Welcome address by Mrs Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, FCA, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), at the Public Service Lecture on the occasion of the 2017 Nigeria Public Service Day Celebration, on tuesday, 8th August, 2017, at the Rotunda Hall, Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, Abuja.

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It is indeed a great honour to welcome you all to this Public Service Lecture to mark the 2017 Nigeria Public Service Week Celebration.

  1. As relevant background information, the Public Service Administration Day which is observed in the Federal Civil Service, Nigeria as the Federal Civil Service Week is a continental event. Hence a uniform lecture is presented annually on the continent with a theme provided by the African Union (AU) Secretariat in Addis Ababa. The continental theme for this year’s lecture is: “Entrenching a Citizen – Centered Service Delivery Culture: Partnering with the Youth for Africa‘s Transformation” with the following sub-themes:

(i)                  Partnering with youths to build a responsive and sustainable Public Servant

(ii)                Nurturing a culture of professionalism and ethical values in Africa’s Public Service

(iii)              Promotion self-reliance and empowerment of African youth for socio economic development

(iv)               Leveraging ICT skills for quality service delivery.

  1. The focus on the youth to achieve transformation of the Africa continent is certainly very apt, if it is acknowledged that the Africa continent with an estimated population of 1.2 billion has below 24 years old population of 60%. The situation is very similar for Nigeria. Of the Country’s estimated population of 186million in 2016, 62% is estimated to be in the age bracket of below 24 years. While the estimate is 92% for below 54 years. The implication of the foregoing is that the working class in both the public and private sectors has preponderance of youths in the age bracket of 20-35 years. Therefore, appropriate targeting of employees in this age range through a properly articulated culture change programme will indeed facilitate the achievement of a citizen centred service delivery orientation in workplaces that we desire. Indeed, the youths certainly hold the future of Nigeria and the Africa continent.
  2. In appreciation of this advantage, the 2017-2019 Strategy of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation launched by the Ag. President in the early part of the year has been further streamlined and its implementation prioritized to target culture change programmes in the Civil Service with focus on the youths. The outcome of this effort is to promote the attainment of EPIC which implies a Civil Servant and Civil Service that is “Efficient, Productive, Incorruptible and Citizen Centered”.
  3. Noting that the Public Service remains the most potent and viable instrument available all over the world for the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes of Government, it behooves us as Public Servants to avail ourselves opportunities that the Service will provide such as the public lecture of today to deepen and expand our knowledge; improve our capacities and hone our competencies for the performance of our duties and responsibilities.
  4. For the Civil Service to remain relevant in the fast changing and highly technological modern work environment, it is important that we individually and collectively strive at continuous capacity building to meet the challenges. We are all aware that the application of information technology in the administration of Government, particularly in payment and human resources management is becoming the norm. Under my watch, the implementation of the Human Resources module of the IPPIS has commenced. This will no doubt enhance human resources administration in the Service but also on the other side generate some challenges for civil servants working in the Human Resource Management department. Hence, we must avail ourselves competencies in Information Communication Technology (ICT) without having to wait for support from the Service. We cannot become global citizens if we continue to operate in analogue environment. We should envision service delivery in a paperless economy; this is the goal of the E-learning initiative.
  5. The theme of the Public Service lecture is not only interesting but timely. Going apace with the Change Mantra of the current administration requires the Civil Service to be innovative. The issuance of the Executive Orders 001, 2017 targeted primarily at achieving efficiency in the rendering of service is a further proof, that the time has come for the Service to live up to its mandate of citizen centered service delivery or become a forgotten monument.
  6. It is my believe that the 2017 Civil Service Lecture will broaden our appreciation for investing in the capacity of the youths in order to achieve enduring and sustainable transformation in Africa. I have no doubt in my mind that, I have on the panel at this Public Service Lecture, eminent, experienced and professional Academicians and Technocrats with vast experience in both the private and public sector to do justice to the theme of the Lecture. I therefore urge you all to pay rapt attention in order to deepen our appreciation and awareness of the imperative of the focus on the youths.
  7. Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your attention and God bless.

Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, FCA

Head of Civil Service of the Federation