Last week, the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun dazed majority of Ogun residents when he upheld the last minute appointments of the immediate past administration. The appointments consist of 21 Permanent Secretaries and over 1,000 new entrants into the civil service.
It could be recalled that the All Progressive Congress, Ogun State Chapter, had before the inauguration of the Governor Abiodun-led government vowed to review all the appointments made by the previous administration from February to May 2019. In order to address this, Governor Abiodun in July 2019 set up a committee headed by a former Head of Service in the state, Chief Dipo Odulate, to look into the various issues relating to the appointments and make recommendations.
Since the politics of vendetta had been the order of the day in our clime, common sense behooves that the best Governor Dapo Abiodun would do was to fight his predecessor by sacking the “innocent” newly-employed and the new set of Permanent Secretaries. Without mincing words, such action would further buttress the saying that, “when two elephants fight, the grass suffers.” Unfortunately, the grass which is not a stakeholder in the imbroglio has always been made to pay the price in the past.
It is, however, heart-warming that Prince Dapo Abiodun’s calm mien in no small measure informs his painstaking decision on issues without attaching emotion and sentiment. Ordinarily, to many, the last-minute appointed Permanent Secretaries of the past administration were believed to have got to the end of the road as far as their career is concerned. And the new hands in the civil service were already scouting for Plan B to make ends meet.
While the general public continued to think back and forth, the governor remained calm without raising a fist or uttering a word about what would become of these individuals whose fate seemed to be hanging in the balance.
In November 2019, Prince Abiodun made it public that the Dipo Odulate-led committee had submitted its report, promising that he would make the position of his government known soonest.
While we waited for the worst with fear and worrisome nostalgia, days kept running into months, Prince Abiodun, instead of announcing the worst as expected, made public the list of another eight newly-appointed Permanent Secretaries. This time, the appointees were picked based on merit and seniority in accordance with public service rules.
Inaugurating the Permanent Secretaries, the Governor affirmed that he had decided to uphold the last-minute appointments by his predecessor into the civil service, saying that the Office of the Head of Service and Civil Service Commission should immediately work on regularising their appointments.
Governor Abiodun said in line with his administration’s commitment to equity, fairness, justice, and inclusiveness, the government would not engage in any action or policy that might be viewed as vindictive, calling on all to continue to put in their best for effective service delivery to the people of the state.
“It is important to make public that we received with great recommendations, the report of the Review Committee on the Appointments and Recruitments made by the immediate past administration between February and May 2019. Let me state that we appreciate the recommendations of the Review Committee, comprising of eminent retired Public Servants, that the appointments and recruitments were fraught with non-adherence to the principles and laid-down traditions of the public service.
“In the same vein, I hereby direct the Civil Service Commission and the Office of the Head of Service to come up with modalities for the regularisation of those newly employed between the same period covered by the House of Assembly resolutions with a view to normalising their appointments”, the Governor ordered.
From the foregoing, “one good turn,” they say, “deserves another.” If a Governor who has Executive Power could be this magnanimous without any iota of vindictiveness, it will not be out of place if all hands are on deck to give him and his administration the fullest support because he has shown leadership at its peak.
*Femi Onasanya wrote from Ogun State Ministry of Information and Strategy via [email protected] (08036170135)