Femi Ogbonnikan writes that Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has gladdened the heart of workers employed into the state civil service close to the departure of the immediate past governor
In a modern democratic clime, political leaders with goals, missions and visions have little or no time for drama. Rather, they invest their energy in creativity, focusing on providing good governance for the general well-being of their citizens. This aptly captures the present accelerated development that is being witnessed in every facet of human endeavour in Ogun state. Since Governor Dapo Abiodun’s assumption of office on May 29, 2019, Ogun has witnessed the birth of a new dawn.
The current administration under the leadership of Prince Dapo Abiodun, the fifth democratically elected governor of the Gateway State has taken governance by the gauntlet and entrenched the principle of walking the talk. Within the spate of nine months, the milestone of achievements recorded so far has been unprecedented in the history of the state, since its birth on February 3, 1976.
Abiodun inherited a near empty treasury from his predecessor. Besides, the flaunted pseudo legacy projects embarked upon (without recourse to due process) upon and subsequently commissioned without completion at the twilight of the immediate past administration were another game plan ostensibly to stir the hornet’s nest in order to befuddle the enlightened people of the state. Not yet done with its dirty tricks, the past administration recruited well over 2,000 different workers into the civil service, though deliberate, without taking cognizance of the financial viability and capability of the state. It further elevated 18 directors to Permanent Secretary (PS) status, without recourse to due process. But despite several entreaties from well-meaning and concerned people to rescind the decisions of the immediate past administration in all the affected critical sectors of the economy of the state, Governor Abiodun, with a large heart, demonstrated his magnanimity with the absorption of all the candidates employed towards the tail end of its exit from office. Also, he directed the immediate defrayment of nine-month salaries owed the new workers.
In appreciation of the rare gesture, the new workers recruited in April 2019 through an entrance examination conducted by the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) took the Oke Mosan, the governor’s office, by storm as early as 8:00am on Monday, March 2, 2020, to say, “Thank you, Sir” to His Excellency. The governor, in company of his security details, while about to drive in, fell into the welcoming arms of the joyous workers. Drawn from different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the workers, one after the other, spoke eloquently of his kindness.
Commander Folarin Oladapo and Miss Olabisi Olatunji who spoke on behalf of the TRACE officers expressed appreciation to the governor for putting smiles on their faces and prayed for his successful tenure in office. The duo, on behalf of their colleagues, however, pledged the commitment and resolve to discharge of their statutory duties diligently. In the same vein, another staff, Mr Badejo Ayodele, commended the Governor for the kindness.
“I want to use this medium to express our appreciation to His Excellency for the opportunity given to us to be part of the workforce of Ogun State Civil Service. The journey started in 2018 when we all sat for the 2017/18 ASCON examination and the extended interview took place in April in 2018. However, due to the change in power. You paid nine months arrears to us that were employed by the last administration even to a tune of N1 billion. It is indeed a great relief because it affects families in the state.”
In her vote of thanks, the Head of Service (HoS), Mrs Amope Chokor, admonished the new workers to justify the employment offered them. “I have always said that His Excellency is a kind-hearted man and we have seen that you have proven it, even with the payment of the areas of nine months of all our workers. On their behalf, I am saying a very big thank you. You have started well, by the grace of God you will end well and you will finish strong in the name of Jesus. Your tenure has started with peace, you will continue to enjoy peace in Ogun State. By the grace of God, you will never suffer loss. In your tenure, you will continue to increase from grace to glory in the name of Jesus. Everyone that you are leading, you will take them to greater heights.
“I want to implore you all workers to remain dedicated, hard working and committed. And as you are serving in your various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, I want to remain officers of integrity. Integrity should be your watchword so that service delivery in Ogun state will improve and the generality of the public will be happy. I count on your pledge and support,” averred Chokor.
Speaking on the occasion, the Governor sang: “Inu mi dun t’ori mo r’ojo oni, congratulations Ore, m’owo re wa” (I am happy to witness today, congratulations, my friend, extend your hands and let us share in this joy).
He said, “I never had any warning of this event, but I will call it an ambush. When I asked what is happening, they told me they were the newly absorbed staff at the gate.
And I asked, “Are they protesting”? But I later learnt that they have come to thank me. Let me first give all the glory to the Almighty God because it is by His grace that we are all standing here. It is by His grace that we are even here in this capacity; it is by His grace that we have been given the privilege to serve in this capacity as governor, deputy-governor and all of us that are here. I want to give God the glory for also giving us the divine wisdom to do the things that are right.
“Yes, you sat for the examinations, way back, in 2018. You were employed sometime around April 2019 and that was at the twilight of the previous administration. And that was shortly after we have won our election. We saw a lot of these employments or promotions gave us a lot of suspicion. We wondered why an administration would employ people at the twilight of its exit. Was it a deliberate attempt to inflate the wage bill and make the state unmanageable for us? We said ok, upon our assumption of office, we would take a closer look and actually look at it objectively. It took us a few months. What we did was to set up a committee to look into all these promotions and appointments. Having reviewed the report of that committee, we decided that the right, the just, the fair and the equitable thing to do was to absorb all of you formally. We also decided that you deserved to be paid from the time you received your letter of employments till date. Do not do anything that would cause to regret the day we decided to absorb you.”
In reminiscence, while charging the civil servants whom he described as “the engine room of every successive administration” during his maiden address at the Arcade Ground, Ogun State Secretariat, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, the state capital, on his fifth day after in office, Abiodun underscored the essence of the workforce and pledged his social contract with it. And during his 2020 Budget address before the House of Assembly on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, the Governor reiterated his tripartite agreement with God, himself and the good people of Ogun State, thus:
“I wish to reaffirm my often-stated position that the social contract I have, is a tripartite covenant between me and God, on one part. And on the other part, to serve Him and reciprocate His faithfulness through the journey so far by being a tool to bring the greatest good to the greatest number of the people of Ogun State. That contract translates to being just, equitable, fair, transparent, participatory, inclusive and to respect the rule of law. These to me are all that democracy preaches.”
At the swearing-in of Town Planner (Mrs) Amope Chokor, as the new HoS sometime in December 2019, reminded the workers the essence of their statutory duties towards achieving the set goals. “Let me emphasise the importance of the Ogun State Civil Service in the successful implementation of our administration’s “building our future together” mantra. I must particularly state that the dedication, commitment and professionalism that the public service has continued to exhibit as key ingredients that guarantee the success of our building our future together agenda. Therefore, in appreciation, we will continue to uphold all our public and civil servants their status and the important holders in the successful implementation of our building our future together agenda. As a matter of fact, we will continue to ensure payment of salaries and other allowances. We are also working seriously to clear all backlog of promotions, leave bonuses and other allowances. So, I charge our workers to be more dedicated and professional in the discharge of their duties and together we will achieve our collective dreams.”
In appreciation of the rare gesture, the new workers recruited in April 2019 through an entrance examination conducted by the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) took the Oke Mosan, the governor’s office, by storm as early as 8:00am on Monday, March 2, 2020, to say, “Thank you, Sir” to His Excellency. The governor, in company of his security details, while about to drive in, fell into the welcoming arms of the joyous workers. Drawn from different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the workers, one after the other, spoke eloquently of his kindness