5th January, 2022
By Sumaila Ogbaje
Workers in the Ministry of Defence on Tuesday, held a send-off dinner in honour of the retired Permanent Secretary, Mr Musa Istifanus, after 35 years of service to the nation.
Istifanus who assumed duties at the ministry on Dec. 24, 2020, retired from active service on Dec. 31, 2021.
Some of his colleagues, friends and directors of the ministry took turns to eulogise him as he was described as diligent, disciplined and a professional public servant.
Istifanus said that his greatest asset was his humility and friendly disposition towards his subordinates throughout his career in the civil service.
He said that every good leader must first and foremost be a good follower, adding that he learnt a lot from his subordinate members of staff which he said guided him in his conducts.
According to him, “in service, you should be remembered as somebody that served and I want to be remembered as somebody who served meritoriously.
“For you to be a leader, you must understand your followers and once you understand your staff, you will know how to meet their needs to give you the optimum.
“If you want to be at the top, you must also be at the bottom and that is the principle I have used.
“Every director here knows that I have a personal relationship with my staff and you must understand your subordinate to endear them to you,” he said.
The former permanent secretary commended the directors and staff of the ministry who supported him to deliver in his mandate.
He also thanked his wife for standing by and giving him support throughout his sojourn in the civil service.
The Acting Permanent Secretary, Dr Olajide Johnson, described Istifanus as an intelligent, knowledgeable and humble personality.
Johnson said Istifanus came in with a lot of reforms that had transformed service delivery in the ministry of defence, adding that he respected and implemented civil service rules to the letter.
“His humility is second to none and his is a great mentor because we learnt a lot from him. He really took us through the rudiment of leadership,” he said.
Also, the Director of Army Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Mr Sunday Attah, described the former permanent secretary as a detribalised leader with a heart of service.
Attah said that Istifanus believed in doing the right thing for the system to thrive and the nation at large, adding that he had ensured that civil service rules were followed in all things.
“He came with public service rules and the moment you obey the rules you have solved all problems and you will treat everyone as equal.
“We have had a good working relationship with him because he ensured that be brought out the best in you,” he said