A pivotal aspect of Governor Kayode Fayemi’s Five Pillars of Administration is Governance (Pillar 1), which describes a vibrant Public Service as a transparent and accountable governance system, with the requisite checks and balances of an independent judiciary and legislative arms of government. This has been the hallmark of the Governor’s administration.
In line with building a sustainable Public Service system in Ekiti State, the government, through the Office of the Head of Service, organized a quarterly Public Service Lecture for Top Servants.
In his welcome address, Governor Kayode Fayemi said that the Quarterly Public Lecture is organized to re-engineer and re-orientate public servants in Ekiti State on the need to adhere to principles of efficient and effective service delivery.
“Public Service is an important aspect that conveys and implements the policies and agenda of any administration. We could recall that during my Inauguration Speech, I said Ekiti State has gone through a process of maladministration for four years. I appreciate the support of all Ekiti Kete for helping to begin the process of restoring our values and enhancing impact. As a responsible Government, things can only get better for all of us in the state if we stick to our principle, commitment, professionalism and to the efficient delivery of services to our people,” he said.
The Governor also mentioned that Public Service is the engine room of any government and hoped to see a Public Service that is built on policy thrust of dignity, respect, professionalism, competence, character, commitment, loyalty, visionary leadership and efficient service delivery.
His Excellency also affirmed that the appointment of the present Head of Service, Mr. Ayodeji Ajayi was a combination of a process that exemplifies all of these values.
“It was based on merit and a committee was set up chaired by the renowned Professor Ladipo Adamolekun and a very senior public servant who examined the five most senior permanent secretaries before arriving at the choice of the current Head of Service and he has been working assiduously to ensure the functionality of the public service as against what was obtainable in the past when permanent secretaries were chosen with a dice and senior officials were appointed on the wheels of caprices of ‘Mr. Governor’. I am of the opinion that if we ensure that the process that we undertake in selecting our senior public servant is as important as the eventual product, efficient service delivery will definitely not be a problem and then we can appoint people who can firmly but respectfully tell the number one servant of the state that what they are being asked to do is not in line with proper procedures of the Administration,” he said.
He also mentioned that the Mission of this present Administration is to change the lives of Ekiti Kete and restore the values of the land.
“This is not a campaign slogan but a call to chart a new course of sustainable development for our state and my vision for Ekiti State is that it should become a place where people can thrive and live their lives in dignity, a place where workers do not labour in vain and a state where we all can be proud of either at home or in the diaspora,” he said.
Speaking at the event tagged; ‘Restoring the Values of Ekiti State: Prospects in the Public Service’, Guest Lecturer, Professor Akin Oyebode highlighted the core values of Ekiti people. During the Lecture, Professor Oyebode discussed ‘the Public Service as the Repository of Modern-Day Mandarins’.
“The public service or, plainly speaking, the bureaucracy was conceived by the Chinese under the Ch’in dynasty as a state organ comprising the best and brightest in the land to steer the Empire toward development and modernity. Among the consequences of the mandarin system was centralization and rise in efficiency of governance and consolidation of power and authority in the hands of the Emperor and his officials.
“In Nigeria, the civil service, as we know it, was bequeathed by British colonialism as an overlay on the administrative system of the traditional rulers. The paucity of staff had compelled the British to develop indirect rule under which the alien colonial apparatus existed pari passu with the traditional system they had met on ground upon their arrival in these parts,” he explained.
While discussing on the Core Values of Ekiti People, the Guest Lecturer said that, the base of the Ekiti socio-economic formation being the predominantly agrarian productive forces coupled with resultant agrarian production relations both of which gave rise to a corresponding superstructure of values, there is no gainsaying the fact that the inter-relationship of the people reflected yeoman attitudes of affinity, diligence, adherence to principles, honesty and exuding social solidarity encapsulated in Yoruba culture, especially the concept of omoluabi which actuates each and every Yoruba person.
“As part and parcel of the Yoruba ethnic nationality, the Ekiti people have inculcated and imbibed these values in their inter-personal relations and general world-view. Accordingly, it is not only the hilly terrain of their homestead which helped to solidify their oneness but also the farmsteads which surrounded various Ekiti settlements, as well as their predilection for pounded yam and palm wine, became something of badges of identity within the aggregation of inhabitants of this vast country.
While speaking on ‘Restoring Ekiti Values: Role of the Public Service’, the Professor of Law discussed that, “the pivotal role of the civil and public service plays in the scheme of things would, it seems, guaranteed by the quality of men and women recruited into its ranks, the extent to which the cadre had imbibed Ekiti values and compliance with set rules and guidelines in the day-to-day activities of the state apparatchiks. Thus, maintenance of discipline grounded in the ethos of Ekiti people becomes the elixir for the entrenchment of the Ekiti character in the way and manner in which they carry on.”
“Since the service is structured along hierarchical lines, the success of all effort to make Ekiti values a touchstone of the administrative apparatus of Ekiti state hinges on the ability of the leadership of the service to imbibe these values and, subsequently, inculcate same in the subordinate cadres and succeeding generations,” he said.
Making a Summary conclusion, Professor Oyebode said that while Ekiti people had endured a diminution of their values in the recent past, it is fit and proper that there is a felt need to resuscitate our cherished behavioral patterns anchored on tested impulses and ethos which over the ages had constituted bastions of our people’s survival and progress.
“Pursuant to this, it is self-evident that public service has a critical role to play. As the organ of government with the largest number of employees in the state, it has a pivotal role to play in the re-discovery and re-entrenchment of the traditional values which hitherto had done a lot to sustain and support the growth and development of Ekiti people,” he said.
Also present at the event are; Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi; Head of Service, Mr. Ayodeji Ajayi; Chief of Staff, Mr. Abiodun Omoleye; Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Abiodun Oyebanji; Members of the State Executive Council, Permanent Secretaries, Political Appointees amongst other top government functionaries and stakeholders alike.