December 2018, the then DG of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu, announced that Governor Ayade had ordered the immediate employment of 1000 medical workers into the state civil service. Over 15,000 persons applied via the online portal and names were shortlisted for a first and second screening. People travelled hundreds of kilometers to verify documents and complete employment formalities, but till date, they are still waiting to be employed. It turned out, it was a scam.
April 14, 2020 again, Governor Ayade personally promised another round of recruitment of 8000 young men and women from the ages of 18-35, with the exception of those in the health sector, on a flat monthly salary of 30,000 Naira.
The recruitment exercises were all billed to hold simultaneously on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.
The governor divided the planned recruitment into four sectors beginning with:
5000 youths were to be recruited under his revolutionary agricultural program and Ambassador Nkoyo Toyo and the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ntufam Okon Nyong Owuna, were to oversee the exercise at the Ayade Industrial Park venue for the recruitment.
1000 youths were to be recruited into various agencies of government, including the Green Police, whose core mandate include urban beautification, landscaping, maintenance of recreational parks, development of nurseries, horticulture and general sanitation. The premises of the Cross River State Properties and Investment Limited (CROSPIL), State Housing, Calabar was announced as the venue for this recruitment exercise and the Commissioner for Environment, Mfon Bassey and his Urban Renewal Counter, Emmanuel Edward were to take charge of the exercise.
2000 youths were to be recruited into the State Homeland Security and the Border Patrol Agency with the key objective being the effective enforcement of the lockdown of the state’s extensive border lines and U.J. Esuene Stadium was also the venue for this recruitment exercise, with Brig Gen John Agim (rtd) and Director General of Border Commission, Mr. Noel Ugbong being in charge.
400 doctors, 600 nurses and 1000 health officers were to be recruited for COVID-19 surveillance across every village in the state. Recruitment was to be done through the Ministry of Health with the current Commissioner, Dr Betta Edu and the Head of Service, Dr Chris Ekpenyong Ita in charge.
Till date, it turned out this too was a scam after young people were still made to travel kilometers to Calabar with false hope of getting a job. No one ever got employed.
September 30, 2020 the same governor Ayade, while meeting with 2,500 delisted civil servants who were protesting the stoppage of their salaries, at the U.J. Esuene stadium, lamented that: “I earn an income that is less than the salary of this State. Today is end of the month and I still go to bed, I know no sleep, looking for how I can pay September salary…..today, I have 2,500 people to add onto the salary I cannot pay.”
Fast forward to today, October 22, 2020, the same governor who lamented that he cannot pay the additional salaries of 2,500 civil servants who were in the streets for close to one week in protest, has just ordered the immediate recruitment of 20,000 civil servants as if he just won a jackpot from where he will draw their salaries?
9news Nigeria wonders whether the promise to employ 20,000 (twenty thousand) Cross Riverians will see the light of the day this time around as young indigents will now waste their money, time and energy and take risks through those bad roads to travel again from all parts of the State to Calabar to fall for this scam and the governor keeps thinking he is smart.
But in the end, this his excitement will definitely recede and maybe he will come back to his right frame of mind and accept that all along, he has been day dreaming with Alice-in-Wonderland.