PROTOCOL I warmly welcome you to this first meeting of the body of Permanent Secretaries after my appointment as Substantive Head of the Civil Service of the Federation by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.
2. My gratitude goes to God Almighty for His mercies, to Mr. President for finding me worthy of this appointment and to the Body of Permanent Secretaries for your support and fellowship especially during the period I was acting as Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. I am also deeply humbled by the overwhelming show of solidarity, messages and prayers from members of this highly esteemed body and I can only reciprocate by praying for God’s abundant grace to provide us all with the needed knowledge and insight that will enable us deliver on our individual and collective mandates.
3. I am using this medium to seek your continued cooperation, collaboration and camaraderie so that we can together elevate the Federal Civil Service to meet global standard that exhibits superior performance in the implementation of government policies and programmes, as well as in the delivery of services for the well-being of Nigerians and the country’s economic development.
4. As we well know, Civil Service remains the engine of economic growth and development of nations across the globe. The Civil Service is the Government’s response to the ever changing needs of the public and the organ to ensure that these needs are met. The Federal Government expects the civil service to provide these much needed services to its citizens, develop and implement policies and manage the common good of the nation.
5. In order to live up to these expectations, we should all as Chief Accounting Officers in our various MDAs, strive to proactively: a. uphold the core values, ethos, code of ethics, rules, regulations and other control mechanisms of the Federal Civil Service including stewardship, trust, engagement, professionalism, meritocracy, transparency, anonymity, integrity, discipline, impartiality, political neutrality, patriotism and accountability; b. motivate civil servants for high level of productivity, effectiveness, efficiency and prudence through capacity building, mentoring, health and safe working environment, welfare programmes and exemplary leadership;
c. develop and implement government policies, projects and programmes towards economic development of Nigeria through SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) objectives and strategies; d. manage resources and strategic assets entrusted to us in a transparent, accountable, cost effective and commercially viable manner; e. create wealth for the nation by generating revenue through innovation and digital operations and technology driven processes; and f. maintain high level of cordiality with our respective Ministers and Ministers of State for the purpose of accomplishing the cardinal agenda of the government in power.
6. The Federal Civil Service Strategic Plan 2017 - 2020 recommended by my predecessor and approved by the Federal Executive Council is an innovation worthy of commendation. The time is now ripe, to review the successes so far achieved, and enumerate the challenges encountered during implementation as the Plan comes to an end this year. After this, a rejigged plan for 2021-2024 would be developed.
7. Our monthly meetings over the years had enabled us to discuss issues and share experiences pertaining to our respective ministries. Going forward, a number of Ministers and chief executives of agencies have indicated willingness to participate in the meeting to share their perspectives. This is a welcome development to be encouraged. The very fruitful participation of some Ministers at the Kano Retreat is very instructive in this regard.
8. Another suggested feature for our meetings would be monthly Power-Point presentations by Permanent Secretaries on their stewardship, developments in their ministries and on topical issues of national importance. This will keep everyone abreast of happenings in other domains and give the opportunity for learning and making inputs by others. In the same vein, unnecessary duplication of efforts would be avoided. I welcome additional suggestions on how to further derive maximum benefits from our monthly meetings. The Permanent Secretary (SDO) will coordinate.
9. Capacity building will henceforth be given focal and priority attention both at the level of respective ministries and at service-wide level especially on core values and code of ethics of the civil service. Other areas to be given priority include performance management and stability of the service. The new Performance Management System to be put in place will replace the biased and often abused Annual Performance Evaluation Report (APER). The main goal of the new PMS will be to increase productivity and quality of service delivery. With regard to the goal of ensuring stability of the service, this, I’m sure you are aware, tops Mr. President’s directives in the letter conveying his approval of the confirmation of my appointment. His Excellency, again emphasized the need to ensure stability in the Federal Civil Service which I must reaffirm is my number one priority in office and which will inform decisions and the fulcrum on which other objectives will be linked.
10. There are also plans to institutionalize mentoring to promote the nurturing of the talents of upcoming and future generations of civil servants. The Permanent Secretary (CMO) will coordinate.
11. Importantly, all hands must be on deck to motivate the generality of civil servants to achieve above average productivity through intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, welfare programmes and conducive working environment. The Permanent Secretary (SWO) has been mandated to produce a comprehensive staff welfare programme for immediate implementation.
12. For every member of this august body, I want us to provide the civil service with exemplary leadership, high level of integrity, self-discipline and strict adherence to extant rules and regulations. We should continually strive to improve ourselves and stay above board in our official and private dealings. We should also thrive to work as a team and be our brothers’ keeper. Undoubtedly, the work is daunting with relentless pressure from our diverse quarters. We must be strong and courageous by upholding the provisions of the extant rules at all times without fear or favour. We must be on the side of truth and be the shining light others will emulate.
13. Furthermore, we will continue to reward and recognize excellence, innovation and dedication. It is my firm belief that the successful implementation of an institutionalized reward and recognition system, will produce wellmotivated, disciplined, skilled and accountable civil servants.
14. Finally, more than ever before, your support and cooperation at this decisive period is solicited to succeed in the task ahead. The confidence reposed by Mr. President in me is only reflective of the great expectation he desires from all of us to transform the Service and position it to help him deliver on his Administration’s key priority areas. We have to continue to work as a team knowing that no single tree can make a forest and nobody knows it all. I would rely on your expertise and ideas to make the anticipated difference to enable us bequeath a better Civil Service than we met it.
15. These are my sincere thoughts at this time as we brace to build on past achievements and to deliver on the mandates for which we were appointed.
16. I thank you all for listening and may God bless the body of Permanent Secretaries, the Federal Civil Service and the Federal Republic of Nigeria