1. Welcome to 2021! No doubt 2020 was a difficult year for several reasons. On a calm assessment of that year, we do have a lot to be thankful for.
2. We should start the new year with much gratitude and positive thoughts. Looking forward, it is also necessary that our experience in 2020 shapes in very specific ways our agenda for 2021.
3. It is for this reason that I am proposing “Healthy Living and Professional Development” as the Ministry of Justice(MoJ) theme for 2021.
4. On healthy living, in the first quarter of this year we will pursue a ” medical test for all” policy. As a first step, we will explore the modalities for all staff in the MoJ to take COVID-19 tests.
5. I hope we can all agree that COVID-19 pandemic is real and worse still there is a new strain of the virus in Nigeria and possibly in Ekiti State.
6. We must arm ourselves with sufficient information about the virus. We need to be well informed on all aspects of the virus not only for our wellbeing but also for message transmission.
7. Many of our people do not believe that the virus is real and an unacceptable number of those that believe are under a false illusion that the virus has left Ekiti State.
8. The MoJ must play an important role in government’s public awareness programme. Specific details on how we can intervene will be discussed at our first 2021 meeting of heads of department.
9. Our medical test for all policy is not limited to COVID-19. We operate in a high-pressure workplace. It is therefore necessary that we seek medical advice on all aspects of our health. Details of the framework for medical examination of all MoJ staff will be published shortly.
10. In 2020, many of us raised the level of our professional standing, especially with professional qualifications. I am particularly proud of those who enrolled for professional courses, second degrees, masters programs and are undertaking PhD Programmes.
11. My desire is for us to achieve a level of professionalism that is hitherto unknown in the public service of Ekiti State. We will continue to support the career progression of all staff (lawyers and non-lawyers alike).
12. For our Administrative Staff, I look forward to receiving concrete proposals from our Director of Administration and Supplies (DAS) on career development opportunities.
13. One of the lessons from 2020 was the need to take advantage of career-enhancing opportunities available to us.
14. The Fayemi Administration is irrevocably committed to identifying and promoting excellence. The process of progressing through the ranks is now clear for all to see. We simply have to do better than our best, particularly in all public service examinations.
15. All staff must prepare for mock examinations in the first quarter of this year. The MOJ Academy will unveil a curriculum for refresher courses specifically in the appreciation of IT and public service rules. The ” Introduction to MoJ” programme for new staff will commence in the middle of January.
16. So that we are all clear, in addition to professional qualifications that many staff will undoubtedly attain this year, for Lawyers our target for 2021 is as follows:
a) We must strive to produce at least one judge of the State High Court and at least one Judge in any other superior court of record.
b) We must strive to produce at least two permanent secretaries in the Ekiti State public service (subject availability of vacancies and when such openings will be declared).
c) We must strive to submit at least four applications for Senior Advocate of Nigeria from the Ministry of Justice in 2021.
d) Concerning academic qualifications, I fully expect that this year will produce multiple masters degrees and for those working on their PhD programmes, they should take urgent steps to conclude by the end of the year.
17. You will also recall that at our end of 2020 meeting, I did mention that we will commence the process of staff evaluation. I have said that the lopsided nature of staff commitment to work is not acceptable to me.
18. It is simply not fair that while some staff work 8:00 am till late, five days a week, some barely show up for work at all and some appear to be permanently on holidays. The process of staff evaluation will commence in February 2021. The purpose of this evaluation is not only to identify staff strengths and weaknesses but also identify those whose services may best be required outside the Ministry or the Public Service of Ekiti State.
19. We will continue to identify capacity building opportunities for the benefit of staff. While at the same time take steps to improve staff conditions of service including our working environment.
20. I look forward to my meeting with all Departments next week to further discuss our 2021 Activity Plan.
Please accept my very best wishes for 2021.
Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice