Since the inauguration of the current democratic dispensation in 1999, Lagos State has been blessed with dogged and visionary leaders.
Currently, the State, in the last 365 days, has experienced tremendous development under the leadership of Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu. With the ‘Greater Lagos’ Agenda of his administration, Sanwo-Olu has developed policies and programmes that have translated into concrete dividends of democracy for the residents.
This, indeed, is not surprising. In his inaugural speech, Sanwo-Olu has pledged to advance the social and economic progress of the state and its people, regardless of faith, social class or origin of birth.
A visionary leader, and an exemplary administrator, Sanwo-Olu expends his administration on a frame work tagged “THEMES’’ which has raised consciousness of the people that a new order of hope and possibilities would emerge in the State through the six strategic areas namely; Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos 21st Century Economy, Entertainment and Tourism as well as Security and Governance.
The Sanwo-Olu’s Administration has invested in infrastructure development through road construction and rehabilitation, development of intermodal transportation, provision of alternative power generation and enhanced public security. These are vital policy strands to be implemented over the next three years for the State Government to steadily grow and diversify the State’s economy.
One particular area where the current Administration is having positive impact is in the improvement of the Public Service. The Public Service is the institution that drives the activities of government all over the world.
It consists of the civil service which includes Ministries, Extra-ministerial Departments/Agencies and parastatals. It operates with professionals and non- professionals from whom it demands a special aptitude, training, language, discipline and culture. It is the major instrument used by government to implement its policies, programmes and plans.
No wonder many refer to it as the engine room of governance! It can be rightly said that the health and, indeed, the wealth of any nation rest on competent and resourceful public servants. Hence, for any government to do well, it must be backed by a virile and visionary Public Service.
For the Public Service to really be effective, it requires transformation at multiple levels. The way public sector organisations behave, how they view their roles, and how they share information between departments determines the effectiveness of making and implementing policies. A competent and well-motivated Public Service is a prerequisite for maintenance of good governance anywhere in the world. Thus, the concern for effective and efficient Public Service is universal.
It is, thus, in order to further boost the productivity of this all-important organ of governance that the Sanwo-Olu Administration has invested massively in the strengthening of the institutional capacity of Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs) in the State.
Consequently, Mr. Governor granted approval for the procurement and allocation of official vehicles to all the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries, Principal Officers in the State Public Service as well as utility vehicles for the use of MDAs. Vehicles procured and allocated include Ministerial Operational Vehicles, Departmental Utility Vehicles, Specialized Operations Vehicles as well as Bicycles and Motorbikes for Central Business District (CBD) Administration. This is in line with the Security and Governance leg of the T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda of the Administration.
The Sanwo-Olu Administration had also approved the conclusion of the Year 2020 Promotion Exercise in a manner that demonstrates understanding, compassion and emerging realities of the time, as it takes particular note of the imminent retirement from the Public Service and the necessity to ensure that such retiring officers are not deprived of their statutory entitlement and terminal grade levels.
In recognition of the critical importance of a sustained availability of health care professionals in the State Health Sector, the present administration has embarked on seamless automatic replacement procedure in the State Health Sector and approved special allowances for health care professionals beyond the traditional hazard allowance.
In view of Mr. Governor’s conviction that enhanced staff welfare readily improves productivity, Mr. Governor approved the replacement of 35 old buses out of the fleet of 55 staff buses, used in conveying members of staff to and fro the Secretariat, with 35 brand new Marcopolo Scania Buses. The fleet covers 44 designated routes across the 5 Divisions of the State and border towns such as Akute and Mowe/Ibafo in Ogun State.
The Governor also graciously approved and released a whopping sum as Housing Loan Subvention in fulfillment of his promise to prioritize staff welfare. He has since disbursed housing loans to 1,372 Public Servants while also issuing eighty-eight (88) eligible others with letters of Allocation of Staff Quarters.
In encouraging more Public Servants to proffer solutions to identified challenges and get commensurate rewards for their ideas, the present administration, through the Office Transformation Creativity and Innovation, has also established the Creativity and Innovation (C&I) Committee in additional State Institutions such as Ikeja Local Government and Olorunda Local Council Development Area, Hospitals and Education Districts across the State.
As part of the measures to ensure that Public Servants embrace the culture of creativity and innovation, the Office of Transformation Creativity and Innovation has equally carried out a service-wide sensitization exercise on mainstreaming the culture of creativity &Innovation in the mainstream civil service, education and health sectors as well as in Local Governments (LGs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).
Similarly, the Procurement Agency has carried out series of advocacy and sensitization programmes for key internal and external stakeholders in the public procurement process. This includes Accounting Officers and other key Officers of Ministries Department and Agencies, Chairmen, Council Managers, Council Treasurers and other relevant Senior Officers of Local Governments/Local Council Development Areas of the State as well as members of the business community as the chief driver of change in the public procurement process of the State Government.
As the engine room of government, the Public Service deserves to be accorded a prime of place in the scheme of things. This, no doubt, explains the various strides of the current administration towards repositioning the State Public Service for optimal performance.
Adeniji is of the Public Affairs Unit, Public Service Office, Alausa, Ikeja