• Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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AIG-Imoukhuede foundation, Oxford University train Nigerian civil servants for leadership

Preparing Africa for global leadership through Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation’s Public Leaders Programme.

The Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation, in partnership with the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, has graduated the first set of public servants under its public leadership programme designed to effect positive change in Nigeria’s public service.

The inaugural class of the programme which began in September 2021 with 49 participants from different ministries and public institutions across the country were awarded scholarships worth £11,500 each by the AIG-Imoukhuede foundation to attend the programme. They were awarded certificates at a closing ceremony in Abuja on Wednesday.

Former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Muhammadu Sanusi II while giving a special address at the event, noted that the Nigerian civil service and overall governance is in a rot largely because many government officials do not understand why they have been appointed or elected into office.

He said the focus of most public officials is to amass wealth rather than serve, which has consequently slowed the development of the country. Sanusi also regrets that public officials who managed to maintain integrity are eventually removed from office.

Sanusi charged the participants to ensure they understand why they have been appointed and put all they have learnt to work, while pointing that the future and growth of Nigeria does not necessarily lie in the hands of politicians but civil servants.

“If you are a public servant and do not know why you are there or how your role affects the public, you cannot make an impact. But many people do not understand why they are there, this is why we are in a country where someone will serve as a Minister or governor for eight years and has got nothing to show for it other than the number of houses he has acquired, or the dollars in his bank account, nothing!” he said.

“How do we expect this country to move forward when the people who are serving don’t understand why they are there , this is the reality we live in.

“If you want to make money, go into business. You don’t go into public service to make money but to serve, and many people don’t understand that.”

Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Chairman, Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation, in his remarks, described the programme as a unique executive education programme which aimed at building the capability and effectiveness of public servants in Nigeria.

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“The Aig-Imoukhuede foundation believes that if adequate investment is channelled into building the capacity of public servants in Nigeria and indeed Africa, we will close the gap between Africa and the rest of the world. In addition to this programme, we offer scholarships to public servants. We are ready to collaborate with the government and others to make an impact,” he said.

Aig-Imoukhuede noted that the participants are already engineering some level of changes in their various institutions with the innovative projects they have designed such as; improving organisational effectiveness through digitization, elimination of bias in recruitment of staff into the aviation sector, strengthening government response to financial crimes through PPP, among several others.

He informed the audience that the participants went through rigorous and transparent selection. The chairman further revealed that application for the second class is now open to 100 public servants in Nigeria and other parts of Africa.

Chris Stone, Co-chair, AIG leaders programme, explained that civil servants were provided with communication skills, integrity and other practical skills as well as rigorous exercises to effectively lead in their various positions and strengthen the civil service.

One of the participants, Ezinwanne Nnoruka, Board Secretary/General Counsel, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, described the programme as a “life-changing experience” with so much impact.

“Going forward, there will be ripple effects of everything we learnt back in our organisation. They taught us a lot, the impact is already being felt in our organisation as we speak. There is more efficiency now,” she said.

She however noted that the changes may take time to be fully felt due to the “way things are run” in Nigeria’s civil service. But she expressed optimism that with the support of the Head of the civil service of the federation, Folashade Yemi-Esan, it would be more effective with less resistance.