By Oyewale Oyelola
The Kano State Civil Service in the last three years has being experiencing different reforms tailored not only to improve efficiency and increase productivity, but to also equip civil servants with modern skills to assist them function effectively on their jobs. Indeed the incumbent governor of Kano State, Dr. Umar Abdullahi Ganduje has changed the narrative in the civil service with introduction of policies and programmes aimed at creating conducive working environment for workers and boost morale of civil servants, who usually plays significant role in success of any administration.
Governor Ganduje’s friendly disposition to Kano State workforce is not suprising because he is also a product of the civil service system which many feels are not receiving the right commendation for contribution to state and national development. Studies revealed that government poor attitude towards civil serviants has demoralized many workers thereby leading to different forms of unprofessional conduct like lateness to work, absentism, poor attitude to work, nepotism, bribery and corruption among others.
However, the governor despite the unfavorable economic condition across the country that made it impossible for 23 states to pay workers’ salaries in early days in office, remain committed to prompt payment of salaries and pensions against all odds. The fall in global oil price has negative impact on revenue accruable to federation account which is the main source of funds for federal government, states and local governments. Some states in order to cope with financial pressure introduces half salary payment and suspends monthly payment to pensioners.
Although, one could say the decision was a child of necessity but Governor Ganduje as good Public Administrator during this period reminded himself of Winston Churchhill quote that says: “It is no use saying “we are doing our best”. You have to succeed in doing what is necessary”.
To this end, the governor created a Salary and Wages Directorate to articulate, implement, sustain effective and transparent salary administration for State’s workforce in 2015. The efforts of the directorate resulted to consistent prompt payment of salaries worth N9billion monthly to 143,000 ccivil servants on payroll of Kano State. The state also used N4billion Paris Club Refund to pay gratuity of retirees from the civil service. Ganduje led administration within first year in office integrated 3,572 permanent teachers, 874 Health Personnel and 1036 Corporate Security Guards into the payroll of Kano State and all affected staffers who were previously contract staff are now enjoying full benefits as Civil servants.
Aside that, the kindhearted governor signed into law “State Pension and Gratuity (Amendment) Bill 2017” to repeal tenure regime for directors and top local government officials in the state civil service in order to give them opportunity to reach peak of the career. Investigation shows the old law stipulates automatic retirement from service for directors and top council officials after servicing at the top level for eight years. The action has restored hope of many civil servants who desire to attain highest level in the civil service and makes Kano State Civil Service attractive to best brains who would have crossed to the private sector.
Likewise, the state government as part of overall plan to reform civil service for improve service delivery embraces SERVICOM that was first introduced during era of President Olusegun Obasanjo. The full implementation of SERVICOM is helping to curb corruption, block leakages, lateness to work and break bureaucratic bottlenecks militating against smooth service delivery.
Furthermore, over 5000 workers have accessed about N1billion interest free car loans for civil servants across all cadres in the last two years. Governor Ganduje in his address during the release of second phase of N450million in 2017 said: “Paying workers entitlements and introduction of free interest loans is another way of creating avenue for improvement of their wellbeing. Payment of salaries and providing more conducive working environment for workers.” He urged Civil Servants to reciprocate the gesture by remaining dedicated to their duties.
Similarly, Kano State Government under Governor Ganduje has given priority to training and retraining of civil servants with the aim of improving efficiency and increasing productivity in the civil service.
The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and private training organisations have trained thousands of civil servants under incumbent APC led government in the state. The state government has also introduced Contributory Health Care Scheme geared towards providing quality medical services to civil servants and their family members. Workers are now getting promotions and other entitlements as at when due. Also, peaceful coexistence between government and labour unions accounted for economic progress the state is experiencing in the recent times.
Suprisingly, Kano State Governor after carrying our competency test for school teachers led to discovery of 25,000 unqualified teachers and it’s normal for state government to disengage them, but Governor Ganduje amazed the world when he directed Ministry of Education to retain and enrol affected workers into various NCE awarding institutions to remedy their qualifications.
Without doubt Ganduje’s action will make words of Former United States President, Ronald Reagan become reality in the life of those teachers. Reagan said: “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” It’s certain that the 25,000 teachers after completion of their programmes would contribute immensely to upliftment of education standard in the state.
Apart from that, the state governor has promoted deserving primary school teachers and paid accompanying financial benefits. These and other teachers’ friendly attitude made National Union of Teachers at the national level to honor him with 2017 Most Teachers’ Friendly Governor during World Teachers Day. The Minister for Education, Malam Adamu Adamu while eulogosing Governor Ganduje said: “The fact that a governor from the northern states earned such a significant recognition in education automatically elevates Governor Ganduje above his colleagues in terms of focus and performance for good governance.”
On his part, the visionary leader while responding to the award bestowed on him, Ganduje explained: “We have been saying, when you have population, you are at risk, your population can be an asset and your population can be a liability and the only factor that can determine which way to go is education. This necessitated the huge funding for education by our government.”
Expectedly, The Chairman, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in the state, Alhaji Kabiru Ado Minjibin on different forums is always grateful to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje for creating conducive working environment for workers and introducing workers’ friendly policies. Minjibin recently commended Kano State Government led by Governor Ganduje for supporting ongoing NLC 500 Housing units for workers. While, the pen pushers could not overlooked the governor’s labour friendly disposition and Nigerian Union of Journalists in communique issued after their annual workshop held in Kano earlier in the year commended the Governor Ganduje for introduction of numerous workers oriented policies/programmes.
Without mincing words, the governor of most populated state in Nigeria has positioned the state for greatness as no government can succeed with poor human capital. The human capital development approach of incumbent government in Kano State is high commendable because MegaCity like Kano needs proactive, effective, efficient and highly productive workforce in order to move to greater heights among comity of Megacities not only in Nigeria but Africa and the whole world.