Highlights of #PODEMeets Facebook Live with Dr. Joe Abah, outgoing Director General, Bureau Of Public Service Reforms (BPSR)

I set out to demonstrate that change is possible in Nigeria and that you can re-orientate the public service.

We successfully intervened in areas that affect the day- to-day lives of citizens through the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat, Visa on Arrival, making airport experiences better, getting passports easier, driving licenses, tax clearances, identity management numbers, and so on.

I aimed to show Nigerians that with skill, determination and courage, change could happen here.

This is what I set out to achieve and is by far, my greatest achievement.

I am positive that we will still get to it in terms of making sure our (public) agencies are fit for purpose and can deliver better.

Cutting down on the number of agencies does not mean the other ones will perform better. The emphasis must be on delivery. It is important the agencies function because they are the ones that have the power, the law and the money. They need to be able to generate wealth for government, have the best staff because when agencies are working, the people on the street will say government is working. Also, I wish I had more time to work on policing but I am sure it will be worked on. I also wish I was able to work on the collective of revenue generating agencies such as the NNPC.

That is why I am pleased that Nigeria signed up for the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the OGP includes a permanent dialogue mechanism with the civil society.

BPSR will shortly be releasing, ‘A Citizen’s Guide to Budgeting”. The guide will cover a wide range of basic issues about budgeting.

I learnt that as a public servant, being able to instantly communicate information to millions of people directly without hoping the press man will not distort the information is a major plus.

Being able to explain things in your own words was great. The downside is that it takes a lot of time.

The fact that I’m leaving as the Director General of BPSR does not mean I will no longer continue to be involved in the reforms.

In some way or the other, I will still be hopefully able to add value.

I will miss my staff and I will miss the power to intervene directly in issues but it is my life’s work and it continues, I never will retire because this is my life’s work.

This is why I do not feel that level of disengagement because I expect to continue to be involved. I never got used to the trappings of power so that makes it easier. I never demanded or enjoyed special privileges.

My approach in BPSR was that I will keep going until somebody says stop and no one ever stopped me. We mostly feel that as public servants, someone will not like something but it is just that we do not push our agenda enough.

If you are also not hung up on taking the glory, you will go further. You cannot be focused on chasing the right objective and be stopped by anybody. I urge people not to be self-defeatist.

Over the next few years, I will try to earn a lot more money for my family; go back to being able to take scheduled holidays with the family a few times a year.

I will be available to all for hire although I do not expect to still be as active on social media. I will be focused on more intellectual and academic work.




Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

In Greece, attempting to destroy democracy from within

Surprisingly, They Have Been Mooring Since Last Year


FALSE: Kabaka of Buganda did not fly to Germany for treatment in a presidential jet

“Thank You Our Dear President.”

Transatlantic partnership: leading together

Aso Villa Reads for 18/08/2021

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Government of Nigeria

Government of Nigeria

More from Medium

Random Thoughts that pop into my head as I go through the hallway

To The Cobbler We Go

The Nature of Reality

A 70th Birthday to Remember! The Story of Bonnie Kittle — Polio Survivor

Heading up the chairlift for another run.