…as HOS, staff meeting ends in deadlock
By Medaiyefe Emmanuel Temitope
The ongoing imbroglio concerning the transfer of Kwara Hotel staff members has taken a new twist, as the Kwara state Head of Service, Mrs. Susan Module Oluwole said the statement made by the AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq-led Kwara state government over their redeployment was merely political, Fresh Insight has gathered authoritatively.
Oluwole said this during a meeting with some leadership of staff unions of the hotel, leader of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) who doubled as Senior Special Assistant to the Kwara State Governor on Labour, Mr. Abdulmumin Onagun and Trade Union Congress (TUC) representative, at the conference room of the HOS earlier today.
It can be recalled that Fresh Insight had earlier reported that the State government had failed in its pledge to redeploy Kwara Hotel staff to the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Technology (BIT), three months after publicly announcing the plan.
The state government had via a statement by the state Commissioner for Business, Innovation and Technology (BIT) Ibrahim Akaje, announced the shutdown of the popular Kwara Hotel, located along Ahmadu Bello Way, Ilorin, with a promise that the staffers would be redeployed to the ministry.
It can also be recalled that Fresh Insight reported that the State government directed a staff of Kwara hotel to report to the Kwara state Transport Management Authority (KWARTMA), against the promised transfer to BIT.
Although the state government, through Harmony Holdings Limited, a government holding hitherto managing the hotel before the government recently announced its transfer to BiT, attempted to deny the transfer of staff and technical retrenchment of those above recruitment age 50 into the Kwara state Civil Service, the meeting at the HOS office today further confirmed Fresh Insight’s reports.
This medium also gathered that the state government, after Fresh Insight’s report, requested the staff who had already been documented at KWARTMA following the government’s directive again asked to submit their qualifications and credentials through the hotel’s head of human resources, which they did yesterday (Wednesday).
According to our sources, who craved anonymity, the Head of Service, while addressing the leadership of unions today (Thursday) said “The statement announcing the redeployment of Kwara hotel staff to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Technology was just a political statement by the government”.
The Head of Service was quoted to have said having checked through Kwara hotel staff credentials, they (HOS) discovered they are not fit for employment in the Kwara state Civil Service.
“The Head of Service said the government’s widely publicized ‘political statement’ did not supersede the Civil Service rules, insisted the embattled Kwara Hotel staff cannot be admitted into the service.”
Our sources also told us that one of the affected staff and the TUC representative queried why they are not qualified to be absorbed into the state’s civil service, understanding that people with lesser qualifications and experience compared to theirs are in the civil service, the Head of Service, however, did not give any reason.
Meeting Ends in a Deadlock
After moments of brickbats between the Head of Service, Mrs. Modupeola, and the affected staff who insisted they possess the qualifications and experience to be absorbed into the state’s Civil Service, against the position of the HOS, the parties were not able to put a closure to the issues.
While Modupeola insisted that the Civil Service cannot accommodate the staff, contrary to the promise of the Governor, the Hotel staff on the other end insisted that if KWARTMA and not the promised BIT is where the government wants to redeploy them, they would rather prefer to get their entitlements and resign government job.
After the affected staff allegedly dropped a signed roll call of staff members who agreed with the resolution of the Kwara hotel staff union, the SSA Labour to the Governor- Onagun was said to have hurriedly called for reconvening of the meeting some other time, promising they would get back to the staff.
Attempt to get the reaction of the Head of Service were futile at the time of filling this report, as calls put through to the Press Secretary, Atoyebi Murtala’s phone by Fresh Insight’s reporter did not connect at press time.