Sacked Sunset Workers And Our Culpability In Impunity
By Abdulrazaq Hamzat
Shortly after the emergence of Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq as the Executive Governor of Kwara State, several individuals reached out to us at the Kwara Must Change, urging us to reach out to the new governor if we can, to prevail on him to resist the pressure and temptation of wanting to sack the sunset workers employed by the outgoing administration.
Others also urged us to convince the government to sack the sunset workers, describing them as a trap for the government.
The first argument was that, the sunset workers are Kwarans and irrespective of which government engaged them and when they were engaged, sacking them, as expected by many, would set a negative precedent, therefore creating a “we vs them” narrative, which would not be good for the otoge revolutionary people’s government of Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.
Personally speaking, I agree with the concern expressed by group and share in their sentiment, but not also unmindful of the agitation of those who continue to canvas for the sack of the sunset workers to avoid a future problem.
The position of the second group was that, the outgone administration, which was paying geri gedi and owing several months of unpaid salaries delibrately engaged the sunset workers to create more problem for the new government.
You cannot be paying half salary and still owing several months unpaid, then engaged more workers on your way out of the system without any ulterior motive, they argued.
Even without being in the saddle, we were confused of which side to take, as both points have valid justification.
Before deciding to take a stand in support of the retention of the sunset workers, I recall that Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, on the day he was announced as the governor elect, took a personal tour around Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
The governor didn’t only demonstrate his street credibility by leading the people in victory walk on that faithful day from Adewole to Fate, he equally took a stand by saying very loudly that he would choose the people over anything else.
From his street walk around Ilorin, he later joined leaders of the ruling party at Fate, where they have been waiting to address a press conference.
At the press conference, which happened around 8 PM, the governor spoke for about 30 minutes or thereabout, promising to unite the people and not break them into “we vs them”
According to him, for APC to win more than 70% of the vote, it shows that almost everyone voted for the party, including those some people would naturally refer to as the opposition.
He concluded that he was made Governor by the people of Kwara State and not any political party and he would treat everyone as his people without any form of discrimination on the basis of party.
To demonstrate this, several people appointed by past administration are still on their jobs, including the Head of Service.
It was this realization that made us send our recommendations to the governor in favor of retention of the sunset workers. We reasoned that, it has become the duty of the otoge government to provide opportunities, enabling platform and jobs for the people and if it is the duty of the government to do this for all, sacking those you should provide for becomes questionable.
While it is true that many may have advised the governor on the need to retain the workers, including us, I believe strongly that the governor did what he believed to be the best then and even now.
As many already know, Governor Abdulrahman is a man of his own, who will do what he believes in, irrespective of who is against it.
However, after the retention of the sunset workers, it appeared some individuals within the system took Governor Abdulrahman’s compassionate nature for some kind of weakness, thereby abusing the whole process and making it unreasonably complicated, leading to the eventual cancellation of the entire process, including the invitation of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In the narrative that ensured after government announced the cancellation of the process more than a year after it had retained them, many have opined that the governor’s fault was not sacking them earlier, when everybody, including the sunset workers thought they would be sacked, which I strongly disagree with.
In my view, not sacking them earlier wasn’t a fault from the governor, it was a compassionate decision taken based on available information at the time.
The governor didn’t sack them then, because he doesn’t want to sack them at all.
I know, for a fact that, if he has option not to sack them now, he won’t do it either.
The decision to sack them now after discovering so many fraud, irregularities and outright abuse in the process, was probably because there’s no other sustainable option to take and the governor had to take the best decision, even if it is painful to do so.
While some may condemn him for doing what must be done based on the prevailing circumstance, or even conjure all sorts of conspiracy theories, I believe that it is not proper to continue to aide impunity that has brought the country to its knees under the guise of speaking in favor of the affected workers.
In conclusion, the sunset workers have been sacked, sadly and reluctantly, but they have been provided with another opportunity to get the job back, through reapplication and nothing could be fairer than that.
We should all encourage qualified candidates amongst them to quickly reapply for the job, as the government is now employing double the number it sacked, through a more open and transparent system.