History was made recently in the ancient city of Ibadan as the Ibadan School of Governance and Public Policy, ISGPP, in conjunction with the Lead City University launched its graduate programmes in Public Administration and Public Policy. The initiative, the first of its kind in the country is geared towards promoting healthy, competent and a world class civil service in the country.
The landmark event which took place at the Ibadan School of Governance and Public Policy had in attendance scholars and the crème de la crème of public administration in the country such as Prof Pat Utomi, who chaired the occasion, Prof Gabriel Ukertor Moti from the department of Public Administration, University of Abuja who was the distinguished lecturer and Dr Joe Abah, a foremost scholar and Country Director of DAI as guest speaker.
Various eminent speakers at the event decry the state of public service in the country, a situation which has contributed to the redundancy being experienced in the public service. They thus harped on the need for enhanced competence and value laden performances for effective public service in the country. Ingredients to be harnessed include among others, creative and critical thinking, innovation and continually updated knowledge in light of the demand of 21st century best practices. These are essential in a bid to reinvent the redundant and largely unproductive the Nigerian civil service.
Prof Pat Utomi decried the fact that Nigeria has not been able to fulfill the lofty dreams and aspirations international bodies had for it as at independence because of the quality of public management in the country. He lamented that successive administration has paid little or no attention to the civil service and therefore called on reinventing the civil service and also have institutions to train and re-train them.
The Chairman of ISGPP, Professor Akin Mabogunje underscored the importance of reforming the public service through the training of her managers with strategies, tactics, capabilities and support systems. For him capacity building and re-orientation as important for public manager and the graduate programme would expose candidates to the needed theoretical and experiential cum empirical training needed for effective, selective and sustained interventions to positively alter national and state development trajectories
Guest lecturer, Prof Ukertor advocated for inclusiveness among all stakeholders, purposeful and responsive public service in order to meet the demands of the 21st century. Moreso, developing competent skills and capacity through high level education must be done in a manner that current public administrators must be central to the objectives of those concerned with promoting, sustaining democratic and prosperous society.
Dr Joe Abah emphasized the importance of building capabilities, as the ability to do, as against the emphasis on building capacity (ability to know) in driving a vibrant public service. He noted that the policy and scheme of service being implemented in Nigeria’s public service today is fifty years old, which means that the country is working with an outdated scheme of service. This he opined is responsible for the ineffectiveness and incompetence being experienced in the Nigeria’s public service. For competence (which is the bedrock of modern human resource management) there is need to re-jig the system for optimum effectiveness.
Prof. Ihonvbere, who represented the Edo State Governor, Dr Godwin Obaseki, harped on the importance of proper education at all levels especially the primary and secondary to enhance effectiveness in the public service. He emphasized the necessity of continuous training for civil servants to promote productivity.
The Oyo State Governor, Sen Isiaka Ajimobi, who was represented by the special adviser, Efficiency Unit, Dr Isaac Ayandele, advised government at all levels to invest in their human resources and ensure that civil servants are well versed in ICT so as to build competence and capacity for more effectiveness.
The Pro Chancellor of Lead City University Professor Jide Owoeye, noted that the graduate programme is set to bridge the gap between the gown and the town with the programme set to equip public servants and administrators with the requisite knowledge and capability to transform the fortunes of the country.
Dr Tunji Olaopa, the Director of the School, expressed the fact that school is set to fill up the lacuna in public administration in the country through the production of thoroughbred public managers, who are creative, committed, flexible, resilient and more importantly, compliant with the complexities and dynamics of the 21st century. He emphasized that the Graduate Programmes would put in place new paradigm for collaborative rethinking of the way we conduct the business of Government.
The collaboration between the two institutions will see the Ibadan school of governance and Public policy providing the teaching and necessary training while Lead City University will provide the matriculation and discharge of certificates.
Highlight of the event was the commissioning of the graduate programme Building, by the Pro Chancellor of Lead City University Prof. Jide Owoeye.
Report by Victor Alagogooko for IbadanCity Announcer