As part of ongoing efforts to properly reposition the Bayelsa State public service to achieve greater efficiency, Governor Seriake Dickson on Monday inaugurated 22 newly appointed permanent secretaries to fill existing vacancies in the state civil service.
Governor Dickson, who also swore in a new special adviser on Inter-Governmental Affairs, Mr Austin Adigio to replace Chief Rufus Abadi, who recently defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, used the opportunity to reconstitute the management boards of some state agencies.
The boards are the Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Board, Hospitals Management Board, Scholarships Board and the Post Primary Schools Board.
Speaking during the ceremony at the Banquet Hall of Government House in Yenagoa, Governor Dickson noted that, the new permanent secretaries were appointed strictly on merit and in recognition of their hardwork and contributions to the state public service over the years.
While congratulating them on their elevation, he described the selection process that threw them up as fair and competitive, stressing that, the appointments were devoid of political considerations, in line with his administration’s policy of depoliticising the service.
The Governor, who was also full of appreciation for civil servants and some of their past leaders, including Sir Fraser Okuoru and Dr Josephine Igodo, two former Heads o Service, for their innovative contributions, restated his commitment to prioritising workers’ welfare, especially in the area of payment of salaries and pension entitlements, despite the financial crisis rocking the state and the country in general.
Expressing concern over the issue of gratuity, he empathised with the affected retirees and called on them to be a little more patient with the government, noting that, but for the shortfall in revenues, his administration would have reduced the backlog it inherited to a significant level by now.
He however added: “But by next year, we will unfold a process by which we will begin to pay off the long accumulated gratuity payment, because that is a very serious problem that this government inherited. We are very concerned about that and I like to use this opportunity to call on those pensioners and members of the public service to bear with us.
“You are all aware that it was this government that started the N250million monthly instalment payment. But it was when the economy took a dive for the worst, that we couldn’t stopped. So that is a problem we acknowledge it exists. But we will work together to solve it.
Continuing, he charged the new permanent secretaries to work closely with their respective commissioners to promote professionalism and improved service delivery in the various ministries.
His words: “It is my expectation and prayer that our own civil service will also be reckoned with like the way people respect the public service in some older states. With what we have started in the professionalisation and depoliticisation of the public service since we came in, and building on what others have done, I believe that with time, the Bayelsa State public service will be one of the best in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That is my wish for you all.”
The new permanent secretaries who passed the promotion examination that was conducted by the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, ASCON, in June 2014 are Mr Ebikipa Ebikake, Mr John Egbe, Mr Felix Odubo, Dr (Mrs) Alice Atuwo-Andekebi, Dr Wisdom Sawyer, Lady Grace Fiepere and Mrs Atonye Pekene.
Others include Mr Igunu Hosea Ebifanyo, Dr Akpoku Inodu Nathaniel, Engr Moses Dika, Mr Amakiri Boumonyo Fredrick, Mr Luka Obiri, Mr Jackson Bidei, Engr Japhet Bank, Mr D.C. Ebiwari, Mr Godspower Atoko, Mr S.S. Burufegha and Mr Simon Adomokeme.
Also sworn in as permanent secretaries are Arc. Ere Efeke, Engr Bolouikie Kingdom Yeri, Mr Ovie-Izibe Victor and Mrs Ebiere Igodo-Adeh.
The Bayelsa State Physical Planning and Development Board has Engr Charles Dorgu as Chairman with Chief Iboro Ige-Idaba as its Executive Secretary while Tpl. Ezekiel Gunn, Arc. Stella Raine, Engr Ebi Wodu, Mrs Kenisuomein Walson, Ijebuode Agbaragu, Chief David Okolai Otietie and Surv. Gede Moses Doubeni are to serve as members.
Other members include Smart Ayama, Comrade Tengi Ebiegberi, John Famokuma, Arc. Ere Efeke, Surv. Clive Ezekiel, Tpl. Benson Diriyai, Ikierigha Lucky Jeremiah, Barr. Tamadu Abasi, Awudu Adike and Auditor Clinton Ikobho.