There was mild drama at the Government House in Calabar on Monday as the new governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, on his first official day in office locked out civil servants that had yet to resume for work at 8.10am.
The governor, who resumed work at about 7.45am met an almost empty complex and directed the Head of Service, Mrs. Mary-Theresa Ikwen, to shut the gate to the Government House.
He also directed that henceforth, the gates to all Ministries, Department and Agencies, should be shut by 8.10am daily in order to curb lateness.
Civil servants were seen discussing in groups at the entrance to the government house.
Two civil servants declined to comment on the development, but a third one who craved anonymity, said workers would have to change their attitude.
“We would start resuming very early in order not to incur the governor’s wrath,” he said.
However, the governor, who ordered that the gate be reopened at about 8.40am, warned all heads of MDAs to live up to their responsibilities by ensuring that civil servants served in line with the prescribed civil service rules.
Ayade said, “If heads of MDAs could report to work as early as 8am, I see no reason why their subordinates should not be in their respective offices on or before that time. For those who are late today, we will pardon them but from tomorrow, all latecomers will be locked outside and sanctioned accordingly.”
He maintained that as a successful businessman, he would not fold his arms and watch civil servants who are supposed to serve the people relegate their work to the background.
“I am a change agent, in my younger years, I used to be addressed as a system purifier and I am here to do just that, focus exactly on production, expand the horizon and economic benefits and potential of my people.
“It is only private organisation that runs for profit but government’s profit is the social safety net, the welfare and well-being of our people. My profit therefore is the number of people I employ, my service to my people is the number of people I have engaged, so coming down to narrow the number of appointment will mean, I have already started with disservice.”