*Photo: Dr Yemi-Esan (left) with a LEAD-P graduand*
By M.A. Ahmed
The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Yemi-Esan, CFR, has urged the Graduands of the Leadership Enhancement and Development Programme (LEAD-P) to properly take responsibility in driving the successful delivery of the eight (8) focus areas of the Renewed Hope Agenda of government. She made the call in her Keynote Address at the 2nd Batch Graduation Ceremony of LEAD-P on Friday, December 15, 2023, in Abuja.
The HoSF affirmed that the LEAD-P graduands are properly trained to drive the delivery of the Eight Focus Areas conceived by the administration of His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, which include reforming the economy to deliver inclusive and sustained growth; strengthening national security for peace and prosperity; boosting agriculture to achieve food security and unlocking energy and natural resources for sustainable development. Others include enhancing infrastructure and transportation as enablers of sustainable growth; focus on education, health and social investment as essential pillars of development; accelerating diversification through industrialisation, digitisation, creative arts, manufacturing and innovation and finally, improving governance for effective service delivery.
Dr. Yemi-Esan, CFR also opined that the introduction of the Programme is a direct response to the glaring knowledge and skills gaps identified in the Civil Service, which constituted the major barriers to the ability of the Service to effectively discharge its core responsibilities. She buttressed that the top-talent programme was conceived and structured to identify, train and retain the best Officers in the Service, who would become the face of the envisioned New Federal Civil Service, in terms of providing requisite technical and leadership skills. She added that the choice of focusing on the middle level Officers on salary grade levels (SGL) 10-14 is informed by the need to lay a solid foundation for the future. The HoSF explained that the cardinal objectives of the LEAD-P is to change the mindset of Officers, as well as increase their self-awareness and patterns of behaviour to be able to influence the mindset of other workers with a view to making them capable of leading work teams. She added that the goal is to train and inject adequate competencies through the annual selection and training of at least 100 Officers.
She also expressed optimism that LEAD-P will address the lingering challenge of succession planning in the nation’s Civil Service, as well as its negative public perception in the areas of efficiency, results, knowledge and attitudes, stating that in no distant time, this class of Officers will be the most sought after to drive the delivery of critical projects and programmes.
The HoSF stated further that prospective LEAD-P Officers are subjected to eight (8) months of intensive physical and virtual trainings, followed by a rigorous 3-level examination. She added that the delivery of the training modules is done by qualified, experienced and eminent professional Faculties and Facilitators from both the public and private sectors. Likewise the internship and practical trainings are conducted with the support and collaboration of Permanent Secretaries and CEOs of MDAs from the public sector, the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation and reputable private sector organisations.
Dr. Yemi-Esan, CFR noted that the pioneer set of 118 Officers, earlier graduated in May, 2022 have all been deployed to specific and strategic national assignments across various MDAs. Their duties include providing technical support to the political leadership and leading essential project teams, amongst others. She added that the 106 Graduates of the 2nd batch will be deployed to complement the good work started by the 1st set. Also, OHCSF has commenced the process of selecting and admitting participants for the 3rd batch with the issuance of a call circular and the submission of application by interested participants.
In his address, the Vice President, His Excellency, Senator Kashim Shettima, GCON, represented by the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Office of the Vice President (OVP), Dr. Tope Fasua, urged the graduands to see the opportunity as a call to serve more effectively, affirming that challenges of leadership are changing and becoming more complex in present times. He expressed optimism that with rigorous trainings such as LEAD-P, there is hope that the Public and Civil Services are primed co-workers, game changers and change ambassadors. He further encouraged them to be more committed to the task of building the nation.
Earlier in his Welcome Address, the Permanent Secretary, Career Management (CMO), OHCSF, Dr. Marcus O. Ogunbiyi revealed that the 106 Officers have been adequately trained for complex tasks in the Service. He intimated the audience that LEAD-P is meant for workers on SGL 10 to 14. He said that during the preparatory period, a comprehensive curriculum that exposed them to the understanding of the task ahead of them as future leaders was developed and delivered.
Dr. Ogunbiyi also stated that the Programme aims at producing a competent and effective workforce by inculcating in the participants attributes of good leadership.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Dr. George Akume, represented by the Permanent Secretary, General Services Office (GSO) in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), Dr. Maurice Mbaeri, in a Goodwill Message, pledged the unwavering support and collaboration of his Office in providing the platform and guidance necessary to turn potential into tangible impact. ‘’We are your partners in this journey, and we stand ready to make available the guidance and encouragement you need to excel.’’ He noted that the representation of His Excellency, the Vice President at the event underscores the importance the government attaches to the development and well-being of the Service. While encouraging the graduates to lead well and be beacons of hope and progress, he also prayed that the leadership programme will pave the way for a brighter future for the Nigerian Civil Service and the nation, as a whole.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, commended the HoSF for choosing to stand out in deepening the affairs of the Service. He said that LEAD-P is a testament that the present headship is ready to effect change in the Service for the better. Pledging to rejig the recruitment pattern in the Commission to align with the change mantra of the Service, Prof. Olaopa requested for more handholding and scaled up training impact assessment to be able to sustain the achievements made thus far.
Still on Goodwill Message, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, Mrs Didi Walson-Jack, on behalf of the Body of Federal Permanent Secretaries, disclosed that Permanent Secretaries are direct beneficiaries of the Programme, as the products work directly under them. She affirmed that the Service being the backbone of any government needs high!calibre individuals to lead it, effectively. She expressed happiness that the Service is gradually providing capacities apt for the 21st century. She challenged the future leaders to focus on ideas and skills to lead and put them into practice.
The Chairman, Aig-Imouhkuede Foundation, Mr. Agboje Aig- Imouhkuede described the ceremony as a celebration of persistence and risk-taking by the graduating participants. He reiterated the Foundation’s commitment to public service transformation, while Dr. Musa Shuaibu, who represented Dr, Wada of Nisa Premier Hospital, on behalf of the private sector, sought for more collaboration with the private sector to positively move the Service forward.
The Graduation Lecture titled “Strategic Leadership-the Essential Skills,” was delivered by the Chairman of Fate Foundation, Mr. Tajudeen Afolabi Adeola, OFR, mni. He advised the graduands to emulate the lives and times of our founding fathers and trailblazers such as late Jerome Udorji, Adamu Fika, Ahmed Joda, Phillip Asiodu, Dike, Dora Akunyili and others, whose services were borne out of genuine commitment and selflessness. He urged them to imbibe the principles of integrity and accountability spiced with humility. He admonished the future leaders to lead not just with authority but with empathy, insisting that they should start viewing their duties as a call for more serve, as well as endeavour to leave a legacy of positive impact.
OFFICE OF THE HEAD OF THE CIVIL SERVICE OF THE FEDERATION
15th December, 2023.