Okwe Obi, Abuja
Acting Head of Service, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, has warned heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), not to bully junior officers with superior ideas on how to reform the civil service.
This is even as she argued that regardless of how many years spent by a director in a ministry of agency, might not guarantee better solutions to problems.
Yemi-Esan explained that heads of MDAs should be open-minded and be humble enough to learn from people who know more than them, and stressed that any attempt to shut up a junior civil servant who brings good ideas would destroy the public service.
Speaking at a one-day public service innovation conference for permanent secretaries and heads of agencies, yesterday in Abuja, she noted that the public service was behind in terms of creativity.
“There’s nothing that kills dreams than when you have a boss that doesn’t understand where you are coming from. That way your fresh ideas, dreams get frustrated. And that is why most of the people here are directors of human resources, reform coordination.
“So that when these young people bring ideas you rather encourage them rather than discourage them. We must think of new ways of doing things. What we are trying to do is to look at our system in the civil service that has been slowing us down. Let us look at new ways of doing them. We do not have to stick with old ways.
“I like what a young man said that he has learnt a new thing. For us to drive innovation that change of attitude and mindset must be done. Please let us be open-minded.
“Let us investigate what they are talking about. There are many researchers in the civil service and if we kill their initiative then we will be killing the civil service,” she said.
Meanwhile, the keynote speaker, Prof Sanjay Sarma, who spoke on creating opportunities by leveraging innovation for effective public service delivery and economic diversification, noted that a time would when the craze for degree certificates would be meaningless because of the upsurge of skilled labourers.
Sarma, who is the Vice President, Open Learning of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), advised civil servants to change their orientation, mindset and think outside the box in solving problems rather than adopting strategies used in the eighties.