By Ojo Oyewamide
The Ondo state government organised an induction programme for its top functionaries last week Friday. The programme, which held at the Public Service Training Institute (PSTI), Ilara-Mokin, had political appointees, permanent secretaries and other accounting officers as participants. It was also attended by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and his deputy, Hon. Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa.
The workshop was anchored by the State Transition Strategy and Implementation Committee. Its objective was to equip the participants with the understanding of the details of the REDEEMED Agenda of the Akeredolu government. The programme was also designed to enable them understand the requirements for the achievement of the agenda.
The agenda, which Governor Akeredolu presented to the people of the state on February 24, 2021, is expected to guide the conduct of government business in the Sunshine state in the next four years. Carefully put together, the agenda is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The development policy thrust focuses on eight key areas of development. These areas are rural and agricultural development; educational and human capital development; development through massive infrastructure; efficient service delivery, development and policy implementation; effective health care and social welfare services; maintenance of law and order for adequate security; energy, mining and sustainable industries; digital revolution and entrepreneurship.
The REDEEMED Agenda is an improvement on the JMPPR 5-point agenda of the first term of the Akeredolu government. The programmes encapsulated in the JMPPR agenda were job creation through agriculture, entrepreneurship and industrialization; massive infrastructure development and maintenance; provision of functional education and technological growth; provision of accessible and qualitative healthcare and social service delivery; rural development and community extension services.
Speaking on the roles and responsibilities of participants in the REDEEMED Agenda, the Deputy Governor, Ayedatiwa, identified loyalty, professional and ethical standards, integrity and capacity to think outside the box as the requirements for a successful actualisation of the REDEEMED Agenda.
He said: “In driving the Agenda, we must be dedicated and give hundred per cent loyalty to the State Government. Loyalty is sine qua non to the attainment of the REDEEMED policy agenda. It suggests that we should put public interest first; ahead of personal interests. Being a public servant means allegiance to a noble purpose and dedication to your daily work of serving the citizens.
“It is also the responsibility of top government functionaries to uphold the highest professional and ethical standards. This is so because we understand the high expectations the public has for our work. Our actions should be impartial, objective and beyond reproach.
“Furthermore, it is important for us to be integrity personified. Integrity is at the heart of corporate virtues. It is vital to building trust. And as we know public trust in government is based on how they feel when taking benefit of government services, programmes and policies.
“So also, a crucial requirement for a successful actualization of the REDEEMED agenda is that we must develop capacity to “think outside the box”. This is necessary in the face of the dwindling resources available to government all over the world (of which our dear State is not an exception) as a result of the negative impact of Covid-19.
“In the last four (4) years, Mr. Governor has been able to demonstrate that what keeps this Administration going, and impactful is not buoyancy of funds; but buoyancy of ideas and purposeful leadership. We must emulate the financial re-engineering of public fund by Mr. Governor, by ensuring efficient utilization of available funds, avoid waste and be target-oriented for the good of our people in Ondo State.”
Five papers delivered at the workshop were “The New Public Governance Model: Deepening Good Governance in Ondo State”, “Next Phase of ODSG Performance Culture”, “Fostering a Culture of One Administration”, “Performance Management in the Public Service” and “Effective Service Delivery: Federal Service Experience”. The papers were extensively dissected by the participants.
A communique issued at the end of the workshop stated: “Participants observed the following hindrances to effective service delivery in the State: lack of inter-agency cooperation, leading to Agencies working in silos; absence of clear performance objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs); absence of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (ME&L) template; inadequate training for personnel; and limited access to Internet.”
The communique also stated: “At the end of deliberation, participants resolved as follows, that: the REDEEMED Agenda would be the guide-posts for policy choices and actions in the 2nd Term of Akeredolu’s Administration; individual agencies of government must connect their respective projects and programmes in the REDEEMED Agenda to the SDGs; concept of One Administration must be fostered, creating interconnectivity and synergy required for the achievement of the REDEEMED Agenda; Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) must be clearly set on government projects and programmes; Monitoring and Evaluation should be a critical part of government business/performance culture.
It added: “Internal and external stakeholders’ engagement/buy-in must be ensured; Culture of Performance Management stressing customer-centred orientation, responsiveness and feedbacks to be entrenched; MDAs’ mandates and functions to be streamlined to avoid duplications and leakages; Cross-sectoral synergy amongst MDAs to be enhanced; diaspora benefits in grants, investments, knowledge and skills to be more deliberately accessed; activities and achievements of government should be properly and adequately reported and archived; MDAs to upscale their revenue generating activities to shore up dwindling statutory federal allocations; Government must seek out and tap into financial or development opportunities available at the federal level; and government could deploy some percentage of existing taxes and levies to fund some special and sensitive programmes like the Amotekun security initiative.”
Governor Akeredolu in his closing remarks said the import of the workshop was to equip the operators of the system, both the technocrats and political appointees, for better service delivery. He said the REDEEMED Agenda must be pursued with utmost sense of urgency to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people of Ondo state who overwhelmingly re-elected his administration. He charged participants to key into the REDEEMED policy thrusts, warning that no deviation would be entertained.
*** Oyewamide is Senior Special Assistant to Governor Akeredolu on Media and Publicity