The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, CFR, has called on Ministries, Extra-Ministerial Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and all stakeholders to work collectively toward driving a competitive innovation culture in the Service with a view to scaling up the quality of service delivery towards enhancing good governance in Nigeria.

Dr Yemi-Esan stated this on Thursday, in Abuja, in her remarks at the 3rd edition of the 2022 Innovation Challenge Award Ceremony, an annual event designed to recognised outstanding performance and excellence in the Civil Service.

She stated further that the Award ceremony was part of the commitment of the Head of Service to drive an eco-System where officers across the Service are able to exchange knowledge and also access the right tools and support needed to translate ideas into sustainable solutions in line with best practices across the globe.

The HoS reiterated that the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation has set up structures to effectively support and sustain innovation in the system by incorporating ‘Innovation’ as a pillar in the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan (FCSSIP) 2021-2025, adding that this has led to the training of over one hundred staff across 25 MDA’s.  According to her, “these among other strategies is aimed at establishing a world class innovation hub by the first quarter of 2024 to assist Civil Servants to nurture their ideas’’, she added.

While emphasising on the great potentials of the Nigerian Civil Service and the need for improvements, Dr Yemi-Esan explained that innovation is a catalyst for positive change and development in any economy, stressing that it was imperative for the Civil Service to rise up to its expected functions, which is to provide effective leadership and policy frameworks, being the critical driver of the country’s socio-economic development.

The first place winner of the competition went home with a sum of Three Million Naira (N3million), while the first and second runner up positions got the sum of One Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N1,750,000) and One Million Naira (N1, 000, 000) respectively. The sum of Two Hundred Thousand Naira was given to top 10 winners as consolation prizes.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties Office, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Engr. Faruk Yusuf Yabo, revealed that this year’s Innovation competition is centred around three thematic areas: securing the work environment for Civil Servants; identify new methods of promoting Public Private Partnership (PPP); and cost saving measures using modern technology.

Engr. Yusuf explained that the award ceremony is the third annual innovation competition organized under the able leadership the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, CFR since inception in 2020. The goal of the competition is to provide an enabling environment for the Federal Civil Servants to initiate, develop and deploy creative ideas to address existing and emerging challenges within Nigeria and beyond.

He added that the 3rd edition of the competition commenced on the 19th of February this year and ended with the selection of three (3) winners along with ten (10) consolation prizes out of 89 ideas initially presented by innovators to the panel of esteemed judges.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, commended the initiative of the Head of Service for keeping track with global changes and duplicating same in the Civil Service. He assured that the Senate Committee will ensure that adequate enabling laws are put in place to enhance efficient and effective Public Service the country will be proud of.

Other goodwill messages were delivered by the Honourable Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zaubairu Dada, Permanent Secretary, Service Policies and Strategies Office, OHCSF, Mr. Okokon Ekanem Udo and the Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Mohammed Bello Abubakar.

The occasion was also graced by Serving and retired Permanent Secretaries, Directors of OHCSF, Director Generals of Agencies and other top government functionaries.

M. A. Ahmed

Director, Communications.