By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba has recounted how he initially rejected the posting of Mrs Olusola Idowu as the Permanent Secretary to the ministry.
Speaking at a send forth party in honour of Mrs Idowu who retires on September 23, 2022 from the Civil Service, Agba said he rejected her posting to the Ministry because she was a pharmacist by profession.
The Minister said, “Quite honestly, just before she came around and the announcement was made, I said who is this PS and what is her pedigree and I was told that she was a pharmacist and I turned it down.
“I did everything I could to stop it from happening but she eventually came and the first day we met, that was the first thing I told her.
“The reason behind the rejection was not because I knew her but because she was a pharmacist, coming to work in a ministry whose responsibility was planning around economic development.
“But I’m glad to say that in these last two years and seven months, together working also with other stakeholders, we’ve been able to deliver the national Development Plan 2021-2025, National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan, M and E National Policy.
“We’ve done quite a lot of work in the area of nutrition and social development . The one area that I don’t have quite a lot is experience, which she really had the experience is in the area of the service itself, rules and regulations and she showed a lot of support in this regard.
“She drew my attention to a lot of things that needed to be done in the area of welfare of the staff union. She was always upfront in terms of promotion for staff members. Another area was incorporating the erstwhile planning staff members into the ministry. She took that to heart. I’m glad to say that we’re about 99 per cent to 100 percent done with the process.
“The other one she did too and I didn’t know when she started it, she just called me and said we now have a staff clinic . Unfortunately, I was surprised that a lot of the union’s staff members were against having a clinic that is meant for their good and at the time they were protesting, somebody collapsed, so the clinic became a saving grace before taking the person to the hospital.
“For me, that was very heart-warming and touching. I never knew we could have something like that. Even the issue of providing welfare packages to staff members. We used to do it twice but she said there are four different avenues and what will happen to the other two of it is done only twice. It was her idea, I supported it and think it’s a good one.”
Agba who commended the outgoing Permanent Secretary’s contribution to the successful operations of the ministry wished her well in her future endeavours.
“There is a time for everything and it has got to that now for her to take her departure out of service, but we are glad that she’s leaving with a good name and good health and our prayer for her is that as she leaves, may God continue to strengthen her.
“What I say to you is, I remain a brother to you; my doors are open to you anytime. I didn’t plan to meet you but providence has brought us together. So, let us enjoy the goodness of knowing each other until such a time that the good Lord will call on us to leave this world”, he added.
Responding, Mrs Idowu thanked the Minister, the Directors and entire staff members of the ministry for the parting reception which coincided with her 35th wedding anniversary.