In a significant development, the Abia State government has issued a directive mandating the retirement of Directors and Permanent Secretaries who have served for more than eight years in the state civil service. This announcement was made through a statement released by Lady Joy Maduka, the Acting Abia Head of Service, on Wednesday in Umuahia.
The policy, set to take effect from January 1, 2024, aims to rejuvenate the public service, boost the morale of government employees, and usher in a new era of hardworking officers. According to Lady Joy Maduka, Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Non-Ministerial Departments will hold office for a fixed term of four years, renewable for an additional four years, contingent on satisfactory performance. Additionally, Directors will be required to retire after serving for eight years in their positions.
It’s worth noting that this directive aligns with Rule 02809 of the Abia State Public Service Rules, which stipulates that mandatory retirement occurs at the age of sixty or after thirty-five years of pensionable service, whichever comes first.
This policy harkens back to the tenure of former Governor T. A. Orji, who introduced a similar initiative during his administration from 2007 to 2015, with the aim of promoting upward mobility within the Abia Public Service.
In a related development, Dr. Alex Otti, who assumed office in June 2023, had previously suspended all Permanent Secretaries in the state civil service, with the exception of the Permanent Secretary/Solicitor General, Barr Mrs. Uzomaaka Ikonne, and the Permanent Secretary/Clerk of the House of Assembly, John Pedro Irokansi. This move led to speculation about the reinstatement of these officials, with both supporters and critics voicing their opinions.
However, with the latest directive from the government, it is anticipated that most of these senior officials will proceed with their retirement plans, marking a significant shift in the dynamics of Abia’s civil service.