By Grace Akpan
It will be incomplete not to propose a toast and cling glasses as Elder Effiong Essien, the Akwa Ibom State Head of the Civil Service, marks his 2022 birthday anniversary today, Monday, 21st February.
Elder Effiong Essien is a great leader and mentor, whose tutelage has brought positive energy into the Service bringing in its wake noticeable and commendable strides into the Civil Service machinery of government.
An epitome of humility, Essien is an embodiment of dedication and an administrator par excellence. He is an unassuming personality, a man deeply rooted in the fear of God.
Effiong Edem Essien, an Elder of the Lutheran Church of Nigeria, is a Geologist, who hails from Afaha Atai Ibesikpo in Ibesikpo-Asutan Local Government Area of the State, who took over the reign of Akwa Ibom State Civil Service on 3rd June 2019.
He has proofed his mettle in the efficient handling of the portfolio, displaying all virtues, capacity and wits, expected of his office as the father of all civil servants in Akwa Ibom State.
On his appointment as the Head of Civil Service, Governor Udom Emmanuel had expressed emphatically that merit was the key element behind his choice, reiterating that the government will stop at nothing in promoting excellence and merit in all appointments. The governor then charged Elder Effiong Essien to uphold the tenets of excellence in service,while also maintaining a good relationship between government and the Labour unions for a robust industrial harmony in the state.
Elder Essien, through the divine grace of God and with unarguably administrative prowess, has carved a niche for himself as the lucky bug for Akwa Ibom State Civil Service, bringing in his tenure numerous life-touching packages for civil servants and maintaining industrial harmony in the state.
Under his watch, the seemingly ban on promotion in the State Civil Service has been lifted, paving way for civil servants to enjoy promotion arrears after stagnation for upwards of two to three years or even more in some cases. Similarly, approval has been granted for the conducting of pre-examination seminars and examinations for qualified civil servants taking the Compulsory Class Examination for Administration and Professional Officers.
That Governor Emmanuel now bestrides the State Civil Service as a colossus, with the fond sobriquet, “Workers-friendliest Governor”, is due to the unalloyed commitment the governor has towards the welfare of workers and the priority accorded to the public service as portrayed in the body language of the Head of Civil Service, Elder Effiong Essien.
Accordingly, civil servants in Akwa Ibom State have continued to enjoy prompt payment of salaries, while retirees have continued to receive their pensions at the end of every month, the emolument, coming as first-line charge in government funds allocation procedure.
Under the watch of Elder Effiong Essien, Akwa Ibom workforce has enjoyed training and re-training for optimal service delivery and other notable attainments such as the introduction of automation of the payroll for seamless migration from the Integrated Workers’ Payroll to the Pension Payroll on retirement and is at the moment working on full automation of the Civil Service to make it stand the test of the 21st century ICT World.
Worthy of mention is that while so many states in Nigeria are still at loggerheads with their employees over the new national minimum wage of N30,000, Akwa Ibom workers had long enjoyed the payment of the newly approved wage bill effective January 2020.
Through the instrumentality of the Head of Civil Service, Governor Emmanuel undertook the construction of affordable houses in different housing estates across the state for the workers, notably at Ikpedip Ibiono/Ikono off Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road and at Ikot Ntuen Nsit in Nsit Ibom, opposite the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, UUTH, handled by the Akwa Ibom Property and Investment Company (APICO) and financed by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.
While on a facility tour of the estates some time ago, Elder Essien had acknowledged the friendly disposition of GovernorEmmanuel towards the workers and urged civil servants to reciprocate the magnanimous gesture of the governor through their dedication and commitment to service.
Fully in control of the Civil Service machinery and with the resolve to reposition the Service for efficiency and maximum productivity, Elder Essien undertook a familiarization tour of all MDAs for an on-the-spot assessment of the challenges of workers with the aim of ameliorating them.
Acknowledging that partnership with relevant stakeholders is vital to the success of his office, Elder Essien undertook familiarization meetings with the Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ) and particularly attended the State Congress of the Union as well as treated the Press to a sumptuous luncheon at the Watbridge Hotel.
He has not failed to hold regular meetings with the different Labour unions to cultivate harmonious industrial relations while also organizing meetings with different cadre of workers to get acquainted with their strengths and weaknesses for improvement towards meeting set targets, timeliness, work plans and goals.
So many beautiful tales have continued to trail the path of this dedicated, dutiful, hardworking and humble Head of Civil Service, who has remained a commendable team player, a dependable ally and a great lieutenant of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
A caring father and loving husband to the delectable Mrs. Uduak Effiong Essien, the Head of Civil Service has continued to offer succour to the less privileged members of the society while providing educational sponsorship and skills acquisition to several indigenes of Ibesikpo-Asutan and beyond.
And so as Akwa Ibom State Head of the Civil Service, Elder Effiong Essien, marks his 2022 birthday anniversary, coupled with the catalogue of achievements on his trail, we join all right thinking members of the public, friends, well wishers and indeed the entire workers of Akwa Ibom State to toast to his impactful life and wish him many more blissful years ahead in good health and prosperity.
Happy birthday anniversary, our amiable Head of the Civil Service, Elder Effiong Essien.
Hearty Congratulations, Sir !!!
Grace Akpan is the director of Public Relations in Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Information and Strategy