Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, on Tuesday, declared that his administration will continue to prioritise human capacity development for Civil/Public Servants in the state in order to ensure that they stand shoulder to shoulder with their counterparts in other states of the federation.
The governor stated this while opening a six-day human capacity building programme for senior officers in the Civil/Public Service of Oyo State, organised by the Ministry of Establishments and Training in collaboration with Klover Harris Innovative Solutions and held at the Ibadan Business School, Old Bodija, Ibadan.
A statement by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted him as explaining that when his administration came on board, the staff morale was at its low ebb due to the embargo on virtually all staff welfarist programmes, including staff promotion, conversion, advancement and essential training.
He maintained that his administration saw the embargo as counter-productive, retrogressive and not in the interest of the hard-working and dedicated workforce of the state, and that it immediately went ahead to lift the embargo.
Governor Makinde, who explained that before he assumed office, the service peak for officers was Grade Level 16, but that his administration has raised the bar of officers to GL 17 so as to make Oyo State workers to be at par with their counterparts in many other states.
He further explained that his administration has approved in principle, the immediate general renovation of Simeon Adebo Staff Development Centre, which had been abandoned by past administrations in the state.
The governor said: “For the civil/public servants in Oyo State, this training is not too surprising because it actually falls within what we promised the civil service. “Gone are the days when the state used to be in the back waters.
“Yes, you are the engine room of whatever programme or policies we want to implement. As an administration, if you are not carried along and you are not properly trained and exposed, it means we will be wasting our time, because you are the ones to implement whatever we want to do.
“Ensuring that you are adequately equipped for the task is not something we should even be debating but what, as a matter of policy, we should get done. So, don’t thank me, because I am actually doing my work. When this administration came in, the morale of the workforce was almost at its lowest.
“I remember when I went around campaigning to be elected as your governor, I had an engagement with the civil servants. They told me then that the salaries would come on the 64th, which is the first day of the third month, and I made a promise there and then that if I was elected as the governor, workers would be paid on or before the 25th of every month.
“That is now known as the GSM Date. At that time, morale was low not even because of salaries alone, embargo was practically placed on everything that could attend to the welfare of the civil/public servants. Promotion, conversion, training, recruitment were all embargoed. So, those were the situations we met on ground but we lifted the embargo when we came in.
“We have cleared promotion up to date. We have cleared the issue of conversion too. “Special trainings also cleared and so also recruitment. So, we will continue to look after the civil/public servants in Oyo State.
“One thing that is unique, which I also want you to pay attention to is that Nigeria and even this state, is going through serious economic challenges right now. The soft things you can throw out through the window are things like this training-like welfare for workers. But for us, we will continue to prioritise human capacity in Oyo State.
“Like the Commissioner mentioned, I have given my approval in principle for Simeon Adebo Training Centre to be renovated and you know what that will do for us-it will cut the cost of this kind of training, because we will have our own venue. So, the cost of venues will go out and the civil servants that are employed to work in that place will have something to do.”
Governor Makinde equally charged the participants to apply the knowledge acquired from the training programme to their day-to-day activities at work, saying: “To end this short address, I want to say to the participants that this administration will continue to do its best. But to whom much is given, much is also expected.
“This is the political season and people will come and try to confuse you. They will say salary payment is not an achievement. Fine, but we are also doing projects, developing infrastructure all across the state. We are expanding our economy and making life better for every citizen and resident of the state.
“So, when they come with their half-baked, not-well-thought-out ideas, tell them you have heard them but reflect on where we are coming from.
“Be reminded that you also have to strive to do your best for the state. Do your best for the service. Some critics have said that salary alone is not enough. Truth is, we are in a very challenging time and, at least, if you have a salary, you can plan based on that. We will continue to create opportunities. So, I would like you to play your own part.”
Earlier, Commissioner for Establishments and Training, Alhaji Siju Lawal, said that the present administration has trained a total of 9,200 workers in various aspects of office practices, including Computer and Word Processing, Microsoft Excel and Secretariat Studies.
He noted that the series of training have had a positive impact on the staff and on service delivery in the state, explaining that a total number of two hundred (200) participants would benefit from the six-day human capacity development training programme.
He added that the training will inculcate in the officers the ideal career ethical values, principles, rules and regulations and how to apply them appropriately towards high productivity in the service; to expand the knowledge of the selected officers in the Computer Microsoft Word, Office and to to make the participants much more efficient and effective for the overall improvement of the State Public/Civil Service.