Building a 21st century workforce with training

The Akinwunmi Ambodeled administration has embarked on series of seminars and trainings for the Lagos State public servants. The programmes are to bring out the best of the public service and make the state’s workforce sustain the tradition of excellence in service delivery. In this report, MURITALA AYINLA x-rays the trainings and the expected benefits

By May 29, 2017, Lagos will be rolling out drums in celebration of its Golden Jubilee. The day will certainly mark the 50th year the state was created by the military in 1967. Lagos will not only be celebrating the golden jubilee of unbroken years of accomplishments but of many uncommon achievements and ground breaking records which have undoubtedly endeared the state to virtually every Nigerian.

Lagos is obviously not the only state in Nigeria that will be marking 50th year of existence on that day but not all the states can really boast of the state’s achievements in the last five decades for many reasons.

From the economic viability which has not only been responsible for the growing population of the state to the relatively harmony in the state of aquatic splendour which many believe was responsible for why the state is home to everyone regardless of religious, ethnic and other known differences, Lagos is home to the poor and the super-rich in Nigeria such that every present or past political office holder or public figure owns a house in Lagos irrespective of their state of origin.

The clement atmospheric weather condition of Lagos of course does not only excite Nigerians but also foreigners who prefer to own a house in Lagos or stay in hotels located in the state. The contribution of the state to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product is certainly significant such that the state is currently ranked the fourth largest economy in Africa according to the state government.

In spite of the obvious challenges confronting the state as a cosmopolitan city with the largest population on the smallest land mass in the country, the state is still largely seen as the safe haven for most foreign and Nigerian investors and where young graduates, illiterates, semi-illiterates, artisans run to in search of a greener pasture.

The state is also seen as a place where the retired and serving Nigerian public servants want to enjoy their wealth. Such were few of the significances of Lagos to many Nigerians and, indeed, friends of Lagos who have different success stories to tell of what Lagos is to them. It is a land of opportunity, freedom, creativity, business, success, talent, entertainment, struggle, peace, joy, religion, ups and downs.

All these cannot be achieved in Lagos without thousands of people regarded as the state public servants and otherwise called the ‘engine room’ of Lagos. Although many hinged Lagos’ success story on the leadership of the state both past and present, e x – perts argued that Lagos could not have achieved its status in the country without some dedicated and highly committed workforce who tactically implement the policies of the state government, irrespective of the system of government under which the state had operated at different times.

Hence, upon his assumption as the 14th Executive Governor of Lagos State, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode earmarked billions of Naira for the training of the state’s ‘engine room’ which were said to be responsible for the state’s numerous fits in the comity of states in Nigeria.

The trainings and seminars, which were held at Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Pearlwort Hotel and Suites, Ikeja were organized by the Lagos State Ministry of Establishments, Training and Pensions in conjunction with Messrs. XLS Consulting Limited and Messrs. Baywatch Consulting Limited.

The trainings, which cut across public servants in the state’s Ministry, Departments and Agencies were held in batches of two-day session (Tuesdays to Wednesdays and Thursdays to Fridays) at the venues.

Speaking during one of the trainings tagged:” Leadership Development and Performance Enhancement for Public Servants in Lagos State”, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said that since his assumption as the state governor, his core mission was to pursue the conduct of trainings and workshops aimed at increasing the competencies and productivity of individual officers with a view to contributing to the overall productivity and effectiveness of the Lagos State Public Service.

According to the governor, the enormous value that knowledge and skills training bring to bear on the attainment of the strategic objectives of the government and the public service of Lagos State made him to always be in the vanguard of advocating for the institutionalisation of essential training programmes that benefit the most strategically-placed officers in the Lagos State Public Service.

Having served as the state’s Accountant General, Ambode said that he agreed with the facilitators of the training that high performances have been known to increase in organisations that expose their human capital to leadership development through training, adding that trainings would translate into more dynamism, effectiveness and efficiency for the Lagos State Public Service.

The governor, therefore charged workers to work with his administration by transforming Lagos from Mega City to a Smart City through diligence, commitment and dedication to duty without discrimination to anyone, saying that he remains committed to running an all-inclusive government that leaves no one behind irrespective of religion, tribe and other differences.

Ambode said:”I therefore challenge you all to join in envisioning our dear Lagos State Civil Service as an organisation where no problem will be too complicated, no task too Herculean, no challenge too huge, and no task too complicated for it to confront head-on. You should therefore regard this train-ing as yet another effort at kickstarting the monumental task of helping every officer of the public service become impactful, influential and productive to such degrees that the output of the Lagos State Civil Service will inspire our dear citizens.”

Emphasising the significance of the training, the state’s Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions Dr. Akintola Benson Oke, said that periodic training of the state’s workforce was undoubtedly responsible for the state’s unparalleled giant strides in many areas.

He stated that there was need to train and retrain the state’s workforce because citizens have become sophisticated and exposed to the standards of governance in other climes such that their expectations have been conditioned to demand and insist on compliance with global best practices at all levels of governance.

According to him: “While we emphasise on the need to train and re-train, we must also commend our governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, for blazing the trail in the training.

That is why Lagos is working under his leadership. Is it on the LAKE RICE production which many Lagosians are commending?

Or the construction of 114 roads, the flyover bridges or the lay-bys which have done the magic on the hitherto traffic gridlock prone areas or the huge investments in the security with equipment recently given to our Rapid Respond Squad, RRS and other security operatives?

Just recently, Rockefeller Foundation, that renowned global organisation was looking for the state that will be categorised as one of the 100 most resilient cities in the world. Our own Lagos was categorised as one. How else can we evaluate the impact of Lagos and its achievement?”

“Thankfully in Lagos State, we have a government that has boldly embraced this challenge and is, in fact, executing a reasoned-out plan to transform governance and its processes in such a way that the ever-changing and complex expectations of citizens can be admirably met.

Led by His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, the present administration in Lagos State is poised to examine those areas, processes and institutions and practices that need to be overhauled or remodelled in order to achieve this end.”

The Commissioner, however, charged workers to aspire to the high standards of governance that the citizens expect from the government, urging them to wholeheartedly embrace this training and open their minds to the new ideas that will be proposed as they are responsible for the formulation and execution of government policies.

With the training, experts said Lagos has a brighter rewarding future, if the workers reflect the lesson learnt in the series of workshops, saying that the “Itesiwaju Eko” mantra would better be implemented with the training expenses justified when workers do not only envision the dreams of the leadership but also strive to actualise them.

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