The ASCON Angle to Kogi State Civil Service Reforms: Workers' Screening in Focus

Recently, two outstanding students of The University of Lagos, (UNILAG), Miss Taiwo Bankole and Oyindamole Omotuyi, graduated with distinctions of exact cumulative gross point average, (CGPA), of 5.0. According to unnumbered reactions to this rare occurrence in Nigerian institutions, netizens are of the opinion that it was practically impossible.

However, defending the students, The Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor, Rahamon Bello, was quoted by Vanguard news of January 26th, 2017 as saying “We don’t manipulate scores as what you score is what you’re given and that is what will be recorded for you. Since the results are published electronically, the human management has been removed from it. If after marking and calculation, you scored first class, so be it. It is the energy you put into your work that will reflect in your results”. To a plausible end, by interpretation, the system became more credible due to deployment of electronic computerization technology which eliminated human error/ manipulation.

The above scenario is symmetrical with the Kogi State civil service screening exercise which truly have extended beyond its projected time-frame with a report marked by lapses and punctuated by inconsistencies occasioned by human management.

As a proactive and listening governor who has intense penchant for rationalizing the interest of Kogites, Governor Yahaya Bello decided to subject the screening report to further scrutiny. Consequently, His Excellency on Monday, 23rd January, 2017 inaugurated a Complaints Appeal Committee which introduced a professional body, the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) to correct the irregularities of previous screening(s) which may have been marred by human management.

In all honesty to the courageous governor, Civil Service Reforms pose as the most sensitive area to thread in the Nigerian socio-political terrain due to the saturation of ghost-workers positioned by unscrupulous elements to milk state government of funds that could have been utilized for itinerary social and infrastructural developmental projects.

It is on record that the governor has not sat to screen Kogi State Civil servants on a one-one basis, but appointed competent hands, utilizing other civil servants to spearhead the screening process, consequently, human management error constitutes the chief reason for the protracted screening which would be brought to a resolving and conclusive end in March, 2017.

ASCON as a professional body has deployed critical professional control measures to improve the process. With the deployment of standard electronic verification machines to vet certificates and other documents, the process has been holistic and professional with Government Screening Unit, ASCON, Civil Society members, Labour Unions, NGOs, Pressmen, Civil servants and other groups relevant to the Appeal Screening Committee showing satisfaction to the overall process of the screening.

In the final analysis, as reiterated by His Excellency, no genuine worker will be owed a dime by his administration. Moreover, the government will consider the plight of members of the academia who are currently on sabbatical and studying abroad provided they have approval. The governor has directed the Head of Service to provide them the bio data form required for their screening whenever they come around.

Members of the general public should understand that the governor has taken drastic measures to bring succour to civil servants, weed out ghost workers, break Kogi loose from the shackles of the cabal of goons that have held the State by the jugular for ample years in order to position the resources of Kogi state to rational utilization.

 

Odaudu Joel Minister
Senior Special Assistant to Kogi State Governor on New Media