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We can rebuild Nigeria with best brains, best hands in civil, public service, says Obaseki

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…As Edo hosts Heads of Service of BRACED States

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The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the vision of rebuilding the country and placing it on the path of progress and prosperity is possible if the nation can attract its best brains and best hands into the civil and public service.

The governor said this during a strategy retreat of the Heads of Service (HOS) of Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta States under the aegis of the BRACED Commission, held at the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy, (JOOPSA) in Benin City, Edo State.

The retreat is targeted at fostering excellence in the public and private sectors and equipping participants from the six states in the south-south zone with the requisite skills to develop an action plan for the betterment of the region.

Obaseki, who is the Chairman of the BRACED Commission while declaring the two-day strategy retreat open, said the retreat will recreate the trajectory of an efficient and effective public service in the region.

He said the retreat brings to the fore the question of how to rebuild the country through institutions and bureaucracy at the local, state and federal levels, a process he said can be achievable through ensuring that the best hands come from the civil service.

According to him, “In my final year at the University of Ibadan, the Federal Civil Service and civil service from other States come to the institution to hire the best. This was why the public and civil service worked because it had very good quality people.

“If we must have a public and civil service that works and are going to rebuild Nigeria, then the best must be attracted to come back to work in the public and civil service. There is no shortcut to it and for the best to come and work for you, you must treat them well, pay them as much as they will get outside if they work for other companies or institutions.”

The governor noted that capacity building for the State is important and the way people are hired and retained is key for his administration.

He further stated, “If you want the service and the bureaucracy to work, you must treat the people well, respect them, tell them what to do and if they don’t know, teach them what to do.

“As a government, we have our roadmap and decided on how to go about achieving those things we planned to achieve and we did it in six ways, which are our thematic pillars.

“We came in when things were really bad, institutions had collapsed and we met a lot of riot in the system but we never complained but faced the challenge of fixing what we met rather than complaining.”

Obaseki added, “We promised automated processes and workflow, to motivate our civil service for high performance, to rebuild the capacity of public servants through training, to revamp the work environment of public servants. These we have achieved.”

Guest lecturer and Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, who spoke on “Strategic Leadership in Civil and Public Service: Challenges, Opportunities and Future Prospects,” commended the governor for his very many positive and progressive reforms in the Edo State Civil and Public Service which have transformed the State’s workforce.

He stated, “We appreciate the governor for his various developmental strides in the Civil and Public Service in the State as what we have seen in the State is evidence of excellent governance of the State.”

Prof. Olaopa said the challenge of rebuilding Nigeria required an engine which is the civil and public service, adding that the engine is weak and needs re-energising to move the nation forward.

Other dignitaries present at the retreat include a former Governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, Director General of the BRACED Commission, Ambassador Joe Keshi; the Edo State Head of Service, Dr. Anthony Okungbowa Esq., and Permanent Secretaries as well as heads of different agencies in the South-South zone, among others.
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