Governor Nasir El Rufai has been described as a pacesetter who has the courage to break new grounds as a leader and has achieved a lot of ‘’firsts’’ in his six years in office, Mr Ishaya Dare Akawu, former Chairman of National Assembly Service Commission has said.
Speaking on Tuesday at the 8th National and State Assembly Service Commission conference holding in Kaduna, Mr Akawu said that Kaduna state was the first to pioneer the electronic voting in the country, the first state to set up the Assembly Service Commission and the first state to host the National Service Commission when it was designing its mission and vision.
The former chairman of the National Assembly Service Commission also acknowledged that Governor El Rufai has completely changed the face of Kaduna state due to the numerous developmental projects that he has embarked upon.
Mr Akawu who described El Rufai as audacious, said that ‘’it appears that you don’t even have fear of your own safety. I want to think that that is a very peculiar gift that God has given you. ‘’
‘’Great leaders, for those of you who have read history, have been people who have come to break new grounds. They could be very unpopular when they are doing what they were doing, but history will determine your place,’’ he pointed out.
According to him, ‘’Kaduna was amongst the first to establish the Assembly Service Commission. You are also the first to host the National Assembly Service Commission in 2001 when we were preparing our vision and mission, we held it in Kaduna.’’
Mr Akawu also advised the National Assembly to revisit the issue of electronic voting as it resumes plenary session, adding that ‘’everything may not have gone well but I think that it is something that deserves to be given attention.’’
‘’Governor El Rufai has tested it and it has shown that it can work, it may not have worked 100% but it is desirable,’’ Mr Akawu further said, adding that El Rufai should sell the idea of electronic voting to his colleagues.
The ex Chairman praised former Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim and ex House Speaker Ghali Umar Naabba as the two people who midwifed the National Assembly Service Commission.
‘’One very important person who worked both behind the scenes and in front was the late senator Ibrahim Mantu. He indeed played a very key and critical role but unfortunately, he died just before a day like this, ‘’ he added.
Akawu congratulated the present leadership of the National Assembly Service Commission for having recognized the need to reposition the National Assembly to achieve greater heights, adding that ‘’an institution that is 20 years old certainly needs to be re-jigged and this is what you are doing. ‘’
The former chairman reminded members of the commission that their job is not easy because they have more than 400 bosses and ‘’ in the context of the National Assembly, every member of the National Assembly is your boss. And they will wish you to do what they want.’’
‘’ So, you have to be very careful in the way that you navigate in the waters of the National Assembly without offending one of those 450 gentlemen. So, you need skills and Gods guidance to be able to deliver,’’ he noted.
Akawu appealed to the legislature to allow the National Assembly Service Commission and the Assembly Service Commission in the states, to do their work as provided by in the law, noting that ‘’it is one thing to approve and sign into law the modus of operation and it is another thing to allow them to operate. ‘’
In his remarks, Governor El Rufai argued that the theme of annual conference, Repositioning Assembly Service Commissions for Optimal Service Delivery, is apt.
‘’No country can rise much above the quality of its public service, the men and women on whose shoulders rest the duty to deliver public goods, regulate markets and institutions and enforce law and order.
‘’This goal of service requires dedication and zeal, but also the skill, knowledge and human qualities to make the best choices in developing policies and in implementing programmes,’’ he added.
According to El Rufai, constant attention to public service reform is a non-negotiable requirement for the progress of any country.
‘’The public service requires investments in the skills, training, work tools and welfare of its personnel, along with careful attention to its size and its efficient adoption of technology.
‘’Nigeria does not need an endless profusion of new agencies in the public sector, but a more efficient deployment of what already exists, strengthening those are actually needed as part of the effective deployment of public resources,’’ he added.
According to the governor, ‘’In Kaduna State, we have created new agencies where needed and restructured ministries, departments and agencies.
‘’We inherited 19 ministries in 2015, and we reduced them to 14. We have fewer commissioners than previous governments. Where our immediate predecessors had 24 commissioners, we are operating with only 14, six of whom are women,’’ he added.