“Everybody is standing, but you must stand out.
Everybody is breaking grounds; but you must breakthrough!
Everybody scratching it; but you must scratch it hard!
Everybody is going, but you must keep going extra miles!
Dare to be exceptionally excellent and why not?”
IT is never difficult to write a tribute in honour of exceptional people. Indeed, one would suppose that Mrs. Folasade Oluwatosin Ogunnaike personally received and imbibed the admonition of Israelmore Ayivor right at the outset of her illustrious career. Anyone who takes a cursory look at her profile or who sets out to evaluate her career trajectory finds the story of a hardworking, principled, energetic and competent civil servant.
Did she stand when duty called for standing? Yes. But she not only stood but ‘stood out.’ Did she attempt to break new grounds in her various career positions? Yes, indeed. And, what is more, she broke through to establish new standards of competence and earnestness. Did she merely work? No! She worked hard! Did she merely obediently go where duty sent her? No! She always went the extra miles. She dared to be exceptional. She reached for excellence. She left indelible marks of competence on the projects she worked on. It is therefore not surprising that, concerning her, the saying of the Holy Book has become fulfilled that the one who is diligent in his/her work will not stand before mere men but will stand before kings and princes. It is a testimony to her diligence, competence, hard work and passion that she was entrusted with many high profile and delicate assignments during her service years.
In Mrs.Ogunnaike, we celebrate a well-rounded and vastly experienced loyal civil servant. Her career in the civil service has taken her round the entire gamut of the administration of Lagos State. She dutifully served at the then Ministry of Employment and Civil Service Matters as an Administrative Officer; she faithfully executed her duties at the then Office of Head of Service and Secretary to the State Military Government; and at the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture, she showed class and creativity as the Principal Personnel Officer and Board Secretary seconded from the Ministry of Information. Vibrant and enterprising, she was appointed as an Assistant Director to head the Women Affairs Department in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, rose to the position of director, was appointed a Permanent Secretary in February, 2015 and now ends her illustrious career as the Permanent Secretary of the Office of Establishments and Training in the foundational and most important Civil Servants-focused ministry, the Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions.
When I first started working closely with Mrs. Ogunnaike in 2015, I had no doubt that she had in her the qualities, experience and wisdom required to execute the vision I have for the Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions. One could depend on her to have a bespoke solution to the most intricate problem or challenge; one could depend on her to come up with the novel and creative ideas needed to justify groundbreaking proposals, one could count on her to identify the pitfalls in proposals under consideration, one could be sure that she knew where to turn and to whom in times of crises and emergencies, and, very importantly, one could trust her to say the truth at all times. Added to her competence and experience, everybody at the Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions found in her a graceful and beautiful woman with a compassionate heart. It is no wonder then that I fondly refer to her as the Amazon of the entire Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions.
As the Permanent Secretary in the Office of Establishments and Training, she had responsibility as the accounting officer for formulating Establishments and Training policies for the entire State Public Service; for determining Establishments matters, including staff complements, grading and conditions of appointments in conjunction with the Office of the Head of Service; for coordinating attendance and participation at the meetings of the National Council on Establishments; for the issuance of Establishments circulars, guidelines and interpretation on the use of Public Service Rules and Schemes of Service; for the Service-wide management of the staff records; for the organisation of the Joint Public Service Negotiation Council meetings; and for the Management of industrial relations with the accredited Trade Unions.
As the supervising authority for the Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions, I can attest that she performed creditably and excellently as the Permanent Secretary of the Office of Establishments and Training. For these reasons and many more, the Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions and, indeed, the entire Lagos State Civil Service will surely miss Mrs. Ogunnaike’s deep knowledge, wide experience, exceptional competence and good-natured personality.
It is therefore with joy that I, Dr. Akintola Benson Oke, the Honourable Commissioner for the Lagos State Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions, on behalf of His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State, lead the entire Public Service of Lagos State in congratulating Mrs. Folasade Oluwatosin Ogunnaike on this occasion of her meritorious retirement. The accolades in this tribute and in the many other tributes written and unwritten are well deserved and, if the laws permit us, we would want to keep her in service. Yet, we realise the value of rest after years of labour and hard work in the service of the government of Lagos State.
I wish the ebullient and dynamic administrator, Mrs. Folasade Oluwatosin Ogunnaike God’s speed. In the words of the famous Irish Blessing, here is a prayer from the entire staff of the Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
*Dr. Benson Oke, Hon. Commissioner, Lagos State Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions.