Professor Attahiru Jega, is one man Nigerians will not forget in a hurry. Memories of him even come to fore now that Nigeria is reeling from a presidential election that did not meet expectation.

Reform The Public Sector- Jega


His calmness when Orubebe was accusing him of compromise, during the collation of the election that saw the ousting of Goodluck Jonathan leaves much to remember.

But this time, few days after the 2023 presidential election, he has something to tell the Nigerian government.

He is the immediate former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and he bemoaned the subpar standard of leadership in the Nigerian public service.

In his speech on “Public Sector Leadership in Times of Crisis” at the Aig-Imoukhuede Public Leaders Programme concluding ceremony in Abuja on Wednesday, Jega made this point clear.


“In most developing countries, and certainly in Nigeria, the quality of public sector leadership lags behind what occurs in other sectors, particularly the private sectors.

“Although, there is now also increasing concern about the declining values of integrity, as well as professionalism and efficiency in the delivery of services in the Nigerian private sectors,” the former INEC chairman said.

Also, Professor Jega noted that efforts to reform the public sector since the mid-1980s had failed.

Jega Speaks On Public Sector Reforms 

According to Jega, “substantively, this means that the Nigerian public sector has, for a long time, been in dire need of’re-composition’ to deliver public goods and services efficiently and effectively, in order to re-establish the capacity of the Nigerian state to play one of its key roles, which is the deployment of state resources for the satisfaction of citizens’ needs and aspirations through the delivery of public goods and services that promote, protect, and defend human rights”.


According to him, progress and development in any sector of a contemporary nation state, be it public or private, or even the civil society sphere, depend on the calibre of leadership supplied by the spectrum of leaders who manage, direct, and regulate public sector organisations, structures, and processes.

He stated that it had been a consistent difficulty that needed to be addressed: how to find, develop, and mentor capable senior cadre employees who would grow into good leaders with impressive experience and formidable leadership skill sets.


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Sadly, he said, governments in nations like Nigeria have not given the issue more attention.

All We Ask Is; ‘Improve Lives Of Citizens’

The founder of the foundation that organised the programme, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, stated during his own remarks that there was a direct link between a nation’s public sector performance and its economic progress.

According to Aig-Imoukhuede, the foundation is confident that developing an efficient, value-driven, and result-focused African public sector will result in a notable and measurable improvement in the continent’s economic, social, and political performance as well as, obviously, a better quality of life for its citizens.

A functioning public sector, according to him, “improves the lives of the citizens we serve,

“For me, at the very least, I will say, if you claim you are a performing public worker, it means that you would improve a poor circumstance.

“All we want of you as citizens of the country that benefits from your service is that you would improve any scenario, even the best one, and that’s all we ask of you”.


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