Akande Bola, a 30-year-old civil servant in the Oyo State Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) is passing through one of her lowest moments in service. Having spent just three years working for the state government, she is now contemplating throwing in the towel. “I am considering venturing into other things other than this government job that seems to hold me back from other productive endeavors” she blasted in one of our interviews. But she is not alone in this quandary.
Others who pleaded anonymity also expressed similar concerns at the pessimism that has greeted their respective jobs. Just a month into starting his second term in office, things have gone from bad to worse for most civil servants under Governor Seyi Makinde. Of course, salary is still being paid promptly and regularly but not in the face of deteriorating and diminishing standard of living and skyrocketing increases in the price of commodities. While the sudden turn of events might not be entirely the Governor’s fault, his public bromance with the ruling APC and his affection for the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has meant he cannot be excused from whatever fallout that accompanied the federal government’s socio-economic policy overhaul.
Unlike in his first term when he stood aloof from the government of former President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Seyi Makinde now has lots of questions to answer as far as the state of the economy is concerned. He can no longer feign ignorance nor attempt to excuse himself or complain of not being carried along. Already, he is currently the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum and appears to be one of the most admired Governors in the seat of power. More than most Governors, Makinde has visited the villa many times than he has done in his first few years in office with tongues rolling at his incessant visits to the Presidential villa.
The PDAPC Alchemy
Not many believe that the internal wrangling that rocked the PDP after its Presidential primary last year’s May would morph into one of Nigeria’s most bitter intra-party fiasco, but the decision of five PDP governors otherwise branded as G-5 of which Governor Seyi Makinde was and still is a prominent figure gave a huge and devastating blow to the chances of the party that has ruled the country for 16 years in the past. What makes the anti-party activities of the G-5 more stunning is the brazen display of their preferences for the opposition candidates with former Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom opting for Peter Obi of the Labor Party while others kept their respective choices to their chests. In a way, the public ridicule of their party’s Presidential flagbearer Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who they believe emerged out of conspiracy and desire to keep the country in perpetual and firm grip of the Northerners to the detriment of the rest of the country gave their cries and hues some modicum of credence and credibility, especially in the South where power rotation had become sacred. By supporting the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the APC, Governor Seyi Makinde made it crystal clear that whatever that comes out of the government, be it good or bad will be etched in his record. “He was in PDP and yet supported the candidate of the APC against his party shows the extent to which politicians can go to spite themselves and have their ways,” Kunle Idris remarked.
Makinde Didn’t Remove Subsidy. He Supported It
The removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has sent the price of Premium Motor Spirit and of course, prices of essential commodities to the moon. Expectedly, both the state and federal governments have come out to state that the removal is a necessary pain people must endure as there is no going back on it. In his Democracy speech, President Tinubu said he feels the pains of Nigerians and that his government is working towards providing palliatives that will help cushion the effects of the removal on the people. On his part, Governor Seyi Makinde said his government has equally set up a committee that will review the salary structure of civil and public servants in the state to address the trickle-down effect of the subsidy removal on the people. One month after, nothing has been heard about various measures intended at ameliorating the plights and pains of the people. Perhaps, one can assume that the various committees alongside organized labor unions are still at the drawing table working out ways to reduce the effect of the new economic realities on the people.
Can’t Attract The Best Brains
Mike Odunjo graduated with a first-class degree in agricultural science from one of Nigeria’s renowned public universities, but unemployment pushed him to take up teaching with the state government. Many years after his epiphany of securing a job nosedived, he is reflecting on his choice. “Civil service is made completely unattractive for the best brains,” he told me. In as much as this kind of environment persists, no serious-minded person will ever think of plying their trades with the state government. Under Governor Seyi Makinde, the welfare of state workers has changed considerably but that’s not to say all is well with them. The same system that made politics attractive also made service to the people unattractive. “You don’t want to kill your dream by working where you’re being paid peanuts” he concluded.
One Month after, a sneak peek into the future
When the economy takes its hit like it currently does, the first set of people that will be affected is those that depend on the government for their survival. And no other set of people in this regard other than the civil and public servants who make ends meet by working for the government. It’s one month already but many have started to query what the future holds for the people of the state, especially the civil servants. Because whatever happens to them also has a way of touching others both in the formal and informal economy of the state.
PS: Names of interviewers are not exactly real. For fear of persecution, I have changed their names. Any resemblance is a mere coincidence.
OYO101 is Muftau Gbadegesin’s opinion about Issues affecting Oyo state, published on Saturdays. He can be reached via email@example.com and 09065176850