President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda and FCT civil servants experience

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By Philip Yatai, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

President Bola Tinubu-led administration has made it clear that its priority is to renew Nigeria’s hope and renew citizens’ trust in the government towards building a prosperous Nigeria.

This, according to the president, will require a bold and ambitious agenda that addresses the root causes of our problems and builds a more prosperous, secure, and equitable future for all Nigerians.

Tinubu, therefore, based his renewed hope agenda on eight priority areas namely, food security; poverty eradication; growth; job creation; access to capital; inclusion; rule of law; and fighting corruption.

These ambitious goals, however, require the unflagging commitment of the members of Tinubu’s cabinet, to ensure that the vision was not only achieved, but the hope of Nigerians renewed and confidence in the government rebuilt.

“I believe in the “Renewed Hope” agenda of President Bola Tinubu, and Nigerians will see the difference in no distant time,”

These were the words of Mr Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), while receiving handing over notes from Mr Adesola Olusade, the immediate past Permanent Secretary of the FCTA.

Wike, however, noted that not much would be achieved without the support of the workers of the FCT Administration.

But how could the FCT workers provide the needed support without motivation, welfare, and career progression?

Unlike other workers in the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, workers in the FCTA could only get to the position of a director and retire, because FCTA do not have a Civil Service Commission (CSC).

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This means that, unlike their counterparts in other ministries, workers in FCT could not get to the peak of their career by becoming a permanent secretary.

In fact, permanent secretaries were being posted to FCTA by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.

Often, these permanent secretaries were juniors to some of the directors in the FCTA.

This was disturbing even when the National Assembly had passed a Bill for the establishment of CSC for the FCT and was assented into law by the then acting President Yemi Osibanjo in 2018.

But the law was locked away in cupboards and shelves and growing dust, with no efforts to implement its provision by the previous administration.

Analysts opined that this development did not only kill the morale of the workers, but also stole their motivation and the willingness to give their best to the Administration.

Realising the negative impact this could have in actualising the vision of President Tinubu, through his renewed hope agenda, Wike immediately took steps to address the challenge.

Against all odds, the minister, on Oct. 13, 2023, announced President Tinubu’s approval for the establishment of CSC for the FCTA, in line with the provisions of the law.

This was to allow career progression for civil servants in the Administration.

“That hindrance to the workers’ career development has been removed with this development,” he said.

Head of Federal Capital Territory Civil Service, Dr Udo Atang .

On receiving the news, the elated FCT workers, in their numbers, stormed the Minister’s Wing of the FCTA Secretariat, praising Wike and Tinubu for taking the bold step to implement the FCT CSC Establishment Act, 2018.

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Mr Korede Matilukoro, the then President of the Joint Unions Action Committee (JUAC), the umbrella body of FCTA workers, said, “this singular act has put smiles on the faces of the workers.”

Matilukoro pointed out that since 2004, the staff of FCTA had been deprived of becoming permanent secretaries, adding that Wike took the issue and within a month, secured President Tinubu’s approval for the implementation of the law.

But the excitement did not last long when a few days after, the Officer of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, announced the redeployment of Dr Magdalene Ajani from Transportation Ministry to FCTA.

Ajani was to replace the then PS, Mr Olusade Adesola, who was to retire on Jan. 29, but the workers rejected the action, describing it as faulty, and called for the full implementation of the FCT CSC Law.

Responding to the workers’ outcry, Wike ran to President Tinubu, halted the deployment of Ajani and on March 12, announced Tinubu’s approval for the appointment of Mr Udo Atang, as pioneer Head of Civil Service of the FCTA.

The minister also announced the appointment of 10 Permanent Secretaries for various Secretariats of the Administration as provided for in the FCT Civil Service Law, 2018.

Mr Emeka Ezeh was appointed the Chairman of the Commission’s Board, with six others as commissioners, representing the six geopolitical zones.

The excited pioneer head of FCT civil service, described the development as a demonstration of the reality of the renewed hope agenda of the Tinubu-led government.

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Commending Tinubu and Wike for renewing the hope of FCT workers, Atang pointed out that the staff of the Administration have never had it this good.

He added that in the new FCTA system, every member of staff was a potential permanent secretary and head of service.

“I am also a beneficiary of becoming a Permanent Secretary, a son of nobody, rising to the peak of my career when I know nobody except God.

“We never expected that such things could happen to us.

“In terms of the aspiration of reaching your peak. I am one of the shining examples that somebody can be a Permanent Secretary in the FCT,” Dr Babagana Adam, the pioneer Permanent Secretary, Health Services and Environmental Secretariat of the FCTA, has said.

Similarly, the current President of JUAC, Mrs Rifkatu lortyer, expressed optimism for a cordial working relationship with Wike, for demonstrating high regards for workers and their welfare.

“So far, he is towing the right direction because the civil service commission had been our fight for a very long time.

“We have put one or two requests, and he has answered us. Every one of our requests is being considered; that is the most important thing,” Iortye said.

By and large, public analysts cautioned that now that Tinubu has actualised the long struggle for the FCT CSC, it was only fair that the workers pay back by being committed and work for the actualisation of Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda. (NANFeatures)

**If used please credit the writer and News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

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