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Nigeria needs motivated public servants for service delivery, says Osinbajo

By Terhemba Daka, Abuja
05 March 2022   |   4:03 am
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has declared that Nigeria needs to develop well-trained and motivated public servants for effective service delivery especially in an age of digital technology and economy.

[FILES] Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has declared that Nigeria needs to develop well-trained and motivated public servants for effective service delivery especially in an age of digital technology and economy.

Osinbajo stated this last Thursday evening when he received 49 graduands of the pioneer cohort of the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG) and Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government (AIG-BSG) Public Leadership programme, sponsored by the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The inaugural in-country programme for talented, mid-career public servants, a partnership between the federal and state governments with the AIG and the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation lasted for about seven months.

The participants were drawn from the civil service at national and subnational levels.

According to the Vice President, it was vital to provide cutting-edge training to public servants because “once public goods cannot be delivered effectively, development suffers, the commons are all at risk and the overall quality of life of the people is undermined.”

On the essence of developing Nigeria’s human resources, especially in the public sector, Osinbajo stated: “Our governments have never been short of ideas, policies or roadmaps. Indeed, we have some of the best written and most insightful policies on practically all issues, but we sometimes fall flat on implementation. The reason is the quality of the human resources that we deploy in the public sector.

“Unlike in the private sector, where usually the profit motive makes it imperative to provide relevant and cutting-edge training to ensure that staff are well equipped to deliver on targets and KPIs, the public service usually has traditionally taken an approach, the result being a bureaucracy unable to develop, but more importantly deliver on government initiatives and programmes.”

The Vice President then spoke on the need to build values of integrity, honesty and transparency in public service.

“Recognising that ensuring integrity in the work place is not merely a moral issue, it is an existential issue for the country itself. Why do systems anywhere in the world uphold basic notions of honesty, transparency and integrity? It is because it makes economic sense; dishonesty undermines the entire enterprise.

“We must also understand and disseminate our rules on governance in such a way as to make it clear that petty or grand corruption kills progress and will destroy the nation’s best,” he added.

The Vice President further noted that the AIG-BSG programme was crucial to developing the country’s public service, especially with global changes and technology.

Osinbajo stressed that it was crucial to have “a bureaucracy that fully appreciates how to think, act and plan in a world so completely transformed in the last two decades, that almost every old assumption about commerce, lifestyle, gender issues, political ideology are now being upturned or, at least, being seriously challenged.”

In his remarks, the Founder and Chairman of the AIG, as well as the Foundation, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, thanked the Vice President for inspiring, supporting and encouraging the initiative from the start, especially during the period of teething challenges.

Aig-Imoukhuede said: “One day, I sought audience with His Excellency and I shared with His Excellency our plans and where we were. The Vice President said that, ‘I’m fully in support, but you need to change strategy a little.’

“I’ll like to really thank you for giving us the confidence, for encouraging us and making sure that we didn’t give up. But most importantly, I’d like to thank you for your action that has made all of the cooperation between the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation and the Nigerian government possible. And please continue to support us, encourage us; continue to call me to account whenever you see me.”