Prior to his triumphant entry into the state government house, the condition of civil service in the state was pathetic. Beside the lingering unsettled backlogs of promotions and leave grants, the state civil service was plagued by poor manpower capacity with 4996 for post-primary school teachers during the previous administration. That notwithstanding, about 4000 jobs were terminated following a verification in 2012 in all MDAs and other 6057 in other verifications. These brought Zamfara Civil Service face-to-face with cunning automatic retrenchment. Such series of futile verification exercises continued to torment civil servants. This triggered incessant complaints, and 1065 sacked civil servants were later restored to their jobs. To add salt to the wound, there was never any mass recruitment in Zamfara in eight years though retirement has never ceased as is the civil service norm.
Not long thereafter, another verification committee headed by Professor Tukur Adamu was set up to conduct Phase I verification and assessment of primary school teachers in the state. As expected, the team of professors in the committee did a wonderful job and submitted their recommendations which require government to do a lot of job to overhaul educational sector. Alas! These were not the desired results since the implementation of the recommendations requires financial input.To evade doing the needful, the government decided to keep on dragging issues as the tenure runs out with every second. Again the Professor Tukur led verification team was tasked to carry out Phase II assessment of secondary schools in the state. In February 2014, Professor Tukur presented the preliminary report to the state government. The report exposed the stinking rot that has been shackling the progress of education in the state. Unfortunately, the recommendations were also swept under the carpet. To make it worse 1400 people employed and another 556 teachers recruited and posted after rigorous assessments and screening were dumped without receiving a dime as remuneration for several years.
Civil service in Zamfara was in a terrible deficit of everything to make it work. Not even office stationeries were anywhere to be found in most MDAs as
Having come to power in May 2019, to meet civil service in shambles, Governor Matawalle assured civil servants of his administration’s commitment to improve state civil servants’ welfare through the payment of all entitlements and allowances meant for the civil servants in the State.
He said that all entitlements would be paid at the right time in order to boost the State civil servants’ morale and give them a sense of belonging in discharging state affairs and their responsibilities diligently.
True to his words, Governor Bello Matawalle approved the promotion of 6709 primary school teachers who have 5 to 8 years of unsettled backlogs of promotion and these have been settled in September 2019. Leave grants the name of which has started to be buried in the dusty pages of Zamfara’s history returns with full force. The 556 teachers employed and dumped by the previous administration were also reinstated.
As service requires tools and logistics to run smoothly, Governor Bello Matawalle digitally revolutionised civil service by procurement of office computers, printers, photocopiers and other essential equipments. In his words: “We cannot continue to run on analogue system of governance, hence we have commenced the implementation of our well-designed digital governance framework to ensure accountability, roles and decision-making are digitally processed across all offices in Zamfara State MDAs.”
With COVID19 putting a halt to civil service and the impact of the inter-state lock-down biting hard through prices of goods, the kind-hearted Matawalle approves 470 Million Naira subsidy on rice to be sold at 50% discount to alleviate the suffering of its civil servants.
With the antecedent of Governor Bello Matawalle’s disposition to civil, it isn’t wrong to foresee a bright future for the civil service in Zamfara even though there is a contentious issue of N30,000 Minimum Wage which is on the table of the committee he constituted. As one who has been proving his sincerity and commitment to civil service, we have no reason to have any iota of doubt to the weight of his vows to revamp it.
The commitment shown has already revived our hope for a well-remunerated, digitally-oriented and powerful workforce.
Ibrahim Bello Zauma
SSA New Media to Gov