The Secretaries to the State Governments (SSGs) are essentially the backbone of any government, playing significant roles in the successful formulation and implementation of policies and programmes of the government.
The Development Agenda Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission in recognition of this fact, partnered with the Lagos State Office of the Secretary to the State Government to organise the maiden edition of the Southwest Secretaries to the State Governments Forum with the objective of facilitating interactions involving lesson and experience sharing and a collective approach to cross cutting challenges.
This first edition was hosted by Lagos State at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja GRA with the theme: “Leveraging Good Practices in Managing Cabinet Affairs Offices”.
The meeting had in attendance: The Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo Olu, represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha; Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Affairs Office, Office of the SGF, Mr.James Sule, the host Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folashade Jaji and her counterparts from Ogun and Oyo States, Mr. Olatokunbo Joseph Talabi and Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun respectively, while that of Ekiti, Ondo and Osun States were represented by Permanent Secretaries in charge of Cabinet Office, namely- Mr. Adedayo Ajobiewe, Mr. Oladele Adesanmi, Mr. Gbenga Adeniran respectively. Also in attendance was Deputy Head of Mission, British High Commission, Mr. Peter Thomas and the Special Adviser to the Governor, Lagos State, on DAWN Commission Matters, Engr. Adekunle Olayinka and other senior public service officials.
At the heart of conversations at the Forum was the important roles the Office of the SSG plays in the delivery of government policies and programmes in ensuring citizens and residents in respective States access the dividends of democracy. Emphasis was also placed on the significance of collaboration and cooperation in deepening reforms in the Cabinet Affairs Offices across the Region.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, delivered a noteworthy Keynote Address on the reform initiatives undertaken by his Office, specifically the Central Delivery Coordination Unit (CDCU) and the Performance Management System. These initiatives currently enable his Office to track the implementation of key government policies and programmes.
In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, expressed his delight that a meeting of such nature was holding. He appreciated DAWN Commission for coordinating the Southwest Governments. Dr. Hamzat suggested that the Forum be used to reflect on the implementation of government policies. The Deputy Governor highlighted the need to create policies and programs for an increasingly restive youthful population.
The Director General of DAWN Commission, Mr. Seye Oyeleye, delivered a presentation on the Commission’s achievements and plans in the next few years. Highlighted programmes of the Commission include the launching of the Omoluabi Book, the Western Nigeria Health Blueprint, the Southwest Regional Railway Project, the Agricultural Transformation Roadmap amongst others.
Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun, Secretary to the State Government, Oyo State, shared her Office’s experience on the appraisal and post appraisal of the functions of the Cabinet Office facilitated by DAWN Commission and FCDO. She explained that the recommendations as a result of the appraisal were already being implemented.
The Southwest Secretaries to the State Governments shared their experiences and the lessons acquired in the course of their work. The Lagos State, Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folashade Jaji, highlighted her office’s experience with the One Community at a Time Initiative that was conceived to support underserved communities in Lagos while Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, the Ogun State SSG, spoke about his experience on implementation of e-governance and e-archiving. Useful suggestion was also articulated on the best way to manage sensitive information that emanate from cabinet meetings.
At the end of the meeting, it was resolved that the meeting be held quarterly so as to deepen collaboration and experience sharing among the SSGs and they also committed to replicating the Federal Government’s Central Delivery Coordination Unit (CDCU) which incorporates Performance Management System designed to be an enabler for delivery and provision of real time information on performance. The Forum also committed to offering support to DAWN Commission for optimum performance.