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Full Text: Tinubu’s Speech at 2024 Civil Service Week

President Tinubu to Federal Civil Service: Those who fraudulently received salaries must refund the money

Full text of the speech by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the award and gala night of the 2024 Civil Service Week held Saturday night in Abuja

Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume delivered the speech.

1. I am pleased to be present at the 2024 Civil Service Award and Gala Night, the climax of the week-long 2024 Civil Service Week.
2. During my recent visit to South Africa, I kept abreast of the week’s activities. I was particularly struck by the revelations the Head of the Civil Service shared regarding employees who had relocated abroad while drawing salaries without formally resigning. It is heartening to hear that measures have been taken to address this issue, but we must ensure those responsible are held accountable and restitution is made.
3. The culprits must be made to refund the money they have fraudulently collected. Their supervisors and department heads must also be punished for aiding and abetting the fraud under their watch.
4. The Nigerian Civil Service cannot just be a workplace where ‘anything is possible,’ where workers violate rules without the fear of punishment or repercussion. The civil service of any nation is too important for such misconduct to take root or be tolerated.
5. The Civil Service is the bedrock, the engine, the locomotive of government, which is necessary for the government to deliver public goods to citizens. As politicians, we are no more than drivers of the locomotives that you provide.
6. Those who say that a nation is as good as its civil service are close to the truth. You are the real establishment that remains to pilot government affairs as we politicians come and go.
7. Over the decades, successive governments initiated various National Development Plans and programs, and all relied on the Civil Service to translate such plans into high-impact programs and projects across all sectors of the nation’s economy. We look to you to continue this legacy under our administration.
8. Therefore, we are steadfast in our commitment to cultivating, empowering, and professionalizing our human capital within the Civil Service. It is imperative to foster a culture of excellence and instill confidence among our civil servants.
9. Our administration acknowledges the challenges the civil service faces. I want to give you the assurance that we are committed to ensuring the welfare and development of all civil servants to deliver optimal performance for the growth of our nation.
10. Over the past year, I have provided all the necessary support to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to ensure the continued stability of the civil service and to implement far-reaching policies and reforms capable of improving efficiency and service delivery.
10. Also, within the last year, our administration approved the implementation of the civil service reforms in the Federal Capital Territory administration. With this development, the FCT administration now has its civil service commission, Head of Service and six permanent secretaries. Now, the workers can aspire to reach the pinnacle of their careers before retiring.
11. I hope the week-long event has provided an opportunity not just to
celebrate the achievements of the service but also reflect on what it can do better.
12. It is heartwarming to note that the Federal Civil Service is driving a strategic plan that is aligned with the priorities of our Renewed Hope Agenda.
13. The Plan, I am aware, prioritises Capacity Building and Talent Management through which well-structured training such as the LEAD-P and SMAT-P are conducted. This is in addition to structures put in place to promote a culture of innovation in the Service.
14. I commend the dedication of Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, CFR, in steering these reforms towards creating a world-class service that upholds meritocracy and excellence.
15. To Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executives, I urge swift implementation of these reforms within your respective ministries. Our commitment to delivering on the Renewed Hope Agenda demands urgency, without compromising due process.
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16. I am aware that due process must be followed in conducting government business but that should not give room for any form of red-tapes or insistence on unnecessary bureaucracies.
17. We have pledged to work for the Nigerian people, and it is critical that all civil servants, and indeed all public servants, recognize the key role they must play in the achievement of our national potential.
18. Today, we celebrate the contributions of our Civil Service to nation-building, honouring officers who embody integrity, efficiency, and dedication. Your exemplary service exemplifies our collective commitment to a better Nigeria.
19. The faces I see here today are those of determined people, imbued with ‘can do’ spirits. I see faces of diverse ethnicities. I see the faces of numerous professionals, all teaming up to make this country a better place.
20. I congratulate all the awardees and I want to remind you that
to whom much is given, much is also expected. As you are honoured today, remember that with recognition comes responsibility. Your continued dedication is essential as we strive for excellence in service to our nation.
21. God bless the Nigerian Civil Service and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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