By Biola Adebayo
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday swore in eight new permanent secretaries at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The short ceremony took place at the Council Chamber before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
The new appointees were directors appointed to represent eight states of the federation.
The new permanent secretaries included Oluwuyiwa Enitan (Osun), Mohammed Dikwa (Borno), Ajani Madaline (Delta), Festus Yesufu Daodu (Nasarawa).
Others are Nnamdi Maurice Mbaeri (Imo), Bakari Wadinga (Adamawa), Babatunde Lawal (Lagos) and Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe (Edo).
While congratulating the new permanent secretaries, President Buhari said that new oath taken comes with a lot of responsibility.
He charged them to help the government overcome its problems through implementation of its policies.
Noting that successive governments destroyed the checks and balances in the civil service, he said that his administration promised to achieve three areas including security, economy and fighting corruption.
Charging them to be above board in their functions, he expressed his commitment to the welfare of the civil service.
He said “Let me start by congratulating you all. You just took an oath as Permanent Secretaries of the Federal Civil Service. This is a great achievement of which you should be proud. Only a tiny percentage of Nigerians make it to this level. I am sure that your journey to reach this apex position In the Federal Civil Service has been full of challenges and sacrifices.
“Today you and your families will celebrate the reward of the decades of service that you have put in. As you celebrate this remarkable achievement. I also want to remind you that the oath you Just took and the position you currently hold comes with a lot of responsibilities.
“Now, more than ever our country needs a very vibrant, professional and selfless civil service that will help our country overcome its pressing problems. As politicians. we develop policies and provide strategic direction for the nation.
“However, the task of Implementing these policies and strategies rests in the hands of the civil service under the able guidance of the Permanent Secretaries.
“Over the decades. I am sure you have experienced how successive government have abused, undermined and destroyed the systems of checks and balances within the civil service that were meant to protect and preserve the interest of our citizens.
“This systemic abuse of power significantly enriched a few privileged individuals while at the same time making majority of our fellow citizens poorer and underserved.” he said
The President went on “As a result, many Nigerians lost confidence in Government and its ability to deliver the required guidance and service to our people.
“When we came to office in May 2015, we promised Nigerians three cardinal programmes namely: Security, inclusive and diversified Economic Development and war against Corruption and abuse of power.
“I am pleased to say that in less than four years, we have made progress on all fronts working very collaboratively with the civil service.
“As you settle into your new roles and postings as permanent secretaries, we expect that you will also key into the Administration’s programs aimed at reforming Nigeria and restoring the confidence of Nigerians in Government and the civil service.
“To enable you to achieve this, we approved the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan 2017 to 2020. This plan will ensure the civil service is adequately manned and equipped to operate efficiently as it implements government policies for inclusive growth and development.
“When fully implemented, we would have successfully transformed the Civil Service into an efficient, productive, incorruptible and citizen-centred machinery of government.
“Therefore, l wish to take this opportunity to solicit your support and cooperation as we implement all the programmes of government in a result-oriented manner that will leave an indelible legacy.
“In doing this, you must all remain above board and eschew partisanship your decisions and actions. You must strive to achieve excellence at all times. Your motto should be civility and serviceability.
“Finally, I want to assure the entire Civil Service and the wider Public Service of the commitment of this Administration to its welfare and capacity development at all times.” he stated.