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Public institutions not personal enterprises, Tinubu warns

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PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu on Saturday night told Nigerian public servants to be mindful of the fact that public institutions are not personal enterprises, as each person is an employee of the Nigerian citizen.

Consequently, President Tinubu implored them to live up to their expectation as public trust where they must all be accountable to the citizens.

The President who made the observation during the Nigeria Excellence Awards in Public Service (NEAPS) held at Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, restated his administration’s determination “to creating an environment where merit is rewarded, and where every public servant feels valued and motivated to give their best”.

This, he said, is not just about the awards ceremony, but about embedding a culture of recognition and reward in the ethos of the country’s public service.

President Tinubu who was represented by his deputy, Vice President Kashim Shettima, at the event noted that some loopholes are still being exploited by those saddled with the nation’s trust despite the institutional measures put in place to prevent any form of irregularities in the public service.

Delivering the President’s speech titled, “Honouring the Heartbeats of Public Service,” VP Shettima stated: “More than ever, our public service must live up to its expectation as a public trust where every official must account to the people, and ours is to create an ecosystem where they not only stand out but stand apart from those who sabotage us.

“Even though we have set in place institutional measures to forestall any form of dysfunction in our public service, there are still cracks often exploited by those given the trust of the nation. But what we must never get tired of doing is reminding ourselves that our public institutions are not personal enterprises, and for that, each of us is an employee of the Nigerian citizen.”

Underlining the significance of the Nigeria Excellence Awards in Public Service (NEAPS), a private sector initiative in partnership with the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), President Tinubu gave the initiative his full support, saying it is strategic to inspire the bulk of the nation’s workforce, “set benchmarks, and create a ripple effect of positive change throughout our society”.

According to him, “reward and recognition are the very markers of every thriving institution, and indeed, nation,” even as he noted that “the essence of any successful entity, whether a private enterprise or public institution, lies in its ability to honour those who work to uphold its values and drive its progress.

“Our labour force remains the ultimate reflection of our principles, as practised by men and women who rise every day with a commitment to building a better future for all citizens. We therefore owe these silent architects of our national progress more than just a debt of gratitude”.

The President showered praises on Nigerian public servants, maintaining that their place must be remembered in order to motivate them to inspire others and make clear “that excellence is not an orphan”.

Beyond a mere ceremony to recognise the unsung heroes who keep the wheels of government and society turning beyond expectations, President Tinubu said NEAPS also plays a crucial role of introducing “more role models to a nation in search of mentors and to tell the awardees that we see them, and the excellence with which they have served the nation.

“The 44 persons we are here to honour set in motion a chain of actions to build a culture of hard work and commitment to noble principles in our public service. We must also strive to make sure that the values that have set them apart are deeply ingrained in our culture.

“There’s no better way to water this forest of high performance, integrity, and accountability than our collective refusal to underplay the efforts of those who labour day in and day out to hold our nation together,” he added.

Earlier in his welcome address, the SGF, George Akume, said NEAPS, a private sector-driven initiative, recognises and rewards innovation, purposeful leadership and hardwork by exceptional individuals and organisations in the country’s public service across all levels of government and the private sector.

He explained that the process of selecting the distinguished honourees was based on empirical facts and figures that are verifiable.

The SGF assured that efforts would be made to ensure the initiative is maintained as a regular feature in order to motivate and and encourage excellence in the country’s public service.

He urged recipients of the awards not to relent in their efforts towards making Nigeria a more prosperous and progressive country.

Among the 44 persons who clinched the Nigeria Excellence Awards in Public Service are General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Peace Building award); Senate President, Godswill Akpabio (Parliamentary Excellence award); Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas (Parliamentary Excellence award); Chief of Staff to the President, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (Leadership and Administration award), and Deputy Chief of Staff to the President (Office of the Vice President), Senator Ibrahim Hadejia (Administrator par Excellence award).

Governors Bala Mohammed of Bauchi, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa, Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara and Peter Ndubuisi Mbah of Enugu were recognised for interventions in specific sectors in their respective states.

Others include FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike (Infrastructure Delivery award, Federal); Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Olayemi Cardoso (Monetary Policy Reforms award); President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote (Industrial Revolution award); former SGF, Boss Mustapha (Lifetime Achievement award), and Founder/Chairman of Zenith Bank, Chief Jim Ovia (Lifetime Achievement in Banking award), among others.


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