By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has sworn in 21 new permanent secretaries of the Federal civil service.
The brief ceremony held at the council chambers just before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council meeting.
Recall that 300 candidates from federal government ministries, departments and agencies sat for the examinations meant to fill in 20 vacant positions of the service.
The candidates went through three levels of examination, including relevant public service and policy issues, information and communication technology (ICT) assessment test and oral interview.
The newly sworn in permanent secretaries are: Ehuria Georgina Ekeoma (Abia), posted to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Akpan Edet Sunday (Akwa Ibom), posted to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment .
Abdullahi Abdulazeez Mashi (Katsina), posted to Ministry of Communications, Adebiyi Bolaji Adekunle (Lagos), posted to the Ministry of Labour and Productivity.
Ibrahim Musa Wen (Nasarawa), posted to Ministry of Water Resources, Odewale Samson Olajide (Ogun), posted to the Head of Service of the Federation, Adesola Olusade (Ondo), posted to Ministry of Youths and Sports, Umar Mohammed Bello (Sokoto) posted to the Office of the Secretary to the Federation and Gabriel Tanimu (FCT), posted to the Office of the Secretary to the Federation.
Others are ;Anagbogu Ifeoma Nkiruka ((Anambra), posted to the Ministry of Women Affairs, Walson-Jack Diiarau Didi Esther (Bayelsa), posted to the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.
“Gekpe George Isu (Cross River), posted to Ministry of Information and Culture, Aliboh Leon Lawrence (Delta), posted to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
“Uwaifo Osarenona Clement (Edo), posted to the Ministry of Health, Folayan Ayodele Olaniyi (Ekiti), posted to the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation,
In his remarks shortly after the 21 permanent secretaries took their oath of office, Osinbajo told them it’s their responsibility to ensure that they carry out to fullest all of the anti-corruption programmes of the government.
He emphasized that the federal government is committed to its anti-corruption programme saying” It is easy to speak about corruption and to speak about anti-corruption programmes but we want to emphasize that we do not believe that any nation can survive at the level of corruption that we have witnessed in our country in the past years.
He contended that It is completely impossible to implement government policies or programmes or to ensure the benefit of economic programmes or the benefits of democracy will ever reach the ordinary man if corruption continues at the level it has been in previous years.
He said; This is why our commitment to corruption is not just a glib reference, it is not just glib talk, it is important, crucial and as a matter of fact as the President has said, if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us.
“It is your responsibilities as Permanent Secretaries especially these new corp to Permanent Secretaries chosen and selected on merit to ensure that you carry out to fullest all of the anti-corruption programmes of this government. And to ensure also that in your practice and in your conduct that you are also above board, “.
Osinbajo told the new permanent secretaries that their appointment was confirmed after a rigorous election process undertaken by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and her team of retired Heads of Service, Permanent Secretaries, seasoned technocrats and members of the organised private sector.
In other words, he noted their appointment on a state by state basis is on merit and they are here to be presented to this nation as the best that our civil service can offer.
He emphasized that the process of appointment of the Permanent Secretaries is one that was conducted in the fairest possible way and expressed hope this is the way that it will continue by this rigorous process of examination and tests that will bring the best that this nation can offer.
He added: “You come into office at a crucial moment also in our national history. First we are the course of a radical economy recovery and growth effort that has as its core the implementation of a comprehensive diversification of the Nigerian economy.
“We are also implementing a major reform of public finance system, emphasizing integrity and fiscal prudence.
“These reforms are being effected in the context of our determined anti-corruption programme and this effort cannot succeed without a competent and committed civil service corp led by your good selves.
As part of that reform effort, he explained that four executive orders have been signed. Executive 001, is on promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment to ensure that public servants offers prompt service in a predictable and transparent manner and sanction undue delays.
“Executive order 002, is on prompt submission of annual budgetary estimates by all statutory or non-statutory agencies of the Federal Government including incorporated companies wholly owned by the Federal Government. The deadline for this was on or before the end of July.
“Executive Orders 003, is on the support for local content in public procurement, the Ministries, Department and Agencies of government to promote patronage for made in Nigeria goods and services .
“Executive Order 004, is on the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme to provide an opportunity for tax payers who are in default under all relevant status to voluntarily declare their assets and Income and pay taxes on them while getting some benefits such as waivers of interests and penalties,”
He added that these executive orders and several other directives of the Federal Government are meant to ensure that the reform programmes of the Federal Government succeeds.
“Your role in it cannot be over emphasized. Your role is not just to provide direction and leadership but also in the training of the core of the Civil Service and that is under your care and charge.
” We expect that Permanent Secretaries will be the drivers of the implementation of the Executive Orders and this is why training programme has been undertaken in order to do so and it is a continuos programme of training.
“Your coming into office at this time is a good signal and I believe very strongly that it will be an opportunity to for a reset in some cases of projects and programmes that up till now may not have been fully implemented,” he stated.
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