The Cross River State Government has ordered all political appointees to undergo screening to ascertain those who were genuinely appointed by the government.
A circular to that effect was issued by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Tina Banku Agbor.
Those to undergo the verification are commissioners, special advisers, special assistants and other appointees.
Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Christian Ita, confirmed the screening and said those who were not genuinely appointed would be thrown out.
According to the statement, the exercise which will be conducted in conjunction with the office of the Head of Service and that of the Accountant General will commence from Tuesday 26th September 2017 by 10.00am with commissioners and special advisers.
Wednesday 27th September, 2017 will be the turn of Senior Special Assistants, Personal Assistants and Community Relations Officers.
Thursday 28th September, 2017, Chairmen/members of Boards, Commissions and Agencies, Directors General and Heads of extra ministerial departments will take their turn.
The venue for the exercise is the office of the Secretary to the State Government.
The statement enjoins the affected persons to attend the exercise in person on the date and time specified for them.
The statement was later modified by another issued by Ntufam Peter Ojie, the Chairman, Central Planning Committee of the maiden Northfest scheduled for Saturday, 30th September, 2017.
According to him, “This is to inform all political appointees from the Cross River North, that notwithstanding the earlier announcement by the SSG, all appointees from the North are expected to proceed to Ogoja from today (Tuesday, 26 September, 2017) for effective mobilization of their wards for the Northfest.
“All such appointees from the north are expected to do their verification from Tuesday next week.
“Note that appointees from Central and Southern Senatorial Districts are to proceed immediately for verification.”
Observers have said that the verification exercise is a ploy to weed out appointees that were no longer loyal to the governor with the approach of the 2019 general elections.
Those likely to be affected are appointees who defected with their political godfathers to the All Progressives Congress, and those whose loyalty is now in doubt.
There are at least six thousand political appointees in Cross River State.
Whenever the governor is confronted about the unwieldy number of appointees and the attendant huge wage bill, he tells the critics that he wants to put food on the table of Cross Riverians.