By Ebi Perekeme
Rivers State government has withdrawn from the selection of candidates for Federal Government’s 774,000 special project jobs.
The Special Adviser to Governor Nyesom Wike on NDDC Matters, Erastus Awortu, announced this on Wednesday in a letter to the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN).
He accused the Chairman of the Selection Committee, Dr. Innocent Barikor, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), of hijacking and politicising the process for his party.
The governor’s aide also said Barikor breached the guidelines for the recruitment.
The letter reads: “I am a nominee of the Government of Rivers State on the State Selection Committee and I wish to bring to your notice the flagrant departure from states’ guidelines and sad politicisation of the selection process in the state.
“From the initial guidelines issued from your office at the commencement of the programme, it was clearly stated how the slots are to be distributed after the deductions for political office holders are done, as copied below.
“After these deductions, in making up the remaining 1,000 numbers from each local government area, every single person in the 20-membet list would be allotted a number of skits because of the interest that person represents.
“That person in the list will then get in touch with his sponsors on that list to begin to complete their names in each local government area to return to the chairman within a specified period.
“The slots going to the secretaries will be reserved for some specific requests to be communicated to them by the minister,” he said.
Barikor expressed frustration about the alleged deviation from the stipulated guidelines, saying: “In a clear departure from the guidelines, the chairman of the committee, in cahoots with the secretary and the predominately APC committee members, allocated a 100 per local government area among a few bodies, such as Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), 10; Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) was allotted five, traditional rulers, 10; among others.
“As one representing the governor, I was not given any allotment, leaving a total of 775 slots un-allotted.
“The chairman decided that 700 will be sent to each local government area and appointed only APC members to supervise and shortlist all of the LGAs, having states that forms will be made available on the streets and online for people to photocopy and apply.
“As the representative of the state government on the committee, I will not sit and be part of a system, twisted and designed consciously to inflict hardship on our people by asking them to apply for what is not available, just to satisfy a set of people… The 75 slots also remain undefined.
“Accordingly, I want to say that, since the slots are not defined as per the guidelines, that the state is willing to allow the programme to run fully as an APC empowerment programme for their members and cease to be part of it, forthwith.”
Efforts to reach Dr. Barikor for his reaction were unsuccessful last night.
His mobile phone was switched off and a message sent to the line was not replied.