1.It is a special pleasure to be with you today at the 2017 Excellence in Public Service Awards. I thank the organisers of this event, BusinessDay Media Limited, for inviting me. It is indeed an honour to be addressing you today. Thank you all very much. I also wish to congratulate the organisers on the calibre of eminent persons gathered here this evening, which to my mind speaks volumes as to the integrity and credibility of this event.

2.The commitment of the BusinessDay Media Limited to the country’s socio-economic development, by way of up-to-date news and insightful analyses of business, policy and the economy in Nigeria – which serves as a critical decision-making tool for investors and policy makers alike – cannot be overemphasised. We have come to depend on the standard and professionalism that BusinessDay represents; and we urge you not to relent in your laudable efforts, as you continue on your way to being a world leader in the media industry.

3.The concept of awards, laurels and other recognitions in public service is a time-tested impetus that engenders accountability, selflessness and judicious use of limited public resources in the various institutions of government. It is therefore encouraging to see that those being honoured here today include the likes of Federal Ministers, Heads of Departments and Agencies, for their various selfless service to the nation.

4.These recognitions are coming at a time when our country is in dire need of exemplary leaders and role models in the public service system. The public service of any country stands out as the major machinery of government for the formulation and implementation of public policies. It does this by translating the plans and programmes of government into concrete public goods and services for the use of the citizenry. However, over the years, the ability of the Nigerian public service to effectively and efficiently manage public affairs and ensure prompt and quality service delivery has come under scrutiny; and so has become a matter of public debate. This concern has led to the institution of several far-reaching reforms targeted at the structure and personnel management of the service, with a view to improving performance. However, as to whether these reforms have been successful in actually ‘reforming’ the public service, your guess may be as good as mine.

5.Therefore, sustained efforts must be made to encourage and acknowledge the efforts of the individuals that occupy bureaucratic and political positions in public service, as they carry out the day-to-day functions of state, and act as a bridge between the government and the people. Nigeria can ill afford the consequences of service failure, which is why I must use this opportunity to call on all public servants to rededicate themselves to providing the basic services to which each citizen is entitled in a timely, fair, honest, effective and transparent manner. Citizens, on the other hand, must recognise the need to challenge service failure, as their civic rights as well as in exercise of their civic responsibility.

6.I encourage the general public to be more demanding when it comes to the quality of services they enjoy. They should also pressure government to develop mechanisms for monitoring the effectiveness of services being delivered by the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies. This applies to the small services as well as the larger, far-reaching ones. The way I see it, the need to give Nigerians top quality service, is non-negotiable. No two ways about it. Service providers should be sensitive to the need to provide high quality service to Nigerians, as they have a right to expect. Nigerians themselves should be vigilant, and see themselves as deserving of the very best service, always. They should insist on it, and complain to the authorities or regulators, as the case may be, when the service is less than adequate. This also speaks to the efforts to raise standards in all spheres of our lives as a nation. It goes without saying, also, that those who meet the highest standards, can rightly take pride in their work and become the benchmark for others to emulate.

7.To the award recipients, my hearty congratulations. I have no doubt in my mind that this honour is a worthy recognition of your selfless service to the nation. It is also a bold statement to the fact that there still exists an abundance of good men and women that are willing and able to distinguish themselves in public service. I urge you not to rest on your oars, but rather, seek to raise the bar of patriotism and selfless service by recruiting disciples of good governance, and by mentoring the younger generation.

8.Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, as we celebrate these outstanding Nigerians today, this occasion offers yet another opportunity for each of us to reflect on the ways in which we have contributed to the growth and development of our country as individuals, in small and not-so-small ways. As you think upon what Nigeria has done for you, think even more of how you have contributed your own quota to Nigeria’s advancement as an egalitarian society with equal opportunities for its citizenry. And further, I call on you to think upon how you might continue to uplift Nigeria now and into the future.

9.As we honour a few good men and women today, let this be a springboard that will inspire many more to follow in their footsteps.

10.Once again, I congratulate the event organisers and award recipients for this glorious gathering.

Thank you so much for your kind attention.

Have a good evening.


Abubakar Bukola Saraki MBBS CON (pronunciationⓘ; born on 19 December 1962) is a Nigerian politician who served as the 13th president of the Nigerian Senate from 2015 to 2019.[1][2] He previously served as the governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011; and was elected to the Senate in 2011, under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing the Kwara Central Senatorial District, and then re-elected in the 2015 general elections