Three months after the appointment and inauguration of mandate secretaries (Commissioners) and political aides by the Minister of FCT, Mallam Muhammad Bello, uncertainty has surrounded the recent appointment as the appointees have decried non take-off grants and overheads to run their offices since the appointments were made.
This degree of apathy has in the recent times showcased a morbid attitude towards day to day running of the activities hence the funding for oversight functions by the appointees.
The Abuja Times reports that most of the mandate secretaries have since appointment embarked on charity work by bankrolling the activities of the secretariat themselves since Government is yet to release overheads for the appointees.
According to Mr. Idris Malami, a staff of the FCT administration, the appointment of the mandate secretaries has become a mirage as some of them may have started regretting choosing to accept the appointment in the first place.
He said that most of them have actually dropped the zeal and the spirit to work with which they arrived FCT with due to lack of financial motivation to carry out their legitimate functions.
“It makes no sense giving people appointments without the money to run their offices. Some of the work and oversight functions have been hanging due to lack of money to move about.
One of the Secretaries told me that he embarked on oversight functions with his money and has to stop when his bank account showed red. How on earth do you expect appointees to fuel official cars with their own monies? It is an aberration.
Some of them have resorted to sitting down in the office to welcome people and groups of people on courtesy calls.
While others who are full time business men and politicians have absented themselves from the offices to tidy up other businesses pending when money is made available to run the offices,” Malami said.
Emmanuel Manyie Gwandire, while speaking to our correspondent, ascribed the unraveling circumstance as politically untimely appointment, which was targeted at preparing the ground for the 2019 general election, as against the financial implication.
He noted that Government does not embark on appointments based on pressure from the political party in power while seeking a breeding ground for popular votes.
“I felt disturbed during the appointments and I knew that it may degenerate to this level when there was a delay in the passage into law of the FCT 2017 budget, which lasted till November before it was signed into law.
As you can see, the minister would not have gotten the money to finance the offices from heaven. Everything supposedly revolves the 2017 budget which incidentally was passed into law at the tail end of the year”.
Gwandire in his observation gave the minister pass marks in his administrative ability having taken giant strides on infrastructural development.
He stressed that the mistake of appointing the secretaries with overheads should not be used to access the Ministerial performance, though he advised that the Minister must do something possible to ensure that money is made available to enable the secretariat function well.
In another development, one of the Mandate Secretaries, who craved to speak in anonymity, told The Abuja Times that he is considering dropping the appointment as his professional career has become under threat.
He said that paid them nothing to sit down on the swivel chairs under air-condition till only God knows when, adding that “it has become so difficult even the money to call for end of the year press briefing has been that herculean task and now some of run away from the press because we do no work and have nothing to tell them as of now”.
Another Mandate Secretary, who confided in The Abuja Times observed that the minister meant well by appointing mandate secretaries, who the order 1 of the law of FCT provided for the appointment of secretaries the equivalent of state commissioners for the decentralisation of duties and quicker dispensation of administrative duties.
In his observation, the some of the Mandate Secretaries should better be patient with the minister since the 2017 budget will be released.
He stressed that the process of releasing money had been an exceptional case.
“We all should look at the future not at the immediate gains and this is part of the oath we took to serve. We all knew that we need to work with money. And the way things are going, all of us are now waiting for 2018 to start afresh,” he added.
By Idu Jude, Abuja