Imperatives of competent, dedicated workforce in a mega city

Central Lagos, recently

Central Lagos, recently

AN organisation is often said to be a function of the workforce at its disposal. Where the people are of high quality and able to work in sync, the organisation runs like a well-oiled machine.

This submission holds true for a state, which is adjudged as a more complex form of an organisation. In a federal system like Nigeria, the operations of a State’s civil service determine its fate – either for better or for worse. If the state must be functional, with the capacity to at least meet basic human needs, then the workforce must be competent, dedicated and dynamic in various stations of the public service.

Experts and stakeholders alike, who recently met at the four-day Lagos State Executive Council retreat, were in agreement that a more efficient civil service is most imperative in a Lagos mega city currently faced with myriads of attendant challenges.

Lagos being the country’s commercial nerve centre and given its cosmopolitan nature, on daily basis attracts migrants from within and outside the country. With the pressure mounting on available infrastructure, the government is burdened with challenges of dwindling revenue in the face of growing insecurity, traffic gridlocks, and environmental pollution among others.

Apparently not unaware of these pressing needs, the State’s governor Akinwunmi Ambode, shortly after constituting his 37-man cabinet quickly put together a retreat of state Excos, body of permanent secretaries, head of parastatals, agencies and development partners, to collectively chart a path on new ideas and strategies that would enhance the state’s workforce to meet the current needs.

Indeed, Ambode acknowledged the concerns of residents as regards security and traffic situations in recent times and steps currently being taken to address the issues.

He said that just as immediate solutions of fixing the roads and enforcing traffic law, there are medium term solutions that Lagosians would see in the next few weeks.

With the current challenges notwithstanding, the governor said his administration would not in any way limit the government from forging ahead with the Lagos State Development Plan 2012-2025.

He took time to highlight key components of the Development Plan.

According to him, the first pillar of the plan hinges on economic development, and that it would fundamentally be about wealth creation through employment for the people.

The second pillar harps on infrastructure development. By this, the government is expected to make money available for long term investment in transportation, power, housing and water. “We will work with the private sector to achieve these and set out to complete the Blue Line light rail, improve our bus network and make better use of our water assets for transport purposes.”

The third pillar is social development, with Ambode promising that his administration would invest in the people by ensuring that their health, education and security are not compromised.

On the fourth pillar, which is sustainable development, Ambode said: “We must always bear in mind the future, such that our children can live and prosper here despite the growth in population that we can expect in the future. Our planning must take into account the generation of pollution that comes with economic growth and the vulnerability of a low-lying coastal region like Lagos to changes in climate and flooding.”

“There is always a need to balance the short term solutions to our problems with creating solutions that will stand the test of time. So when you go into smaller groups to think in more detail about the way ahead – please ensure you bear in mind that all our problems are moving targets.

“We have come a long way already but have a long journey ahead. We will in these next three and half years take many great steps together towards the creation of that model mega city – a leader not just in this continent but one that competes with the best in the world,” Ambode said.

Guest speaker and former Minister of Economic Development in the Bahamas, Zhivargo Laing, stressed to the representatives of over 12,000 Lagos service servants that it is responsibility of the Executive arm of government to promote peace, justice and make citizens know that they have a say in the government.

Speaking on the theme: “Leading for Change”, Laing urged the participants to be accountable, responsible, make quality decisions and work in unity to make Lagos work for all.

“If Lagos can achieve its dream, not just Africa will see it, the world will know. You must size up this moment and seize it because you cannot do anything later about this moment. You must explain your decisions. Any leader who wants to be liked by everyone may soon be unlike by everyone. The best you can do is to make the best decision you can make,” Laing counseled.

Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, who took time to present a situation report of policing the state in the last five months and pockets of criminal activities, also answered some questions bothering the minds of participants as it relates to security of lives and property.

Owoseni said the Police was becoming the victims in attempting to implement the Road Traffic Law 2012 with civility. This he said would be difficult as recalcitrant drivers and motorcycle operators would continue to remain defiant.

The police boss, however, thanked the governor for his support to the police in the last five months, expressing optimism that more collaborative efforts between the government and the police would help outrun the competition of armed robberies and other nefarious activities that threaten the peace and security of the citizenry.

Responding, Ambode urged the State Police Command to step up their surveillance in the state and come up with new strategies to tackle the wave of criminal activities in the state.

He pledged the support of the state government towards effective policing of the state, however saying that the resources ploughed into securing the state must reflect in the reduction of criminal activities.

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