While speaking at the Year 2016 Public Service Day held on June 23, 2016, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State reaffirmed the important roles public servants have played in the execution of major wellthought programmes embarked upon by his administration.
In his words, “the Ogun State Civil Service has remained an indispensable partner to the current administration in the State, resulting in the monumental success so far recorded in the area of socioeconomic development.”
The governor noted that the success or failure of any government largely depended on its relationship with the workforce, admitting that though the economy of the nation was not buoyant, his government would not relent in providing better welfare package for workers.
Amosun urged the civil servants to desist from acts that could sabotage the efforts of the government, and assured that his administration would continue to create conducive environment for development.
The Governor equally promised that his administration would intensify efforts on training and re-training of workers, as he charged all public servants to play their parts by supporting the government in its rebuilding mission.
Earlier in his welcome address, the State Head of Service, Elder Olusola Adeyemi, thanked the state government for giving workers the opportunity to celebrate one another, appraise their past efforts and look to the future with hope.
The guest lecturer, Chief Oluneye Okuboyejo, said in his speech, that for the public service to act as an agent of positive change, discipline must be strictly enforced, service delivery must be accorded priority, corruption must be eliminated, and accountability must be sustained.
Okuboyejo, Emeritus Permanent Secretary, legal practitioner and Chairman, Association of Retired Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries, Ogun State, noted that the public service must imbibe new and modern management techniques that will enhance service delivery and optimum utilisation of resources.
In his paper, “The Public Service – An Agent of Positive Change,” the guest lecturer noted that in order to achieve the public service of our dream and make it more purpose-driven, in tandem with the aspirations and philosophy of the present political dispensation, the remuneration package in the various public services should be enhanced to reflect the cost of living and inflationary trends. Okuboyejo also expressed the opinion that the service should be de-politicised, and civil servants who wish to opt for partisan politics be made to resign or retire from the service.
“In view of the prevailing harsh economic circumstances, whereby many state governments are unable to meet their salary obligations, it is expedient for public servants to start thinking out of the box, by coming up with viable proposals on how to curb leakages/wastages as well as propose measures on how to enhance internal revenue generation capacities of their respective employers. They must continue to display excellent work ethics by avoiding counterproductive activities,” he counselled.
Governor Amosun has been giving tremendous support and inspiration to the entire Ogun State public service since his assumption of office in May 2011.
In spite of all odds, the Ogun State public service has continued to soar higher, thereby occupying a pre-eminent position, among the comity of public services in Nigeria.
The welfare of the workers has been paramount to Amosun’s government. To demonstrate its commitment to workers’ welfare, Ogun was one of the first states to implement the new minimum wage across board in Nigeria.
It also ensures timely payment of workers’ salaries. Indeed, Ogun is one of the few states that have survived the biting economic challenge occasioned by the dwindling allocation from the Federal Government.
The Amosun government have also been appreciating the invaluable contributions of its workforce, who have been eversupportive landlords in the past five years.
Recently, the government commissioned a total of 160 units of 2 and 3 bedroom detached and semi-detached bungalows and storey-buildings as part of efforts at providing affordable housing for its workforce.
The governor said that the workers’ estate would reduce the hardship of civil servants in having homes of their own and avail them the opportunity to access decent homes at affordable cost.
He added that the project was part of his mandate on Home Ownership, which seeks to deliver fully-serviced homes to hundreds of families within its workforce.
However, behind the scene are the various civil servants in the public institutions. Good governance, which results in development of a state, also depends on the actions and inactions of the public servants. Hence, the need for neutrality of civil servants in the dispensation of their duties.
As noted by Okuboyejo, “to be able to perform their roles effectively, public/civil servants are expected to carry out faithfully, the policies and decisions of the government in power, observe silence and be discrete as to what takes place in the office, and must resist illegitimate political demands and pressures”.
Governor Amosun has tackled the economy of Ogun State with a single-minded dedication and abundant courage. The restructuring of the economy is not something that can be accomplished in five short years, even if it does not require eternity to do it. But on balance, the most unfair critics cannot deny that he has tried.
Durojaiye, a former Editor of Daily Independent Newspaper, Lagos, is Special Adviser on Information and Strategy to Governor Amosun.