Wonders they say shall never end especially in Imo. This is more than America wonders. It is only in Imo that the government will declare over ten thousand workers ghosts by stopping their salaries since over a year. These same ghosts have continued to disturb the government declaring that they are real workers, not ghosts.
On this day, they mass surged at the front of government house to show themselves real, the governor lost courage voting with his leg through the back door. Perhaps he was frightened with the sight of ghosts turned real workers. It was revealing. Imo people after a careful reflection of the situation have come to label the whole thing a big scam. Why do they think it is a government scam?
Uzodimma on assumption of office in Jan 2020 promised to pay Imo workers every 25th monthly. That promise was never respected one day and is only observed in breach. He conducted his verification exercise and declared that he will be saving 2bn monthly from ghost workers. He made the statement in his 90 days in power address to Imo people.
From then he started owing workers and after a while he declared again that those owed have documentation issues—(BVN, Account nos etc) necessitating another round of the unending verifications which is still going on. It sounded like a joke when he stated that he does not owe anyone. He went ahead to spend huge sums publishing those paid and anyone outside that became a ghost,
And so emerged over 10,000 workers. Funnily, some of these workers have put in over twenty years of service, were regularly engaged and passed through the numerous screening of Rochas Okorocha including the one by Ihedioha which was dumped by Uzodimma. They are alive and can be found in their duty posts. At what point did they become ghosts.
Another factor that accentuated the scam allegation was the movement of the pay roll system away from the regular civil servants to the governor’s office under the control of a consulting firm. There according to one of the labour leaders all the manipulations including cutting of worker’s wages are done.
It is important to query why the core civil servants (professionals) whose business it is to manage the payroll system should be kept redundant while government pays huge sums to a consultant milking the state dry? What could possibly justify this? Before Uzodimma came, Ihedioha had streamlined the payment system under which everybody including the so called ghost workers received their emoluments.
The lie in the government scam is betrayed by the fact that government has never taken any step to punish the public officials through whose tables the ghosts infiltrated the system. We are yet to hear that anyone has been prosecuted or jailed. Perhaps Uzodimma’s ghosts’ workers’ are so super that they don’t any human intervention to beat they system
When at a preliminary stage Uzodimma sought to hoodwink the Imo public by declaring that some civil servants are ghosts earning padded income. Some of the people mentioned in his record emerged to put a lie to the issue. Mum was the word for him.
Now that Uzodimma’s ghosts have refused to answer ghosts preferring to bare themselves with all records to show they are alive, the man perhaps is still searching for another tag in his trick bag before he can offer another explanation.
According to a woman who gave her name as Ozomnaka Beatrice, “the action of our governor to blackmail us and tag us ghosts is demeaning and looks like a scam. I didn’t say he is a scammer, mind how you write it there, but you too check it. I became a ghost after 23 years of teaching. Is it not crazy?”
Another worker who refused to disclose his identity stated “the man (governor) has finished our money in every day Abuja trip. Does he stay here; he is Abuja governor in Imo.” Asked how he arrived at the conclusion, he fired back asking the reporter to go and investigate insisting that there is no week the man does not go to Abuja ”ferrying our money there to keep his seat”
Uzodimma and his team is yet to tell all the stories about Imo workers salaries because there are many things that do not add up. How long this issued drags has implications for productivity in the Imo State system.