By Sopirinye Jaja in Nigeria.
In a bid to ascertain the level of commitment by staff of his ministry, Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi paid a surprise visit to staff in their different offices.
Amaechi was seen on Wednesday at about 3pm, going round the offices, interacting closely with few of the staff on their duty posts in the nine storey building housing the ministry.
The minister observed that at the time of his visit, most of the offices were already deserted by workers before the official closing time of 4pm, while the very few present were either listening to music on their phones or out rightly dormant.
He frowned at the nonchalant attitude and act of truancy displayed by some of the workers towards their jobs for which they are being paid for by the Federal Government.
Amaechi also noted with dismay how most of the offices were unkempt, promising to meet with the Permanent Secretary and leaders of the Civil Service Union of the ministry over that and other issues.
He encouraged staff to give their best for effective work delivery and added that workers who do not add value to the ministry would be redeployed.
At the 9th floor, the minister observed a dilapidated area of the building which he said poses threats to staff safety. He immediately directed that it be fixed without further delay.
Chairman, Joint Union Negotiation Council (JUNC) of the ministry, Engr. Kolawolu Femi, who accompanied the minister on the tour, described the minister’s visit to the offices as timely and a welcome development.
He said the act would no doubt, encourage and boost staff morale in the discharge of their official assignments.
“The minister’s visit to offices will help to encourage staff of the ministry. That singular act of visiting the offices would avail him the opportunity of seeing things for himself and proffer solutions where necessary. As you can see, it also afforded the minister the opportunity to interact with the staff present, so it is a welcome development and I would like him to do this regularly and unannounced. That way, the very few who may not be serious with their duties will sit up,” he said.
Responding to the issue of absenteeism by workers, Engr. Kolawolu said, “The reason why most staff are not in their offices is because there is an ongoing training programme for the staff and most of us are participating in the programme and some other staff are observing their annual leave.”
The Union leader also used the opportunity to appeal to the minister to address the issue of insufficient office spaces for staff so as to curb the issue of over crowding in some of the offices.
Some of the staff who spoke with newsmen said they were surprised to see the minister inspecting their offices as no past minister had ever done so in their time.
While expressing satisfaction with the tour, they said it was a thing of joy and would remain memorable to have one-on-one interaction with the minister in their offices.
It would be recalled that two days after his reappointment as minister of transportation, Amaechi had a parley with staff and management of the ministry in which issues of lateness, absenteeism, truancy and workers welfare in general were addressed.
The minister had also in his first tenure embarked on numerous surprise visits to offices in the ministry