Governor Nyesom Wike yesterday inaugurated 17 new permanent secretaries in Rivers State. This comes as the House of Assembly screened and confirmed the nine commissioner-nominees whose names were submitted on Monday for clearance.
The governor, while swearing in the permanent secretaries at the Government House, Port Harcourt, urged them to contribute to the rapid development of the state, adding that the move would reinvigorate the civil service.
Also, the commissioners-designate, according to a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Paulinus Nsirim, would be sworn in today.
Wike charged the top civil servants to be focused on service delivery.
His words: “Use this opportunity to contribute to the development of the state. You were appointed under this administration, you owe the state the responsibility to perform.
“Your interest should be to serve the state and to support the commissioners, who are political heads, to achieve the right developmental goals.
“Don’t give your commissioners problems. Also do not collude with the commissioners to carry out illegal activities.”
The governor urged the permanent secretaries to work in line with their oath of office, warning that anyone that errs on oath would be sanctioned.
He added: “I advise you to take your work seriously. Don’t take this opportunity as a joke.”
Wike stated that efforts were ongoing to ensure that local councils without permanent secretaries were accommodated by his administration. He said the new permanent secretaries were appointed on merit, stating that noted that no single person lobbied for the position.
The governor equally announced the posting of Madume Egerton Ndu as new Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, adding that others would get their postings soon.
It is however unclear if the eight court-reinstated permanent secretaries were among those inaugurated.
Efforts to confirm that from Nsirim were futile as his phones rang continuously without response.
The state government had in 2015 sacked eight permanent secretaries, the State Head of Service and the Accountant General among others.
Dissatisfied with the decision, they had approached the National Industrial Court (NIC) in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State where their disengagement was voided and the action of the governor declared unconstitutional.
The senior civil servants after the court ruling resumed work last month without any office, as they were not any. They however hoped that the state government would assign offices to them.