By Henry Uche, Lagos

The newly inaugurated President/Chairman of Council of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSAN), Taiwo Gbenga Owokalade, said the institute has reached an agreement with the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN) to train public servants to boost capacity for maximum productivity in their respective sectors.

At his investiture yesterday in Lagos, the president maintained that ICSAN under his leadership would pursue its vision with every sense of responsibility and doggedness to ensure that the goal of the partnership is achieved.

‘My administration will synergise with different renowned bodies like the Public Service Institute of Nigeria, National Institute For Legislative and Democratic Studies and others to meet our set targets.

‘We have set 12 point agenda which includes: Value Proposition, Aggressive Industry Growth, Internship, Name change, Local and International partnership, Rebranding, digitalisation of operations, Staff Development among others.’

With the mantra, ‘Uncommon Courage: Refreshing Opportunities’ and the vision to take the institute to higher ground, Owokalade affirmed that every stakeholder of the institute shall greatly be impacted by his 12 point agenda especially graduate -members who need the institute most to do exploit as young professionals.

‘We shall conscientiously equip our members especially graduate members with the requisite skills and connections to distinguish them among others, we shall provide mentorship and other fundamental training to make them not only employable but employers of labour,’ he asseverated.

Similarly, the immediate past president of the Institute, Bode Ayeku bemoaned the level of economic hardship in the country which according to him was a result of fundamental problems bedevilling Nigeria which are skewed constitution, a poor political structure, maladministration and mismanagement of human, financial and natural resources among others.

Ayeku moved for the adoption of technology for electronic voting and transmission of results saying that Nigeria has wasted enormous resources ab initio through analogy/manual operations of elections. He noted that the electorate across the country have lost interest in Nigeria’s body polity because political leaders have failed woefully to deliver dividends of democracy neither is there any confidence in sight.

‘The constitution needs to be overhauled holistically. For instance, having over 50 Political Parties is unnecessary, the body language of politicians is retrogressive, people are suffering and calling for improving the system and processes, yet some persons care less instead they seek personal interest. If this administration has exhausted every idea to move this country forward, let them call for foreign consultants to advise them because we not making progress economic- wise,’ he posited.

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He added that if something meaningful is done urgently to rescue the economy, the situation would get aggravated and a time would come when not even one eligible voter would go out to exercise his civic responsibility (voting) as it was evident in the last local government elections held in Lagos and Ogun States.

‘It is shameful that the topics of discourse in every media outlet since the last elections have been about 2023 general elections and with no improvement in sight. What we need urgently is a fundamental constitution review, because that is where our problems start. We shouldn’t be living in the stone age. Politics should be made a part-time job not otherwise. The rumour about creating more states is a suicide mission for the country because most States cannot survive without running to Abuja. Covid-19 has taught some States and corporate bodies to be frugal with financial and material resources. Howbeit, I encourage everyone to continue to spread the gospel of good governance which is what Nigeria needs to become a great country,’ he opined.

On his part, the Director-General of NILDS, Abubakar Sulaiman, reiterated that a major factor hampering the development of Nigeria is lack of capacity to deal with contemporary complexities of governance which include but are not limited to: A history of weak political leadership, socio-political instability, pervasive corruption, poor macroeconomic management, climate change, rising insecurity.

The NILDS DG stressed that for Nigeria to effectively address the challenge of underdevelopment and rising levels of poverty, ‘investments in infrastructure and competitiveness must go hand in glove with investments in people.

‘The pandemic has shown that governance institutions have critical roles to play not only in managing crises but also in planning for a sustainable recovery. It has further exposed the need for a stronger, flexible and more responsive civil service that can incorporate risk management and has access to contingencies in an emergency.

‘Emerging lessons from the pandemic point to the need to transform models of government operations and service delivery, building strong and virile public and private sector institutions as means to achieving inclusive and sustainable development.

According to him, the needed change can only be feasible when professionals and professional bodies are able to identify problems, understand the ever-complex global context and provide technical expertise and solutions.

He encouraged ICSA members across the country to offer professional guidance to persons in leadership positions in different sectors adding that NILDS is ready to partner with ICSAN in the development of corporate governance in Nigeria especially in public sector institutions including the legislature.

‘We shall work with ICSAN to pursue sound corporate governance and capacity building in line with our mandate to strengthen capacity and provide technical support to the legislature and other institutions of democracy in Nigeria. With the growing independence of the legislature and the operationalisation of financial autonomy, ICSAN and NILDS would collaborate to promote and entrench good values. The Institute is already developing a Code of Conduct for Legislative Staff of Nigeria. We can also work together to strengthen the regulatory framework governing the Institute and bring it to sync with modern realities,’ he assured.