Published On: Tue, Dec 15th, 2015

Why I removed Head of Service, by Oshiomhole

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State said he asked the immediate past Head of Service of the State, Mr. Jerry Obazele, to proceed on compulsory retirement over gross negligence tending towards fraud.

Speaking during the swearing in of the new Head of Service of the State, Mrs Gladys Osaretin Idahor at the Government House, Benin City, on Tuesday, Oshiomhole said, “I am a defender of jobs. I believe experience is a value to be celebrated, not to be punished. But I have had to arrive at the painful conclusion that Obazele had to be relieved of his services because not only did he fail to provide leadership, he also conducted himself in a way that would have led me to approve of a fraudulent claim for pensioners.

“He was appointed according to my judgment and I accept responsibility for my poor sense of judgment but I also have the courage to correct my mistakes once I discovered it was a mistake.

“The responsibility of a Head of Service is to be a superintendent over the civil service. There are many of our senior citizens who had retired from service from as far back as 1999, some even under the military and by the time I assumed office, many of these senior citizens had not received their gratuity for over a period of 12, 13 years. The situation was compounded by the thousands of workers that were retrenched by a former PDP government between 2000 and 2001 and all of those people were not paid their gratuity.

“There is no worst crime to a working man or woman than to deny him his deferred wage which we call gratuity which is meant to be paid at the point of disengagement so he can use the money to establish and face the rigors and reality of retirement.

“We tried to deal with this problem from inception. First, I gave a standing instruction to the Accountant General that pensioners must be paid exactly the same day as the current civil servants. It is not that we pay them if there is something left because at the end of the day, nothing will be left when you pay for every other thing. You must give priority accordingly.

“Two months ago, I called the Head of Service and I said I am looking forward to the end of my tenure. When I say I want to finish strong and finish well, it is not only in the area of physical infrastructure, but I also want to deal with the social sector. I want to look for money and pay a chunk of money to these pensioners so that we can reduce the waiting time.

“So I asked him, do you have the numbers and the cost and he said yes and I told him, let me have the documents. He produced a document which detailed the number of pensioners year-by-year and the amount required year by year.

“No more gratuity based on who you know, it is batch by batch depending on when you retired. So I saw from the records that Obazele gave me that we have paid up to 2010. We have paid many people who retired in 2010 and according to the document, we had 130 persons who retired in 2010 who have not been paid and we had some other persons in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

“These numbers were stated clearly and he also stated clearly to me, how much we required to pay for each year. For 2010, the figure was N175 million to settle the 130 persons. I said, okay, you let me have the names of these 130 persons for 2010 and the names of those who retired in 2011 through 2014 and the amount. The date of the retirement, the day of employment, the total number of years served which is the basis of calculating gratuity.

“One week passed, two weeks and by the 3rd week, I was watching news and I saw pensioners protesting but I had given instructions three weeks earlier that I want to pay these pensioners but I needed the details to do it.

“I told my secretary to call the Head of Service to submit all the details by 11a.m the next day since he already has the summary so we could start the process of payment. He should come also with the Pension Board members and all the documents that have to do with pension payments.

“At 11a.m, they were in my office and they gave me a voluminous document. Just looking at it straight, I tried to look at 2010. Whereas the first document that was given says 130 pensioners have gratuity pending, the total value of which was N175 million, the new document shows 2010 that we have 377 people and we now need N490 million to pay them. For 2011, 2012, 2013, all the figures had changed.

“So I said, I don’t know all the details but 2010, I remember asking you, and you said many have been paid and that only 130 is the number left. So how has this number increased by 300% to 377? Obazele you are an accountant, you have been auditor-general, you have been accountant-general, permanent secretary and now head of service. You more than me should be at home with figures, how do you explain this?

“The first thing he said was that, you know maybe they changed the mode of calculations. Maybe they are looking at when the papers were prepared rather than when people retired so I said, whatever formula you used, the number must remain the same. The total cost will not change. The only possibility of the numbers changing is if you have doctored the documents.

“In any case, the first document was given to me by you, prepared by ICT and this one you are giving me is also prepared by the same unit. Why should differences occur? If two people use different formula, I can understand. This is the same source and then he said, ‘oh, I didn’t actually look at the documents’. I said, you didn’t look at the documents you brought to me?

“The document, four persons signed: Accountant and DFA Pension Board signed, Secretary Pension Board signed, Director, ICT Software signed, Permanent Secretary, ICT signed, four signatories. Now, if I hadn’t remembered what they gave me before, seeing four signatories, I would have approved it and the numbers had changed radically.

“Now, the simple thing was that in the past, when they bring this document, I normally minute it to the ICT to crosscheck. So now, they got ICT person to sign so that I have no escape route but trust, there was an escape route and I could see through it. So I called the Director of SSS to send me security officers to the pensions board to retrieve all the files so we could prepare fresh documents that would form the basis to pay those pensioners.

“As a result, my hope and determination to pay those pensioners before my 7th year anniversary was dashed. You see, I had the will, I had looked for the money but somebody in the civil service compromised my intention by falsifying numbers. That is civil servants inhumanity to civil servants.

“We had to appoint a new audit firm and they have shown something that will shock you that in the Pensions Board, they prepared for 1 person, 2 pensions with 2 original documents. Same date of birth, same salary, everything same, but two original vouchers. So whereas the real man is old and dying, those that the government has put in place to prepare their pension are busy feasting on the lives of these senior citizens.

“We are disbanding the Pensions Board because they have lived on fraud. Now we are reviewing and re-organizing even the ICT, clean it up and ensure we have responsible and competent people with character to man it.

“I believe and I am determined that before Christmas, not later than next week, we will do everything possible to commence the process of paying many of these pensioners whose records have been cleaned up.

“This is the reason I had to take the painful decision of relieving the former Head of Service of his job and in searching for replacement. I know a lady who had managed, easily the most difficult ministry and under whom we have sanitized the Ministry of Education.

“So I believe that Mrs. Idahor possesses not just the qualification and experience but also the boldness and I know that the service will be in very good hands.”

The governor explained that his decision was taken to protect the interest of the pensioners and Edo taxpayers and does not have any ethnic or religious coloration.

In her response, the new Head of Service, Mrs. Gladys Idahor said, “I want to appreciate the Comrade Governor for finding me worthy of this elevation to the position of Head of Service.

“I want to assure you sir, that the trust and confidence you have reposed in me by this elevation will not be betrayed.

“I’m not unaware of the challenges facing the civil service but I want to believe they are not insurmountable. I promise, with God helping me, to re-orientate, reinvigorate and re-organise the public service for better performance realizing that the civil service is the engine room of the government.”



© 2015, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article.

Reactions from Facebook

comments and opinions

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • Modric defeats Ronaldo, Salah to emerge FIFA’s Footballer of the Year 2018

    Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric has been named the Best Men’s Player at The Best FIFA Football Awards on Monday evening, fighting off competition from fellow nominees Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah. The award caps off an incredible year for Modric, who won his fourth Champions League title with Real Madrid in May, […]

  • Nigerian bond market witnesses low demand

    A slowdown in client demand characterizes the bond market on Monday, unlike sentiments witnessed for the most part of last week. This is on the back of expected renewed supply at the bond auction on Wednesday, where the Debt Management Office (DMO) would raise a total of N90billion from the 2023, 2025 and 2028 maturities. […]

  • Oil price climbs to four-year high as Saudi, Russia turn Trump down

    Oil prices have hit a four-year high of over $81 a barrel after Saudi Arabia and Russia rejected calls by Donald Trump to increase production. Brent crude hit its highest level since November 2014 at $81.16 a barrel, up 3 per cent on the day. Saudi Arabia led the c oil cartel, while Russia is […]

  • Buhari releases N22bn to Nigerian Airways retirees

    The Federal Government has released N22.68 billion to settle part of the retirement benefits of former workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways. The government has also approved the release of N20 billion to revitalise public universities in line with demands of the Academic Staff of Universities (ASUU). Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, made the disclosure […]

  • MPC set for another policy freeze

    By FELIX OLOYEDE Despite the outcry for lower domestic interest rates, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is expected to leave the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 14 per cent as it responds to inflation jitters ahead of the 2019 general elections, say economists. The MPC meeting schedule to hold today, Monday 24th 2018 and Tuesday […]

  • Ambode fights for his political life

    By OBINNA EZUGWU It is no longer news; the political love affair in Lagos state is in trouble. For the first time since 1999, a sitting governor is facing a real challenge from his own party for the ticket. The indignity can only be imagined and its implications continue to reverberate across the state and […]

  • Adeosun: Betrayed by a dysfunctional system (Editorial)

    A fortnight ago, former Finance Minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, resigned her position following the report of an investigative panel into allegations of NYSC certificate forgery against her. The allegation had been earlier made by an online newspaper, Premium Times, and the nation was agog with speculations about it. Her resignation has been interpreted by most […]

  • High cost of Nomination Forms: A conspiracy against the youths

    From PETER OKORE, Umuahia Amidst the mixed feelings trailing the high cost of Nomination Forms for interested candidates to participate in the 2019 general elections, there is growing consensus for the electorate should go for credible candidates rather than political parties in order to achieve desired results. This is because since some political parties in the […]

  • Govt bottlenecks still inhibiting agric business– Farmfields CEO

    Mr. Zanau Hassan Maikasuwa is the CEO of Farmfields Agro-allied Services, an agro-allied consulting and supply firm located in Jalingo, Taraba State. He is an ardent agricultural expert and a strong believer of improving agricultural methods for an improved and more rewarding agricultural sector in Nigeria. In this interview with BLESSING PETER, he assessed the […]

  • China and Nigeria’s debt burden

    By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA Experts have raised the alarm over the continued foray of Chinese businesses and massive funds into Nigeria, saying it portend danger for the country. They argued that the nation risk falling into debt trap, joblessness, among other costs, as is being experienced by several Africans countries. Available data indicate that apart from the […]

  • New Banks fight for survival 

    By OKEY ONYENWEAKU A clutch of new financial institutions are beginning to slowly appear on Nigeria’s banking scene as the once fragile economy wriggles out of a recession that held sway between the middle of 2015 and the second quarter of 2017. The renewed institutional confidence in the economy (which has grown more recently at […]

  • Gov poll: Stalemate in Osun as APC, PDP live to fight another day

    The Independent National Electoral Commission on Sunday declared the Osun State governorship election inconclusive. The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ademola Adeleke, had polled 254,698 votes against that of the All Progressives Congress, Gboyega Oyetola, who polled 254,345 votes. However, due to irregularities which marred the election at some polling units in Ife North, […]

  • Ambode fights for his political life

    By OBINNA EZUGWU It is no longer news; the political love affair in Lagos state is in trouble. For the first time since 1999, a sitting governor is facing a real challenge from his own party for the ticket. The indignity can only be imagined and its implications continue to reverberate across the state and […]

  • Business Hallmark Cover Page for this week

    © 2018, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article. Reactions from Facebook comments and opinions

  • Customers fret over Skye Bank’s demise

    By Okey Onyenweaku There was subdued anxiety within the finance circles throughout the weekend over the collapse of Skye Bank plc. The sudden demise of the stricken lender, caught many industry stakeholders napping. However, usually reliable sources confirmed to Business Hallmark that the move had long been anticipated and was carefully managed to protect depositors […]

  • Cover

    © 2018, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article. Reactions from Facebook comments and opinions