It was a day of encomiums and moving testimonials at the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing on Tuesday May 28 as the management staff of the ministries gathered to bid farewell to the outgoing Minister, Babatunde Fashola SAN and Minister of State, Mustapha Baba Shehuri.
Fashola In his valedictory address, Fashola speaking on some of the good works under his watch, urged the staff to continue with the rainy season and the Ember months preparations, pointing out that they are critical for making life easier for the people of Nigeria at the time when they need it most.
“During the rains when they need to travel and during the Ember months when traffic is high and when they are going on holidays. Please continue and improve on these initiatives,” he urged.
Fashola, who commended the staff for the quality of their work, said although he could not successfully know everyone’s name and face within his tenure, he had come to know all of them by the quality of their work because, according to him, “I read your memos and you sign off on them.”
Describing the civil service as a place where the country has leveraged on its diversity, the minister, who pointed out that the team he has worked with reflected the nation’s diversity, added, “From the Sahel to the Coast, down to the Creeks, everybody is here represented in one way or the other.”
Fashola urged civil servants to key into the vision of Change by the President who, according to him, has indicated his intention “to move a lot faster” in this second dispensation adding that when the President begins the envisaged move, he would expect the civil servants by his side to support him.
Expressing confidence that the civil servants would live up to the billing of Mr. President, the minister declared, “One of the things I learnt in the civil service in 2002 is that within the civil service, nothing is impossible”, adding that “the civil service is a place where Nigeria’s quest in her race to the First World will be won or lost.”
Fashola, who thanked the staff, whom he described as “a great team” for their keeping pace with him and enduring his schedules in spite of the inconveniences some times, added, “I want to apologize to those I invaded their privacy with my phone calls and text messages. I apologize to your spouses and your children because it was done only in the national interest.”
“Those of you I have offended one way or the other, I am not perfect, I am flawed; but I did not offend you deliberately. If I did, it was unintentional; my apology is deep, it is profound, it is unreserved”, he said, adding that he could not thank all individually because as a team and a chain “it is impossible to thank one without thanking the other.”