From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja


In a grand ceremony held in Abuja on Monday, the federal government honored 13 outstanding civil servants who excelled in the “2023 Annual Federal Civil Service Competition” with a total sum of N7,750,000.

The first prize winner got N3,000,000, while the first runner-up got N1,750,000), and the second runner–up got N1,000,000. Ten other innovators got N200,000 each as consolation prizes.

The occasion was to celebrate innovation within the civil service, providing a platform for talented individuals to showcase their problem-solving skills by offering ingenious solutions to challenges within the Service.

In the 4th edition of the competition, had a total of 203 submissions which were meticulously reviewed and compiled from were emerged 99 civil servants who showcased their innovative ideas.

Following a rigorous selection process, 28 outstanding individuals advanced to the second round, while the final showdown, held on March 22nd, 2024, witnessed intense competition among 14 talented contestants.

Ultimately, the event culminated in the emergence of three top-winning ideas that captivated the audience and judges alike.

Additionally, ten other deserving participants were recognized for their exceptional contributions, highlighting the depth of talent and creativity showcased throughout the competition.

In her keynote address at the ceremony, Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF), Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, expressed her resolve to sustain innovation contest in the Civil Service to maintain tangible results it was yielding.

She noted that public service innovation was key to keep up with the pace of global change.

“By investing and promoting a culture and ecosystem for innovation to thrive, the Public Service can retain and attract the best talents in a competitive labour market.

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“Truly, you can bring out the best in civil servants at all levels when they are engaged and provided with the enabling environment to find expression in the work they do.

“This is why the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation remains committed to sustaining and strengthening the structures established to drive innovation in the public service which are in line with the policy thrust of the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan 2021-2025 (FCSSIP25),” she said.

Yemi-Esan added that since the first edition in 2020, the Civil Service has been able to effectively deploy several solutions that were developed in-house.”

These, according to her, include:
“The Compro CBT Application for the Conduct of Confirmation Exams in the Civil Service;

“Anonymous Reporting System (ARS) which is a whistleblowing application; and

“Office Space Management Solution which has helped the office to effectively reallocate and manage office spaces in the various phases of the Federal Secretariat Complex, Abuja.”

She stated that ”Just last week, the Office commenced the Pre-Promotion Training for Officers on Salary Grade Level 14. It will interest you to know that the application used to conduct the mock assessment exam was developed by an officer in the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation. The web-based application is secure and has the feature of admitting all the prospective candidates on the portal and assigning unique user I.Ds to them. This is in addition to administering exam questions and scoring candidates in real-time.

Yemi-Esan said “These and other innovative ideas only revalidate the point shared by the Chief Executive of the Anambra State ICT Agency, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, during a panel discussion at the Omniverse Summit held last month in Lagos, wherein he said:

“The notion that civil servants lack innovation is a misconception we are determined to overturn”.
The Permanent Secretary, Special Duties Office, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Magdalene Ajani, explained that in order to build a world-class, effective, and responsive civil service, as envisioned in the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan (FCSSIP 2020) and the successor plan (FCSSIP 2025), the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has remained committed to institutionalising innovation in the Federal Civil Service.

She said one of the strategies deployed towards achieving this goal is the implementation of the Federal Civil Service Innovation Competition, with the maiden edition organised in the year 2020.

Ajani added that the competition provided a veritable platform to showcase and celebrate the ingenuity, creativity, and problem-solving prowess of civil servants.