Civil servants in Ekiti State are presently in quandary over alleged demand by the state government for the voter cards of workers before they could benefit from its empowerment scheme.
Some of the workers expressed fear that the submission of the cards and recording of their serial numbers could result in the cloning of the cards ahead of the July14 local government election.
But the state government has denied allegation that it was using the workers’ loan scheme as bait to collect their voter cards with the intent of cloning them to gain advantage at the governorship poll.
The Enlightened Workers’ Forum (EWF), an interest group within the Ekiti workforce, described the voter cards-for-empowerment exercise as a “desperate move to achieve success in the forthcoming governorship poll.”
A statement on Sunday by its state coordinator, Mike Bamidele, noted that women civil servants were the first set of beneficiaries in the loan scheme as the men would soon take their turn.
Mr. Bamidele said the exercise which started on January 8, began with women working in the local government service, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Information, Youth and Sports Development and Civil Service Commission.
He queried the rationale behind the demand for the workers’ voter cards before they could be given the loan at a time they were still being owed arrears of their legitimate salaries.
“We want the general public to know that no circular was issued to that effect but the information has been passed to female workers in their MDAs through their various Heads of Departments,” the statement said.
“For any worker to be qualified for the so-called loan, the person must tender his/her voter’s card and his name recorded against the number on the card.
“It is our candid opinion that the empowerment of this nature to civil servants is an aberration and we appeal to the generality of workers to be wary of this desperation.”
Reacting to the allegation, the Ekiti State Commissioner for Information, Lanre Ogunsuyi, denied that there was any such plan to use the exercise to clone the numbers on
workers’ voter cards.
“It is not true that government is cloning workers’ voter cards. What we are doing is an empowerment for the workers which is optional because nobody is being compelled for it,” said Mr. Ogunsuyi.
“The loan is optional and somebody can look at conditions attached and such a person can opt out if he or she is not satisfied with the conditions.
“The reason why women are asked to bring their voter cards is that majority of them don’t have driver’s licence, national identity card or international passport and the easy form of identification is voter card.
“Nobody should read any negative meaning to the good intention of the government to empower its citizen. No card is being cloned anywhere.”
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