatments meted out on workers under him by the Governor. In order not to offend the Governor and  secure his job, he has failed to initiate practical measures that will encourage workers and make them more efficient and responsive. He is unable to make necessary and adequate recommendations to the Government to ensure that the Civil Service is improved and made more effective in the discharge of its responsibilities.

The Civil Service is the machinery through which government formulates and implements its policies and programs in the interest of the public. It is the engine room of government and as such, its efficiency and productivity determines the success of any government. It is however, saddening that a vital organ as the Civil Service is grossly neglected and despised by the Wike-led government even against standard and acceptable practices. The Rivers State Civil Service is now a shadow of itself and civil servants are made to work under very deplorable conditions without, denied of the perquisites of the offices, overstretched due to limited staff strength and are uncertain of when they will receive salaries because the government considers payment of workers' salary a special favour.

We call on the Governor to take measures to repair the civil service immediately, ensure improved working conditions for workers and enforce prompt payment of salaries instead of subjecting workers to series of endless biometrics and using the payment of salaries as a political trump card. The Governor must desist forthwith from running the State as his personal enterprise and treat workers with respect.

Ubima, Rivers State.

February 20, 2018.