The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, CFR has enjoined Civil/Public Servants across Ministries, extra-ministerial Departments and Agencies (MDA) to prioritise succession planning as a means to groom and retain highly skilled future leaders.

She made this disclosure at the 2024 edition of the Public Service Lecture marking the annual Civil Service Week and the Africa Public Service Day themed, “Educate an African Fit for the 21st Century: Building Resilient Education Systems for Increased Access to Inclusive, Lifelong, Quality and Relevant Learning in Africa,” held on Wednesday, June 20, 2024, in Abuja.

Dr. Yemi-Esan, CFR affirmed that the Lecture, as a major activity of the Week, has grown into a melting pot of providing both contemporary and long standing insights on how to navigate through the complexities of leadership in building citizen-centric individuals and institutions.

She mentioned that this year’s theme underscores the critical role education plays in shaping the future of the Africa continent. ‘’It is not inherent in our ability to tell things to come but we can learn from the past and the present to prepare for the future, therefore education is the key to unlocking the capability and socio-economic transformation of African nations,’’ she added.

The HoSF further stated that it is important to equip the present crop of Civil Servants, as well as the next generation, with the requisite skills and knowledge needed to navigate and thrive in an increasingly complex world of work. In addressing the tool gaps and other challenges of the Nigerian Civil Service, she acknowledged the collaboration with partners and stakeholders, especially the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation, massively investing in the training, retaining and retooling of our workforce.

She reiterated the importance of Capability Building and Talent Management being the first priority area of the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan 2021-2025 (FCSSIP 25). It is in view of this that the Service is grooming a new crop of leaders and very highly skilled Officers, through the Leadership Enhancement and Development Programme (Lead-P), which has produced over 200 workers. “Our goal is to identify, mentor and strategically deploy about 500 of them to various posts as leaders, Service wide, by end of 2025,” says she. As a top talent programme, it identifies the best Officers that would become the face of Nigeria’s Civil Service in a skill and technologically driven world. These are middle level Officers, cutting across all cadres.

In their Goodwill Messages, at the occasion, the Chairman Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), Prof. Tunji Olaopa, congratulated the HoSF on driving the reform initiatives of FCSSIP 25 in a commendable, spirited and innovative way. These brilliant reforms, according to him, have significantly deepened improvement in a manner that will stand the test of time. ‘’I admonished and challenge your successors to further build on these reforms initiatives, in order to foster continuous development of the Service,’’ the Chairman further stressed.

While a former HoSF and  Chairman, Council of Retired Federal Permanent Secretaries (CORFEPS), Alh. Yayale Ahmed, disclosed that he has watched with keen interest and satisfaction the commitment of the present HoSF in transforming the Service, which is the engine room of policy formation and implementation. He described the introduction of FCSSIP 25 as a game changer in service delivery, also wished the Service a successful celebration of the Week.

The hallmark of the event was the Public Service Lecture, ‘’Preparing Nigerian Public Servants to Address Global Challenges, while Fostering Employee Engagement, Retention and Job Satisfaction,” delivered by Professor Peter Okebukola. He identified some skill gaps such as digital literacy/use of technology, leadership and accountability, creativity and innovation, problem solving, amongst others, as necessary requirements for Civil Servants to mitigate the challenges of service delivery and optimal performance in a dynamic world order.

The Guest Lecturer eulogised Dr. Yemi-Esan, CFR for her resilience and dedication to work towards repositioning the Service, adding that these qualities necessitated the award of a Certificate of Exemplanary Performance presented to her, at the occasion, by the Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi), Africa Chapter.

He stated that GUNi was set up as a resolution of UNESCO, in 2000, to reward and stimulate innovation in higher education, across the world. The University, identified that the HoSF has been instructmental in supporting Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, especially in granting waivers for recruitment to fill skill gaps.

The Permanent Secretary, Service Policies and Strategies Office (SPSO) in the OHCSF, Dr. Deborah Odoh, on behalf of the HoSF, thanked members of the National Assembly, Ministers, Transformative Permanent Secretaries, the British High Commissioner, Heads of Government Agencies, Directors and stakeholders for their presence, as well as immense contributions towards the success of the Lecture.


M. A. Ahmed,

Directotr, Communications.

June 22, 2024.