By OLASUNKANMI AKONI & MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO
Lagos — Barely 24 hours after President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated the 13-man Presidential Advisory Committee, PAC, on National Dialogue,Editor-in-Chief and General Manager Publications, Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye, Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Ikeja Branch and other eminent Nigerians, yesterday, urged PAC leadership to consider in its recommendation the issue of effective public service delivery in the country.
PAC is headed by Senator Femi Okuroumu.
They spoke at the valedictory symposium in honour of the out-going Head of Service, HoS, of Lagos State, Mr. Adesegun Ogunlewe, Ikeja, with the theme: ‘Public Service as an Instrument for Good Governance and Desired Change.’
The event chaired by Mrs. Iyabo Odulate-Yusuf, former HoS of Ogun State, had four discussants, Mr. Adefaye, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Lagos State, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youths Development, Dr. Tunji Olaopa, represented by Mr. Chike Ogbechie and Chairman of NBA, Ikeja Branch, Mr. Monday Ubani.
They were of the opinion that effectiveness of the civil service was tantamount to the development of the country, saying, “the civil servants are the salt of the country.”
According to Adefaye: “The thinking of every citizen daily is on the government whenever they experience any hardship or otherwise. Especially in Lagos, when there is traffic, the residents speak about the seat of power, Alausa. The most important people in the seat of power are the civil servants.
“Public office-holders change daily but civil servants do not change. They are the permanent provider of the government service in the country.
“Civil servants are faceless in provision of public service and one must ask what manner of services are provided by these public servants.
“They engage in poverty reduction, public provisioning, inclusiveness and engagement of the public. The expectation of the public is of economic modality and institution performance. We, as citizens love to be involved and engage in actions that affect us are taken.”
Olaopa in his remarks said: “I do not think that the civil service in the country is living up to the desired expectation. But there is every room for improvement and with the reform agenda that various governments are implementing the civil service will very soon be the salt of the nation.”
“We are advocates of an improved public service. Any initiative that will bring the required reform to the civil service is very good. We will want it to be one of the agenda of the national conference, to reposition the public service into a world class standard.”
Similarly, Ubani said: “Government is about service and if any government cannot render service, they have no reason to govern the country. When the government assumes office, the citizens have to transfer their sovereignty to people who are expected to serve our safety and welfare service.”