By Desmond Ogudu
Delta Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has urged Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries in the country to remain focused in ensuring that the civil service remains committed to executing its functions.
The Governor made the call on Thursday in Asaba when the College of Heads of Service from the 36 states and Abuja, led by the acting Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Folashade Yemi-Esan, visited him.
He said that heads of service and permanent secretaries were playing key roles in managing the affairs of the country and should remain credible and accountable in their actions.
“Without the bureaucracy of which you are the leaders, no government can actually do anything effective or efficient”.
“I believe that the achievements that we are able to make as political heads of government will only rest on the extent in which the bureaucracy is able to guide us to do the thing which we ought to do in the right manner and in the right timing”.
“So, I believe that you are a very important set of leadership in the governance of the various States and I urge you to continue to do the best you can to bring out the best in the civil service”, he said.
Okowa recalled that he had spoken severally about the public service, particularly the civil service.
According to him, in the past, permanent secretaries and eventually, heads of service, by the time they get to that level within the bureaucracy, they become respected.
He attributed the respect for the top bureaucrats to the extent of knowledge embodied in them, but regretted that in today’s society, it appears that things are different.
“The zeal to attain excellence has taken a back seat and I think that these are issues as leaders in the bureaucracy, you must try to tackle”.
“It is very important that we tend to encourage the young, who are upcoming in the civil service, to ensure that we inculcate into them the right values”.
“This is because once those values are lost, the implication is that the leaders of tomorrow will no longer be groomed”.
“They will no longer be knowledgeable and when that respect is lost, when that focus to serve is lost, then you will find that the civil service will no longer be as productive as it ought to be”.
“The service will no longer be as respectable as it ought to be and when the embodiment of knowledge becomes questionable, it becomes a major issue for the country and we do not wish it to be so”.
“I truly want to charge you that in your various meetings that will take place, that there is a need to re-work the whole approach to the civil service, because the tendencies appear to be very different from the way it used to be”.
“Yes, I am in a political class, but I was once within the service as a medical doctor and I know that across all spheres of the public service the same issues abound and we need to find ways to address it”.
Okowa stressed the need for training and retraining of civil servants, and said “We must continue to attach very strongly the importance of training and retraining of civil servants and those who lead, starting from the juniors”.
“The permanent secretaries must find ways of continuously impacting knowledge on those who are upcoming, otherwise, the values of the civil service will be lost and that will not be good for the service”.
“It is my hope that as you all continue to discuss the issues of the civil service, that you will pay very special attention to growing the younger ones in the service”.
Earlier, Yemi-Esan had told the Governor that the heads of service from all the States in the country were in Delta for a conference for the strengthening of the service.
She expressed gratitude to the Delta Government for hosting the conference and assured that the civil service would be repositioned for efficient service delivery.