BY AMOS DUNIA (ABUJA)
There is a brewing administrative crisis at the national headquarters of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), over alleged insistence by former political appointees that were absorbed into service to retain their salary grade levels on entering as political appointees.
Forefront gathered that the former political appointees, some of whom were engaged by the last administration, are allegedly being aided by some senior public officials within and outside the Agency to circumvent laid-down civil service rules and procedure.
A dependable source at the Agency who pleaded anonymity described the development as unfortunate, stressing that taking into cognizance the fact that it would breed bad blood, amongst their older and senior colleagues who followed due process in rising through the ranks, waiting for promotion year to write examinations before they are promoted.
According to the source; “This is the process enshrined in the Public Service Rules. They have been told earlier to regularize their engagement, but they declined owing to the advantage of higher salaries they were getting.
“May be they thought they will be there forever. If they had joined the service then, they would have been hopeful for promotion by now. If it were fresh employments, it would have been advertised in at least three national newspapers, but that was not done. They are hoping that some influential public officials, will facilitate their formal engagement with the political grade levels.
Information pieced together indicate that the attempt to get into service with political grade levels has now prompted petition writing to different higher quarters to forestall impending anomaly.
It was further gathered that the Public Service Rules does not allow anyone who has not worked anywhere before to earn Grade Level 9, or a Higher National Diploma holder to earn Grade Level 8, just as political appointees are not allowed to retain their appointment ranks if they wish to convert to public servants.
The aggrieved staff are of the opinion that the former political appointees affected should eat the humble pie and accept to be graded according to their qualifications and therefore called on the Minister of Information, Culture and National Orientation and the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation not to allow this anomaly.
The aggrieved staff members, who are feeling cheated if the development is allowed to take place, noted that the present Director General of NOA, Dr. Garba Abari, has never held public office before and therefore does not fully understand the workings of the public service.
They noted that some senior public servants in the Agency are capitalising on his inexperience to manipulate things in their favour, even if it breaks extant regulations.
From every indication, the battle line has been drawn between the old staff and former political appointees and if the situation is not properly handled, it might degenerate into a full blown crisis.
BY AMOS DUNIA (ABUJA)