Members of SWARHOSPS at the event

Members of SWARHOSPS at the event

The South West Association of Retired Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries (SWARHOSPS) on Thursday charged the government to set up security committees at the ward and local government levels to complement the state’s efforts towards proffering solutions to security challenges.

President,  SWARHOSPS, Dr. Ebenezer Okebukola stated this at the 4th Quarterly General Meeting of the association held in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday.

He said security is a major concern as pensioners were not immune from the security threats in the land.

“Security of lives and properties should be of interest to all citizens and should not be limited to only the agencies charged with the responsibility.

“It will be of great importance for the government to consider setting up security committees at the ward levels and local government levels to complement the state’s efforts towards adequately proffering solutions to the security challenges,” he suggested.

According to Okebukola, the committees should comprise all stakeholders’ representatives whose schedule of work or activities were incidental to the peace and security of their immediate environment.

Also speaking, President of the Association of Lagos State Retired Head of Service and Permanent Secretaries (ALARHOSPS), Dr. Olufemi Olugbile said security is a matter of concern and importance to everyone in the society, saying that it would be an appropriate subject for enlightened deliberation at the forum.

He said there was a need for a coordinated development strategy for the South West region of Nigeria, adding that a ready-to-hand vehicle to drive this process is the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission.

According to Olugbile, a body of retired top civil servants represented a treasure trove of human resources and experience that logically should be synchronised with such a vehicle to achieve optimal performance, which could be guaranteed to impact the lives of the people in a continuous measurable one.

The ALARHOSPS’s president also said it is widely recognised that the civil service is the engine room of all development, saying that members of the association were men and women who had risen on merit to the loftiest heights of careers in the civil service.

Olugbile stated that the welfare of people who had spent the most active years of their lives in offering meritorious service to the society, is a matter that should always be in focus.

He said it was only in a system where this is guaranteed that those who were currently manning the civil service in all these states, seeing how well their predecessors were taken care of, would be able to give of their best in office without distraction or the temptation to seek underhanded ways to ensure their future comfort.

Director-General, DAWN Commission, Seye Oyeleye, in his keynote address, titled: “The DAWN Agenda: Problems and Prospects for Public Service inclusion in Accelerating the Process,” said the indispensability of the civil/public service to socio-economic development of a nation-state is undisputable.

“In deed, it has been said that the level of development of a country is determined by the effectiveness of its public/civil service. And the reason for this submission is not far-fetched because of the permanent nature of the institution,” he said.

He called on SWARHOSPS to partner with DAWN in managing the Western Nigeria Regional Integration Agenda.

“We think the association, bringing a reservoir of experience, expertise and skills, may work with us in building the capacity of the public service and even that of the commission’s staff and collaborate on policy research, policy briefs, position papers and management of public service,’ Oyeleye added.

Speaking at the event, Lagos State Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola said without a doubt, the concept of a forum of retired senior technocrats was obviously informed by the conviction of governments that the diverse experiences of members, all of whom had held senior Public Service positions, would no doubt enrich policy formulation/development, the Public Service, quality of public service delivery and overall governance.

He said it was expected that members’ public service experiences and the benefit of their closer ties with their respective communities, post retirement, would indeed provide rare insights and perspectives that would be of immense benefit to public policy development and quality of governance.

Muri-Okunola said he was convinced that the Southwest Chapter of the Association of retired Heads of Service and Permanent Secretaries is uniquely positioned to facilitate the faster development of the region through conscious and deliberate linkages and experience sharing, not only with governments in Southwestern Nigeria, but with other relevant entities, including the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission.

He urged the association to focus on how it could help governments in the Southwest to monitor and report on public opinion about government policies; monitor and evaluate community/local government developmental projects; advise government on quick wins with respect to observed problems and challenges in communities; and engage citizens at the grassroots in civic education and enlightenment, among others.

“The challenges today may be different from what obtained during your time in Office, but the goals of good governance and quality service delivery remains the same.

“Therefore, in rendering your service of love and sacrifice, it is important to recognize that the new normal would necessitate that things must be done differently, henceforth. As senior citizens, always ensure that all COVID 19 safety protocols are strictly adhered to where the Association’s programmes and activities require physical attendance,” Muri-Okunola, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Public Service Office, Samson Ajibade said.