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The civil service represents the permanent government that must be equipped to adequately advise the government of the day, implement government programmes, and effectively communicate the reasoning behind government-sanctioned programmes to the citizens, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has said.
Ambode who spoke at a workshop facilitated By Messrs Xls Consult Limited and organised by the Ministry of Establishment, Training and Pensions tagged, “Information Management for Positive Perception of Lagos State Government Programmes” in Lagos.
The Governor represented by the Commissioner for Establishment, Trainings and Pensions, Dr Akintola Benson stated that the net effect is that, if civil servants are well-equipped to discharge these tasks, the programmes of government will be positively perceived by the populace and will thus receive the needed support for success.
He challenged the State Civil Service to come up with data-backed and data-inspired ideas that will rival the examples of France and Moscow.
He said he believes that the popular support that translates into legitimacy has to enable government to deliver benefits to all implies that citizens’ support for government has to be more concrete than some vaguely positive feelings.
He noted that in order to go beyond the vaguely positive feelings, there must be positive perceptions of government along three distinct dimensions.
He said government must be seen as capable and effective in carrying out its activities; government must be seen as treating all people equally and impartially, without favouritism or discrimination; and government must be seen to be sincerely caring about each person’s welfare.
He stressed that only when the government is seen as competent, fair, and caring does it have the kind of support that amounts to legitimacy, adding that these three dimensions – competence, fairness, and caring – are all necessary, because a lack of any one of them is enough to weaken legitimacy.
He said: “For instance, if the government is perceived as unfair, then its legitimacy is reduced even if it is otherwise seen as being competent and caring.” Indeed, it is difficult to argue or disagree with the postulations above and the reason why I have gone to some length to identify these parameters is so that I may point out what the objectives of information management by civil servants in Lagos State ought to be.
“Information has been described as the fuel of government. But when it comes to government, information and the systems that manage it take a front seat. One may suppose that what sustains a government and, in fact, a system of government, is the will of the people. That may be true. But what influences the will of the people is information and the way it is managed. This is why every responsible government will place premium on the establishment, maintenance, and sustenance of a modern, robust, effective and scalable information management system.
“The responsibility for all these fall on the civil service, of course. In most democracies, the civil service represents the ‘permanent government’ that must be equipped to adequately advise the government of the day, implement government programmes, and effectively communicate the reasoning behind government-sanctioned programmes to the citizens. The net effect is that, if civil servants are well-equipped to discharge these tasks, the programmes of government will be positively perceived by the populace and will thus receive the needed support for success.”
Ambode stressed that his administration is, of course, unrepentant and unapologetic in its dogged belief in the all-important role of the civil service.
“This is what informs the many varied and in-depth trainings that have been delivered to all cadres of the Lagos State Civil Service since the assumption of office in 2015.
Today’s training continues in that laudable tradition with a focus on how the Lagos State Civil Service can be better equipped to accurately, effectively, and positively communicate government decisions, actions, and programmes to the citizens of Lagos State and the world at large.
“The bottom line is that governments must find ways of operating that enable citizens to see them as competent, fair, and caring. But while it is admittedly harder than ever to secure all of these positive perceptions at once, a systematic approach can be fashioned out and executed to ensure that the details of governmental actions are communicated in the most accurate and positive manner possible.