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Oyo-Ita and Nigerian civil service’s future

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Buhari

For better part of the last decade, the Nigerian civil service sector was largely entrapped in a swamp of corruption, incompetence, nepotism, and all the similar negatives adjectives one could think of. Expectedly and quite rightly, this has made many Nigerians jittery.

But Nigeria is not the only victim of the jitters. It is an economic epidemic, so to say, that has befallen the sector especially in Africa. But today, there is greater confidence in the Nigerian Civil Service going by the recent reforms by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, and her team.

Since her appointment as the HoCSF in January 2016, Oyo-Ita has not hidden her vision for the civil service, which is to develop and institutionalize an Efficient, Productive, Incorruptible and Citizen-Centred (EPIC) culture. Going by this development, the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation under the leadership of Mrs. Oyo-Ita came up with a three-year strategy and implementation plan to chart a new course for the service and reposition it as an effective machinery of government for improved service delivery.

The 2017-2020 Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan, which was launched in February 2017, is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s “Change Mantra” and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). The strategy, according to the OHCSF, is anchored on four goals, which is in tandem with Pillar Four of the National Strategy for Public Service Reforms (NSPSR). This great strategy kicked off on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, with a three-day retreat for members of the Project Management Teams in Calabar, Cross River State.

It is worthwhile to note that this is the Nigeria’s first ever home-grown Federal Civil Service reform. Reforms in the past have been initiated and as well facilitated by the World Bank, Department for International Development and other foreign bodies, but the 2017-2020 FCSSIP, crafted by Oyo-Ita’s team was actualised by civil servants, and is being implemented by civil servants. After her eloquent and graphic presentation in Calabar recently, the Head of Service expressed optimism that the new strategy which has a 100 per cent chance of success is crucial to the success of the ERGP.

“This is a civil service reform that is homegrown, it is not brought to us by the World Bank or some foreign loaner; it is think-tank output which has resulted in a strategy document that we believe can push the service to a world class level that we have all being praying for,” Oyo-Ita said. According to her, “We identified one critical cause of failure of past reforms, we examined the need to have a governance structure, we need to implement these reforms on a day-to-day basis, we also need to micro-manage the actualisation of these reforms.

“It is this project management teams that have been set-up based on the eight key priority areas, and each priority area is being governed by one project management team, brought from across the service. “It is a programme that have been developed by civil servants and it is going to be implemented by civil servants.”

As to be expected Oyo-Ita gave facts and figures to buttress her assertion that in no distant time, all will be well with the Nigerian civil service. But as she herself said at some point, it is not about the money or numbers, but it is essentially about making real difference in the lives of civil servants.

On this score, she was particularly proud of what the implementation of the new strategy will bring, noting that it is a win-win for both the civil service and the country. You may recall that the OHCSF received a presidential intervention following the launch of the strategy in February 2017 that culminated in OHCSF signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG) which is an indigenous donor to support its implementation.

Highlighting part of what the Federal Government tends to gain, Oyo-Ita said, includes the FCSSIP to deliver N60-N120bn savings from cleaning Human Resources data on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), save about N2.5 billion from digitizing content, train at least 25,000 civil servants through the revamp core modules and cultivate at least 200 future leaders through the Leadership Enhancement and Development Programme (LEAD-P).

The eight PMTs, which were constituted and inaugurated by the HoS in December, 2017, are expected to drive day to day implementation of eight priority initiatives for the 2017-2020 FCSSIP.

The priority areas according to the Head of Service include; capacity development and training; talent sourcing; performance management; staff welfare; culture change; innovation; Integrated Personnel and Pay Roll Information System (IPPIS); and Civil Service Automation. Addressing questions raised on why this new strategy is different from past ones, which had little or no impact in the service, Oyo-Ita said adequate steps were taken to review the failures of past administrations and measures have been put in place to avoid repeating past mistakes.

Explaining further, the Head of Service mentioned some of the expected outcomes to include improved staff competences and skills through well targeted and funded programmes across all grade levels, result-based performance and meritocratic environment for civil servants with clarity on metrics, clear career path value proposition, more innovative civil service that brings in innovation from within and outside the service to improve service delivery, improved productivity and governance for human resources administration across all the processes with full transparency on civil and public servants in the system.

As a first-hand observer at the 3-day retreat for the Project Management Teams, I agree with her and wish to add that even if the situation is dire (which she said is not), we need to re-assure ourselves that all is well. We will call evil upon our country by exaggerating our fears. Agonizing unnecessarily at this point will do us more harm than good.

There is growing confidence in the civil service following the implementation of the FCSSIP, which has created enthusiasm among civil servants, who now have a rejuvenated hope for a better and more prosperous civil service, a belief that has been long lost.

 

· Omokwe writes from Abuja.

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Opinions

Ikedi Ohakim, Imo and the ghost of 2011

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To flow with this essay, the reader is advised to first put on the cap of objectivism as reading without it will be tantamount to wasting scarce energy reading the “nonsense” that is not.

Yesterday in Owerri at the Wetherell Road Roundabout, curiosity drew me to one of the newsstands where I was greeted with the caption on one of the local papers titled “Polls Favour Ohakim for Imo Governor”. My first natural reaction was indifference as I do not have the singular power to make or deny anybody from being what he or she is destined to be.

However, throughout the night, I unconsciously busied myself thinking aloud who truly deserved to be best as governor for Imo come 2019. This was after considering reactions that trailed my last published article with the caption “NDIMO, PLEASE KNOW YOUR ENEMIES”.

In the said article, I summarily adduced that all characters today in the so-called “Allied Forces” in the Imo APC seeking to destroy Governor Rochas Okorocha for what he is, are also enemies to Ndimo. I explained their sins one by one and showed some of the roles they all played in bringing in the Okorocha pestilence upon Imo. That they are after Governor Okorocha today is not just by good intent, but for survival war against the fact that Okorocha desired to retire them from relevance in Imo while he (Okorocha) and his family enjoy alone.

At the point of his un-ceremonial handover to Governor Okorocha on May 29, 2011, available indisputable records show that Ohakim handed over about N28 billion to our governor. These were monies from balance of bond money from the FG acquired to work on the dredging of Nworie River in Owerri; another sum was from the education sector (SUBEB/UBEC) and others. There has been no mention till today that Imo State was indebted to anyone at this point in 2011. As a matter of fact, it is even being claimed in some quarters that previous debts of the state acquired in the days of Dee Sam Mbakwe were cleared and paid off under Ohakim after Achike Udenwa started it.

Ohakim handed over a lot of money and assets such as buildings, equipment, land and such other capital related properties to Okorocha that the Ogboko-born governor exclaimed to the world that “Imo State is very rich”.

Sadly, today, and at the last count, Imo State under Governor Okorocha is said to have borrowed so much that it has now plunged back into debts running to more than N100 billion with nothing meaningful to show for it.

I have never been a fan of Ohakim. In fact, I was one of the people who demanded for his head when it was alleged that he beat a Reverend Father. It was mainly because of that allegation that many of us hated him and celebrated his removal. Today, the world has come to know that Ohakim never truly beat a Reverend Father. I was shocked when I watched the trending youtube video of Reverend Father Mbaka telling all who cared to listen and watch that what was levelled against Ohakim was all lies by politicians and that his personal investigation showed that Ohakim had never even set eyes on the Reverend Father Eustace Okorie, let alone raising his hand on the anointed man of God.

I have since then hated Fr. Mbaka for leading that struggle through a song he composed at his adoration ground against Ohakim. I blamed him for speaking outside the guide of the Holy Spirit. But his humility in apologizing to Ohakim after he discovered in 2014 that he erred won him my respect. My take away from that video, however, are his prophecies after blessing Ohakim. I will come back to these on another day and with a different title.

Imo under Governor Rochas Okorocha has lost a lot. We now see different properties sprouting all over Owerri and environs being associated to Okorocha, Uche Nwosu, who was an applicant just about six years ago, Okorocha’s sisters, brothers, in-laws, ndi agburu oshi ha, etc. We also see conversion of government landed properties into personal ones, such as the Old Secretariat that has now been taken by Okorocha’s wife and rebuilt into what is called Woodi Wellness Centre.

Imo State is currently running on auto pilot economically, with huge debt hanging over its neck.

First, there are only two people presently in the state that can perfectly attempt the description of Imo properties and worth. They are Chief Achike Udenwa and Dr. Ikedi Ohakim. Both served as governors and had compilation of properties belonging to the state.

Second, Nigeria as an unfortunate democracy is fashioned in such a way that happenings in its states are usually influenced by external forces from the centre. Their interests are often pressed on the states. It is not just enough for any of the guber aspirants to claim he can probe Okorocha. If Okorocha remains in the good books of these external forces, who among these aspirants that is constitutionally entitled for a second term in office would risk his second term ambition to try Okorocha when the centre is interested in the matter?

Can Ihedioha, who is loyal to the Sokoto State governor and his former boss in the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, muster enough courage to probe and try Okorocha? Can Ararume risk his second term ambition if he is threatened by the Northern elements to drop probing Okorocha? Can the businessman, Hope Uzodinma even attempt to try Okorocha?

 

Okorocha’s emergence in 2011 was an aberration that must be corrected. When one misses his way while in a forest, wisdom demands that he finds himself back to the point from where he missed his way and then continues on the right lane to his destination. Imo must get back to the days of Ohakim, reorganise itself, re-strategize and then move forward again. It is better to “waste” the next four years finding our way back to the right lane than spending an eternity groping and wandering in loss and confusion in the forest of death.

 

Gift Okechimaghalam Treasure writes from Egbema and can be reached by ebeayojapan@gmail.com

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Vituperations of an upstart

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It is not in all cases that rejoinders or responses should be made to an invective, especially when the protagonists are misguided elements. However, it may become necessary to do so sometimes because of the absolute need to expose the lies and correct misconceptions that these elements, very inconsequential ones at that, spew out just because they want to be heard and become popular.

This is exactly the fact that has made this write up necessary, not because His Excellency, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state would ordinarily want to respond to statements made by upstarts, particularly, political opponents and their infantile arguments, but because we believe that one Frank Esanubi, who claims to belong to the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and whose only claim to some level of public importance is that he is the deputy president of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and this position sadly, has therefore now become a criterion, in his warped calculations, for seeking to be a governor.

Even as we do not begrudge him of his right to aspire to any political and elective office, we of the Delta PDP take serious exception however, to his intemperate use of uncouth language on the person of Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, just as we strongly remonstrate against the tissues of distortions, unintelligent arguments and lies that he ignorantly peddled in his so-called blueprint.

 

It is for the sake of not allowing people to be deceived into believing the misinformation in the infantile vituperation against the person of His Excellency and the bizarre comments made against the employment opportunities given to political appointees in the state, that this rejoinder has become a desideratum.

First issue is that Esanubi wants those he called ‘old politicians’ to leave the stage for an upstart like himself. Maybe that’s how he became Vice President of PENGASSAN; his older and better experienced colleagues probably had to fall to his blackmail and left the stage for him and so he did not have to struggle to get the position. He needs to know that politics in Nigeria and the world over is one in which stakeholders don’t appeal to sentiments and base instincts in seeking for political elective office. They came in by conscious effort and have, through hard, dedicated work attained their dreams.

Interestingly Esanubi, who is just about to seek political elective office, beyond his trade union politics and possibly the elections at his community development union end of year meetings, is at 40 years, already an old man, while the likes of Okowa, and others, against who he is throwing tantrums started out in politics in their 30s. Former President Shehu Shagari was a member of the House of Representatives at the age of 21, just to mention a few.

Of course, he needs to be told that the office of the governor of a state is different from the office of a vice president of PENGASSAN, where the job is to regularly become a pain in the neck and make demands on government and employers, failing which, he calls out his colleagues to down tools, and in the process cripple economic activities and hold the nation to ransom. It does not matter to people like Esanubi the implication of their strike action to the generality of Nigerians.

Socond is Esanubi’s misinformation that the government of Governor Okowa is wasting the state’s resources in employing political appointees. It is unlikely that many of the appointees whose appointments he is condemning are from his local government, ward, and senatorial districts.
Let’s even take his claim of 2,384 political appointees, should it not be a credit to Governor Okowa who graciously saw the value in the appointees and gave them positions of responsibilities, rather than leaving them to waste away? Today, they are utilizing the opportunities of these appointments to invest their ideas and creative talents for the good governance of the state. Esanubi is a selfish and presumptuous fellow, who has too high an opinion of himself with little or no understanding for others.

His fellow members in ADP ought to mark this as a trait in Esanubi, and record it as a minus that should not even qualify him to contest the party primaries, talk less of emerging as candidate.

Besides, an intelligent governorship aspirant should by now know the reason behind the collapse of some industries in Delta State. No, not so for Esanubi, who has no ability for indept analysis of issues, but who takes delight in hoodwinking people with baseless claims and propaganda. Otherwise, he would have studied the explanation of the Commissioner for Finance who recently told the gentlemen of the press that the collapse of some industries in Delta State, like the Asaba textile mill is beyond the state government.

Esanubi would have known that Asaba Textile Mills, for instance, was a victim of the privatisation effort of the then federal government in which the Chagoury Brothers won the bid. Subsequently, they took a =N=500million loan from Fidelity Bank and used Asaba Textile Mill as collateral, and rather than use the loan for the purpose for which it is meant, they diverted it to import rice. And when they could not pay back, the bank took over the assets of the company and did what they liked with it in order to recover their money. So, how can anyone in his right senses put the blame of the collapse of a company like Asaba Textile Mill on past and present government of Delta State.

If Esanubi is one that is out to play honest, clean politics; criteria that he apparently doesn’t possess, he would have known about the good work that Governor Okowa is doing across Delta State, covering every facet of life. He would have known that through STEP, YAGEP, Streprenuers, among other programmes that a new structure of economic life is developing in the state. That hitherto unemployed youths are now no longer idle for want of what to do. That through the various skills acquisition trainings and programmes of government, the young men and women are now becoming gainfully employed as business owners, who are also employing others.

Maybe Esanubi needs to be told, since he is a Deltan that lives in the Diaspora, that many towns and villages in the state are wearing new good looks of roads, either completed, under going rehabilitation, under construction or nearing completion. Maybe we should announce to him also that traditional rulers have spoken glowingly about the impressive government of Governor Okowa because of the value they have witnessed in his equitable and human-faced style of government, and as a result of which they are rooting for his second term as governor of Delta State. Of course, when traditional rulers speak in support of a candidate, who else is better placed than them as the symbols of their people and communities to know.

The traditional rulers have spoken, and the people through their various senatorial districts have echoed it with their endorsement of Governor Okowa for second term at Government House, Asaba.

Esanubi and cohorts should better look elsewhere, for there is no vacancy in Government House, Asaba.

Okowa carry go.!!

Osuoza is Publicity Secretary, PDP, Delta State.

 

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Conjoined twins: The medical ‘miracle’ at FMC Yola

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The feat recorded at the Federal Medical Centre, Yola, recently, can best be regarded as a medical ‘miracle’. In view of the fact that members of the Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU), were on strike, medical doctors, led by the medical director of the institution, Professor Auwal Muhammed Abubakar, embarked on a life-saving mission; a mission to separate a set of four-month old female twins joined together in the stomach named Fatimah and Maryam.

The twins were delivered by caesarean section in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital on November 25, 2017 with a combined weight of 4.5 kilograms. The twins shared a single umbilical cord and were joined from the mid thorax to the mid abdomen.

They were referred to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yola, Adamawa State, on March 25, 2018, to be separated and had been on admission since then. Preparations for the separation of the conjoined twins had been on since the arrival of the babies at the facility but the industrial action by JOHESU became a spanner in the life and death situation of the twins.

But not to be daunted by the strike, the medical team decided to separate the twins on Monday, May 14, 2018. Fatimah and Maryam, now having a combined weight of 11 kilograms, were moved to the theatre surrounded by more than 10 medical doctors. Other professionals deployed for the surgery included surgeons, anaesthetics, radiologists, laboratory scientists, preoperative nurses, cleaners, ICT and the media, to save lives.

After four hours of surgery, they were transferred to the intensive care unit of the health facility for post-operative management. In what looks like a miracle, Fatimah and Maryam were transferred to the ward on the second day after the surgery, after being certified fit following the resumption of normal feeding.

The leader of the operating team, Professor Auwal Muhammed Abubakar, who is also the Medical Director of the FMC, Yola, attributed the success of the operation to the spirit of team work and adequate planning.

He told the media at the end of the operation that: “You are aware that the team is a combination of different professionals; surgeons, anaesthetics, radiologists, laboratory scientists, the people managing the theatre, the cleaners, the media, information and communication talking about your people, you know.

We’ve had several meetings and drills. We made sure that the facilities to be used were set and the medical consumables necessary for the surgery were on ground. You see that everything worked according to plan. We successfully separated the conjoined twins,” Auwal said.

Though the cost of surgery for the separation of the conjoined twins would run into millions of naira, when asked about who shouldered the financial responsibility for the surgery, Prof. Auwal said that the surgery was carried out free of charge as a Corporate Social Responsibility on the side of FMC Yola.

“The Federal Medical Centre, Yola, actually took the financial responsibility, considering the fact that the parents would not have been able to afford to foot the bills and the bills are also so much that we didn’t want to burden them.

“During investigations, the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Maiduguri did the CT scan free of charge. The Adamawa- German Medical Centre, Yola, also assisted. Another CT scan was also done free there. And everything for them has been free since they were transferred to this hospital”, Prof. Auwal said.

Prof. Auwal was asked how long the separated twins would stay in the health facility before they could be certified fit for discharge “Well, this is difficult to say, you know. It all depends on the postoperative outcome.

If they do very well, two weeks or less than two weeks will be enough for them to go home. We’re hoping that by two days’ time, they should be able to start oral feeding, this is going by the present assessment. Although, it is difficult to say for sure until the time comes. However, within two to three weeks, they should be able okay,” Prof. Auwal said.

He said that the cost of the surgery would come from the Hospital Paupers Fund, established by the hospital to raise money for the funding of indigent patients. Another prominent member of the facility that took part in the separation of the twins was Prof. Fola Faponle, a Professor of Anaesthesia, who was the leader of the anaesthetic team.

She said that after putting the babies to sleep before the surgery commenced, the team had the responsibility of observing them and stabilising them after the operation, in the intensive care.

She added that already, the babies were awake and stable. Prof. Faponla confirmed that positive postoperative management was expected, in the sense that the surgery was successful and that there was no complication relating to their hearts.

“We ensured that their drugs and everything necessary to ensure high level of care were readily available to take care of their needs; the blood was ready should in case they needed infusion, take care of their bowels and give them required anaesthesia and drugs”, she said. Dr. Raji Bello, Consultant Anaesthesia, is the head of anaesthesia department with FMC Yola. Like Prof. Faponla said, he reiterated that everything went well preoperatively, ‘We didn’t also expect much challenges during the postoperative period. It was to be a routine exercise; the babies would be given intensive postoperative support that patients need when they are recovering.

Other than that, we don’t anticipate much problem,” Dr. Raji said. Muhammad Ramat, 30, and Kellu Adam, 27, are the parents of babies Fatimah and Maryam. Married in 2015, the conjoined twins are their first and only children.

They were highly appreciative of the corporate social responsibility rendered to them by the management of FMC Yola. “We had faith that the surgery to separate our conjoined babies would be a successful one, especially when we were counselled by Prof. Auwal Muhammad Abubakar and Dr. Wabada Samuel to be strong, hopeful and confident. The contributions of Professor Fola Faponle in strengthening our faith is also worthy of mention.

“It was not only the surgery that was done free of charge, everything was free; our feeding, accommodation, medicine and general post operative management were all free. We thank the management of FMC Yola for their professionalism and philanthropy. “We are also soliciting on behalf of FMC Yola, for the government to provide the hospital with the needed hi-tech medical facilities like the MRI and the CT scan to be able to improve upon their efficiency and effectiveness.

Individuals could also make generous contributions. “We’re also soliciting for assistance from the government and individuals for the sake of our twin babies to have a meaningful future,” the parent said. JOHESU strike notwithstanding, the happy parents of Fatimah and Maryam would have positive things to say about the health care system in the country for good.

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