Edo State Government has officially commissioned the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy (JOOPSA). The initiative, named after the former Executive Governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, recently started in Benin City. The JOOPSA initiative started during his 84th birthday anniversary.
The commissioning and birthday commemoration featured a guided tour of the JOOPSA’s state-of-the-art facilities, a keynote address, a cultural dance presentation, and a grand State Banquet, among other activities.
Speaking during the event, the Edo State Head of Service (HOS), Anthony Okungbowa (Esq.), reiterated that JOOPSA is a small part of the efforts made by Governor Godwin Obaseki to develop the civil and public Service of the State. According to the HOS, “If JOOPSA is the only thing that the Governor has done, it means he has done well.
The diverse trainings at JOOPSA provide an end-to-end approach for visioning, goal setting and driving the Civil/Public Servants towards successful implementation of initiatives.
“To say that Governor Obaseki is the best Governor in Nigeria is said with all sense of responsibility. Beyond the intellectual resource properties of the Service, which is key, they have also assisted many reforms in other sectors. What the current administration has done is unprecedented in the State’s history and the whole Country.”
Speaking about the State Secretariat Complex, Okungbowa Esq. said it encompasses everything that one can think about, explaining that it is one of the best in the history of this Country. He also stated categorically that the current administration has revolutionized the civil and public service of Edo State, adding that Governor Obaseki is the most workers-friendly Governor in the Country.
Highlighting some reforms made during the administration, the HOS said that Edo State Government is currently the only government in Nigeria with a standing instruction of automatic employment to First Class Graduates of Edo extraction across the Country.
He said Edo is one of the few states in Nigeria that are actively engaged in the development of young talents for their public service, stressing that Edo State Government has hired over 5000 officers since 2020 strictly based on merit because Edo State has the fairest and the most inclusive employment process in the whole of the Country today.
Commenting on workers’ welfare, Anthony Okungbowa, Esq. said, “Edo is the best paid public Service in the whole of the Country with a minimum wage of N40,000, contrary to other States which pay N30,000 minimum wage to their staff.
While there is a casting down in other states, in Edo, there is a lifting up, as the only State in the Federation whose government has approved a 13th-month salary for its workforce, alongside a series of allowances, such as special teachers’ allowance, including regular and prompt payment of wages, as well as e-Governance compliance in the whole of the Country.
Free internet services, almost 100 per cent electricity, renewed management system, good infrastructure and a conducive environment have all been put in place.”
Delivering his keynote address, the Former Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Stephen Oronsaye, emphasized that a strong synergy between the head of Service and the political head remains the best way the political head can deliver services to the public through civil servants.
He says, “When there is a motivated public service, there will be feedback on the best ways to have things done. When civil Service is not delivered, the political head has much to do with it.”
While commending Governor Obaseki for extending the fibre connection to various parts of the State, Oronsaye suggested that the government must standardize JOOPSA’s certification to be at par with similar institutions.
He maintained that in-service performance management, mentorship, rewarding good behaviour, punishing bad behaviour, and avoiding lobbying are very important. He further opined that the government must work to retain the foundation already laid in the State.
Expressing his excitement about his name being immortalized with an institution like JOOPSA, which symbolizes excellence, the first Executive Governor of the State, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, said that he was impressed with the new State of Edo under the leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
According to him, “Governor Obaseki sees the direction that the world is going; he decided to prepare Edo State ahead, especially in inculcating integrity, excellence, optimal performance, amongst other virtues in the Service. This underscores why JOOPSA was introduced.”
The former Governor further urged the Edo workforce to maintain excellence in their duties and other areas of their lives, saying people always notice everyone’s disposition. He said everybody has a decision regardless of training and upbringing. “The decision to stand up for one’s integrity, or to sacrifice it, is in the hands of every individual,” he added. Chief Oyegun concluded by saying that he considers himself fulfilled.