By Etim Etim
In the midst of a seeming national despair, it is so uplifting to see some citizens rise to the occasion to offer succour to others and support our government in delivering service to the people.
In the last few years, businesses and some members of the privileged class have been engaged in many acts of kindness to Nigerians, but the work of the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation in partnering with the federal government to digitalize the operations of the federal civil service, starting with the Office of the Head of the Federal Civil Service, is uniquely stunning and exemplary.
We often hear of the rich offering food to the poor and giving out scholarships to indigent students, but the idea of a private citizen offering to pay for the digitalization of the operations of the federal bureaucracy and training of civil servants is not common. What is the philosophical underpinning of this gesture? Is Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, banker, investor, philanthropist and Chairman of the Foundation influenced by his personal experience? His father, we recall, was a senior federal civil servant when the bureaucracy was largely driven by competence, merit and professionalism.
On Tuesday, October 26, the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) signed an agreement with the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation to formally mark their collaboration to digitalize the work of the OHCSF, with the implementation of an Enterprise Content Management Solution (ECMS). The ECMS solution will create efficiency and effectiveness in the OHCSF and ensure the integrity of processes and their outcomes, as well as reposition the federal civil service for better performance and improved quality of service. It was quite fitting that the signing ceremony happened during the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit and was witnessed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who has in the last six years been championing Ease of Doing Business in the country. Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, signed on behalf of OHCSF and Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, signed for his Foundation. Present at the ceremony were the Executive Vice Chair of the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation, Mrs Ofovwe Aig-Imoukhuede, as well as several Federal Permanent Secretaries.
The 27th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES 27) which held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, was a gathering of national and global leaders in government, business, politics, civil society and academia to deliberate on the theme ‘Securing Our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now’. I attended the Summit and was greatly impressed as stakeholders debated, discussed, examined, explored and conceptualized ways our country could reverse poor economic trends, improve human capital base of the economy and mitigate security challenges. One of the summit’s sub-themes was Digital Transformation. Earlier on the second day of the Summit, Mr Aig-Imoukhuede had participated as a panel discussant in the plenary session on ‘Mobilizing for Political Economy Development’, while Mrs. Aig-Imoukhuede moderated the plenary on ‘Urgency and Audacity of Public Sector Reform: Driving Change and Accountability’.
The Head of the Civil Service, Mrs Yemi-Esan also served as a discussant on the Public Sector Reform plenary. She spoke of the incremental positive change that has occurred in the service over the years, and harped encomiums on the contributions of the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation for its assistance.
The partnership between the OHCSF and the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG), a subsidiary of the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation, dates back to 2017, when the two entities signed a Memorandum of Understanding. AIG engaged the services of Mckinsey & Co to develop the Federal Civil Service Strategy & Implementation Plan 2017-2020 (FCSSIP20) and since that time, the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation and its subsidiary entities have been working with the OHCSF, supporting the implementation of some of the key priority areas outlined in FCSSIP20. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the urgent need for the civil service to digitalize, and the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation has been working with the OHCSF, providing necessary consulting support, resources and funding for the digitalization project.
The digitalisation project has been implemented in stages with the first stage being the development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which have since been completed by the OHCSF and are currently undergoing adoption by all the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). The second stage was the Organisational Readiness Assessment which assessed the OHCSF’s state of readiness to adopt the ECMS and measure future outcomes of the project implementation. Additionally, the OHCSF is preparing for ISO 9001-2015 (Quality Management System) certification, which will provide direction for establishing an effective and responsive compliance management system within the OHCSF, enhancing organisational readiness for the ECMS. A Joint Evaluation Panel set up by the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation and the OHCSF identified a suitable ECMS vendor and the project is now at the final stages of implementation.
Aig-Imoukhuede said, “Our mission at the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation is driving improved public service delivery and we are committed to supporting the efforts of the public sector to increase its effectiveness so that it can deliver on its mandate to the Nigerian people. As we approach the final stage of the digitalisation project, I am confident that this will mark the beginning of a new era of increased efficiency in the Federal Civil Service. ”
Dr Folasade Yemi- Esan, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation was equally enthusiastic in her assessment. “We are committed to improving public service delivery and efficiency to ensure that the people of Nigeria have a seamless experience of federal services. The digitalisation of our work processes will enable us to be more effective and I commend the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation for partnering with us to achieve this. It is a true testament to the role that public-private sector collaboration can play in national development and I hope that this partnership will inspire other entities in the public and private sectors to collaborate to build a better Nigeria’’, she said.
In 2017, Prof Yemi Osinbajo facilitated the partnership between the OHCSF and the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation to develop a clear communicable action plan building on the Federal Civil Service Strategic Plan 2017-2019, and an MoU between the OHCSF and the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation was signed to establish the relationship. The Foundation supported with the revised strategic plan through engagement of Mckinsey & Company, and the Federal Civil Service Strategy & Implementation Plan 2017-2020 (FCSSIP20) was developed. The VP (then Ag. President) presided over the Steering Committee meeting on the revised strategic plan and directed that a memo be presented to FEC for approval. 0n 12 July 2017, FEC approved the Federal Civil Service Strategy & Implementation Plan 2017-2020 (FCSSIP 2017-2020) which has been implemented with continued strategic support and funding from the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation.
In line with the digitalisation objectives of the Federal Civil Service, the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation collaborated with the OHCSF to develop a policy on virtual meetings pertinent to the workplace disruption caused by the COVID 19 pandemic. Currently, an Enterprise Content Management Solution (ECMS) aimed at digitalizing the work of the OHCSF, which is one of the priority areas of the FCSSIP 2017-2020 that the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation is partnering with the OHCSF to achieve. The ECMS provides the ability to manage electronic content through the entire life cycle of a process document, including document creation, distribution, utilisation, retention, and disposition.
Etim, a PR practitioner/journalist, is a former staff of Access Bank.