Governor Godwin Obaseki
By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has attributed the failure of the Nigerian system to the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of its bureaucracy, saying: “When the key organs of government do not work, particularly the civil/public service, then the country and the system of that country cannot work.”
Obaseki spoke at the onboarding ceremony of the 219 newly recruited civil and public servants at John Odigie-Oyegun Public Service Academy, JOOPSA, in Benin City.
The governor said his administration was committed to reforming the civil service, equipping it with the right manpower and tools to effectively deliver on its role of enhancing development in the state.
He said: “The reason that Nigeria is not working is that its public service is not working at the federal, state, and local government levels.
“We all sit down and complain about Nigeria but there is a reason Nigeria does not work. When the key organs of government do not work, particularly the civil/public service, then the country and the system of that country cannot work.
“We have to have certain people with a certain mindset, who know that every day when they wake up in the morning, they have certain duties and responsibilities to carry on for the benefit of the people. That is why it is called public service.
“Every one of you here was recruited on the basis of merit. I, as the governor, just witnessed the process because it is not right and good for the system when we do not have objective criteria to bring people into the system.
“We are insisting and ensuring that the best comes into the system. The United Kingdom changed their Prime Minister three times last year, yet the country did not stop working because the civil service kept on running.”
To the newly recruited workers, he said: “You’re not being hired to serve yourself or your family, but the people. The day you deviate from that, that day you have missed the plot and that is what has happened in Nigeria.
“Do not be intimidated as long as you’re doing the right thing. If anybody says you should do something you know is not right, don’t do it, even if they threaten to sack you because you earned this appointment based on merit. Please note that your responsibility is not to any man but to God and the people.
“Don’t be corrupt. Things are tough but always look around and see how many other people things are even tougher for. There is difficulty in the country today because leadership has been very selfish in responding to the needs of the people on how to grow our economy. Everybody just wants to do for himself and they forget that we are all better off when we work for all of us.”
“Also, you have to work smart. The civil service that we are handing over to you is radically different from what we met. All the services we are going to be providing going into the future are mostly going to be anchored on technology, which gives us a lot of transparency and gets feedback from the people on the service you’re rendering to them.”
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