Edo State public service has witnessed deliberate reforms since the advent of the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration, with diverse innovations that have resulted in its metamorphosis from a transactional public service to a strategic one.
The impact of the reforms is felt from the infrastructural interventions which have seen to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the State’s civil service secretariat to a world class standard, to the establishment of a first class training institute, the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy (JOOPSA), enabling diverse capacity building initiatives for public servants in the State and across the country.
The show of concern by the State Government towards the welfare of workers in the State has resulted in regular and prompt payment of salaries, including the current 33.3 percent wage increase, leading to an up-scaling of the State’s minimum wage from thirty thousand Naira (N30,000) to forty thousand Naira (N40,000), the highest minimum wage in the whole of the country; all bearing testament to the reforms.
The tales of these reforms by the Obaseki administration echo across the nation and the globe, and like centripetal forces, have become centers of attraction to many states of the federation who now pay endless visits and tour to Edo State, in order to understudy the various reforms in the State’s public service.
Unlike proponents of a self-designing universe, it can be said that nothing in nature is known to be self-designing on its own, as there remains a force within the fabric of the universe that has meticulously scripted its self-designing nature into an infinitesimal part of a grand design. The same can be said for the deliberate efforts and will invested by Governor Obaseki, in reengineering, restructuring and rebirthing a viable and effective civil service that would outlive his administration; a structure that can run seamlessly as part of a more encompassing long term design in his MEGA agenda.
This engine of governance in Edo has been deliberately fashioned to reflect current global standards and trends in public service, running on an e-governance system and tech-based service delivery, which have become the current basis of progressive governance worldwide.
Edo has blazed the trail in this regard to become the first in the country to achieve a hundred percent adoption of e-governance with the on-boarding of all 94 ministries, departments and agencies on the e-governance platform even while many states are yet to crawl out of the woodworks. By following this singular fish, Governor Obaseki has been able to net the entire school of reforms.
Speaking recently during a leadership retreat organized by Edo State Government to benchmark targets by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) against their performance, in order to devise strategies to ensure that areas of deficits are recovered before the end of the year, the Edo State Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa Esq., remarked that the successes so far recorded of the reforms, could have only been made possible through combined efforts.
“We cannot truly succeed unless we all succeed together. A success that cannot influence or bring about success in others is certainly no good success. This is the roadmap the Governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki, has laid before us. The theme of this retreat, which says, ‘Expanding the Frontiers, Succeeding Together’, is therefore a clarion call to help each other to be the strength in the weaknesses of those who are not as strong as we are; to add our voice to their weak voices, so that together, our collective voices can be louder and heard better than the voice of each one of us. This is what has led to the successes of the various reforms in the State’s public service today. I will like to thank Mr. Governor for being an eternal inspiration to us all”, Okungbowa noted.
Speaking further, on the welfare of workers in the State, Okungbowa emphasized Governor Obaseki’s stance on regular and prompt payment of salaries and pensions in the State. According to the Head of Service, “In Nigeria today, we are in times that scare the daylight out of both the governed and the governors. Even the bold are shaken to their very foundation, but not so for our Governor. While some states are retrenching workers, Edo is employing more. Some Governors are refusing to pay minimum wage, our State is increasing minimum wage. Some Governors are not paying salaries and pensions, our Governor is not only paying but does so on or before the 26th day of every month. Workers are promoted here, where workers in other states are stagnated over the years. These are facts that are out there in the public domain. Obaseki is expanding the frontiers and making Edo great again”.
On the recruitment process in the State which has been adjudged by stakeholders and members of the public as fair, Okungbowa noted that the merit-based hiring was necessitated by the Governor’s desire to recruit a quality and efficient workforce for effective service delivery in the public service. Okungbowa said: “When I was having this conversation with His Excellency last year, when lots of people were employed into the public service, people said all manner of things with regards to the merit of the recruitment process. Mr. Governor stood his ground and he said to us that not a single person will come from him. And true to his word, not a single person came from him for recruitment”.
“The entire process was free and fair as enabled by the Governor’s stance on a viable, effective and efficient workforce. And those who have been recruited can bear testament to this. So we did all that based on merit. We are consistent with what we are doing and the public are becoming aware and conscious of the new civil and public service. Of course people have begun to recognize that things have changed in the State’s public service. There is a change in the way we do things and a change in attitude”, Okungbowa assured.
While appraising the training and retraining of workers in the State, Okungbowa stated: “When it comes to training, a lot of the trainings that we used to get from outside have been mainly domesticated here. We now have the facility, a first-of-its-kind training institute, and so it will be easier for us to be able to see and tell whether any particular staff of ours who have been sent for trainings attended or not”. Okungbowa opined that the retreat will enable heads and appointees of various MDAs learn from each other and leverage the opportunity to achieve growth and development across the board.
Public service in Edo State is on a progressive trajectory with a destination earmarked for success. The recent leadership retreat, as part of the public service reforms, is a sure way of monitoring and measuring performance in various MDAs, ensuring a performance-based public service in the State.