Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Doctors' Face-Off With Lagos Govt, Most Challenging Ogunlewe, Ex-HoS

Prince Adesegun Olusola Ogunlewe, former Lagos State Head of Service, HoS, in this concluding part of his with Olasunkanmi Akoni, told Labour Vanguard that the 14 weeks old strike by Doctors in the state was his most trying moment. The first part of the interview has earlier been published. Excerpts.

Major reforms introduced into the state public service

Before I became the Head of Service, I was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Establishment, Pensions and Training. When I was in the ministry, Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) gave directive that we should work with a consultancy firm, Messrs Price Water Cooper House on improving efficiency in public service.

Under that partnership, we embarked on what we called Project Will: Strategic Management Framework, which was meant to examine the structure of every ministry, what are the resources available, what are the objectives that a ministry or government agency is expected to achieve and are those structures and resources efficient to achieve those objectives.

When we submitted the report on the strategic management framework, we are lucky that the United Kingdom Government under the Department for International Development (DFID) came in to assist to implement the report of that framework.

Till date, we are still partnering with the DFID to ensure that all the areas of laxity are blocked and the gaps filled so that we can achieve efficiency in the public service.

One of those things we have done is the development of Service Charters, which are placed in strategic locations for members of the public to know what we are capable of doing for them and a timeframe we are ready to render such services.

If the services are not rendered with the timeframe, they can challenge us on why we did not make good our promises. And we are bound to explain and adjust in the way we respond to requests from members of the public.

Regrets as HoS

Within the period I was HoS, our programme with DFID should have moved faster than where we are today. But all said and done, the programme is on stream. I will have loved the programme moves faster. By now we should have gone live in all agencies.

Some of the policies we are expected to embark upon in implementing the programme are before the State Executive Council for approval. I will have loved the approval was obtained before my exit from the public service.

For instance, we have mandate marking. This means assignment of ministerial responsibilities, which we have completed and should have been published to the public for them to know what each of the agency of government is doing what. That is also there. It is yet to be approved. But I am sure that it is going to be approved very soon.

We have reviewed the state civil service rules and regulation to be in tandem with some developed countries. This is also before the State Executive Council for approval. Our learning and development is designed to assist in improving civil servants capabilities, towards delivering better service to the people. That is also before the Council.

Currently, the state practice Human Resource management under general administration. Our human resource management is subsumed under general administration now. We intend to make it professional, with this, the state can have professional human resource cadre.

That is before the council. We are moving towards e-governance. For us to achieve this, we need a policy to guide the use of the electronic equipment.

And our plan is to have an ICT centre in place. This is also before the Council for approval. But I am sure that Governor Fashola will approve it very soon.

Most challenging moment

There are critical moments, especially when the doctors went on strike. Just about the time I became head of service in 2010, we used to have two salary structures in the state; one for the main civil service and the other for the tertiary institution. But suddenly in 2010, the federal government came up with about five salary structures. I understand that it started in 2009.

There is one for the mainstream civil service. There are two for the health sector. Instead of one for the tertiary institution, there are about two or three. We were not party to how those salary structures evolved.

Suddenly, all the institutions said we should come and implement them. And we said our resources were different from the resources of the federal government. In the military days, we all queue under the federal government to borrow whatever came out as salary structures and we implemented them.

There were other states that could implement under the one-line structure of the military, and the federal government would come to the aid of such states. But under democracy, we are trying to run a proper federation. We decided to have a pay policy in place. So, we initiated the pay policy.

We sat down with all the union and said henceforth whatever we would pay as salaries should be evolved within the state and that we should put our resources into consideration.

The unions agreed, from there, the salary structure evolved. We have one for the doctors, one for other medical officers, one for the mainstream civil service and one teaching service. That is what we have been using since then and it has been able to calm all the nerves.

The pay policy has not been properly considered and approved by the government. But the committee was able to come out with a recommendation that we are able to use and douse the tension at that point in time.

Retirement into politics or consultancy

Like I said earlier, I am a prince from Igbogbo. I am now 60 year-old. This means I am getting to the position of an elder. When you have someone in the community who has attained the position I have in terms of career. Definitely, I am a community leader. I intend to join other members of my community to also render community services.

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