Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN on Wednesday, 18th February, 2015 presided at the swearing-in of the 18th Head of Service in Lagos State, Mrs Folashade Sherifat Jaji, imploring her to frontally seize on the reforms that have been embarked upon by her predecessors.
The Governor who spoke at the State Executive Council Chambers at Lagos House, Ikeja added that the reforms include keeping the ministries and the departments and agencies on their toes in terms of their commitment to the vision statement that the state government has set.
He said it also includes the Service Charters that have been drafted by the public servants with the approval of the state government and the commitment to timelines that have been voluntarily adopted under those charters to deliver service in a prescribed manner and to monitor compliance at these levels.
Fashola maintained that it is by so doing that the public servants will demonstrate that they are true professionals as a public service and that is the way by which the state can keep her leadership role as the model of governance in the country.
“The competition is getting stiffer, we have set the standards and the competition can only come as close as we allow them. We must continue to push the frontiers of service delivery as our hallmark of excellence”, he stated.
While congratulating the new Head of Service for the new responsibilities that she has assumed, the Governor stated that the process that stipulates how a Head of Service should be appointed only requires him to choose from amongst the Body of Permanent Secretaries.
“It doesn’t say anymore, it doesn’t obligate me to pick the most senior and does not stop me from picking the most junior. But we have as usual gone by merit not only by picking the most senior but the most senior who has merited the appointment and I think that it should give comfort to the public service at large that hard work and merit would always get rewarded in this state”, he added.
The Governor said he feels concerned about developments in the country when he sees adverts being placed by governments and political parties about the number of women that they have appointed to office and count such as achievements.
“I think that women must resist this kind of mentality. I don’t think it is an achievement to pick a woman to high office on merit and in Lagos State certainly it is not an achievement for us because it is a way of life here,” the Governor said.
While congratulating the family members of the new appointee, the Governor said they would have to bear with the present administration at least for the nearly one hundred days that is left for its tenure to run out because of the demands of the job, “I am going to work her as much as I can to prepare this government to be ready to get to work when the new government is elected and formed”.
In her vote of assurance, the new Head of Service, Mrs Folashade Jaji thanked the Governor for her appointment and for being consistently guided to toe the path of justice and selflessness in the service to humanity.
“Your style of leadership in every sphere of governance in Lagos especially from the painstaking commitment to quality service delivery to the application of merit in the appointment of your team members have apparently not only become commendable but also a reference point in sustainable leadership for other public office holders,” she stressed.
She restated her allegiance to the Governor and gave an assurance that she would not misplace the confidence that has been reposed in her promising to provide the kind of leadership that would sustain the seamless symbiotic relationship among the key players in the state public service in line with good fit for purpose practices and acceptable international standards.
Mrs Jaji also pledged to try to build on the modest efforts and contributions of her predecessors in office, whilst also urging that public servants redouble their efforts as the engine room of government to make life more meaningful to the citizenry.
The new Head of Service who was flanked by her husband, Abiodun Jaji and children was appointed to replace Mrs Josephine Oluseyi Williams who retired from the State Public service on Thursday, 12th February, 2015 after 35 years in service.
The swearing-in ceremony was witnessed by members of the State Executive Council, a former Head of Service, Prince Adesegun Ogunlewe and Body of Permanent Secretaries.