According to Timothy L. Griffith, an American Scholar, author and an inspirational speaker, 'Achievers are not only persistent, they are also hard workers who believe in themselves'. "And the Bible in the book of Proverbs Chapter 22 verse 29 says "Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.
It is encouraging and instructive therefore, to note that Elder Effiong Essien's sincerity of purpose and unwavering commitment to assigned tasks from his years in the then Directorate for Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DEFFRI), a Federal Government Agency, General Managerial tenure in the Akwa Ibom State Rural Water and Sanitation Agency (AKRUWATSAN) to his elevation as director and subsequent appointments as permanent secretary and deployment to the Ministry of Works, did not go unrecorded by man and unrewarded by God.
It was therefore not surprising when the grace of God located a hardworking gentleman, a seasoned administrator, a Geology graduate of the University of Calabar and a distinguished son of Afaha Atai Ibesikpo, Elder Effiong Edem Essien, with a call by the state governor, His Excellency, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, engaging him as a player in his Completion Agenda team.
With his swearing-in on Monday, June 3, 2019, by His Excellency, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, as the sixth head of Akwa Ibom State Civil Service, Elder Effiong Essien, settled down to work with 'a commitment to build on the solid foundation laid by his predecessors'.
By God's grace, Elder Effiong Essien is already keying into the Completion Agenda of the present administration with tremendous supports from the workers-friendly governor with the following successes:
Through the effective supervision of his office, construction work at the two locations of the Civil Servants Housing Estates (located at Ikot Ntuen Nsit, opposite UUTH and Ikpedip Ibiono/Itak Ikono along Uyo, Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo) has been fast-tracked and over two hundred units of houses have been completed and allocated to interested workers.
The documentation by interested workers for the collection of House Refurbishing Loan, a credit facility from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (3rd Batch), was facilitated by his office. Workers who applied for the loan were paid. The new national minimum wage has been paid to workers with arrears despite the economic downturn occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic which is another clear demonstration of Governor Udom's concern for workers welfare. The tradition of regular payment of salaries, pensions and effort at clearing the back-log of gratuities is still being kept under his watch.
The 2017/2018 outstanding promotions have been released and effected. Over 6,000 workers have moved to their next grades and enjoying the financial benefits while the processing of 2019 promotion is on going.
Government has also recruited medical personnel to fill existing vacancies in the health sector and eight permanent secretaries have been appointed by the governor since his assumption of office and ten no. brand new vehicles have been procured for permanent secretaries and more are still being expected.
For Elder Effiong Essien, the organized labour is a partner in progress and he maintains very cordial relationship with the organized labour and has been able to mediate and resolve several contending labour issues hence, the enduring industrial harmony in the state.
To ensure effective service delivery, the Public Service Monitoring Committee has been supported and further strengthened by Elder Essien to effectively carry out its task of monitoring and effecting adherence to work ethics/service rules by the workers. Elder Essien's personal involvement in the monitoring exercise has yielded tremendous result. Just recently, precisely, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, the head of civil service, Elder Effiong Essien, personally-led the monitoring team. He urged the workers to reciprocate government's magnanimity by showing practical demonstration of dedication to duties.
In line with the capacity building policy of the present government, the office of the head of civil service planned and hosted training programmes, tailored towards meeting the peculiar training needs of each ministry, department and agencies.
All service examinations have been conducted to ensure that workers obtain the pre-requisite certification for confirmation, conversion, promotion and the 2019 promotion process is on-going.
The head of civil service also paid a working visit to the Civil Service Training Centre and the attention of government drawn to the need to renovate, equip and upgrade the Civil Service Training Centre, popularly called Kilometer 9. The request is receiving favourable attention.
The monthly keep fit exercise tagged: "Jogging to Serve Better handed down by successive heads of civil service has been re-invigorated and re-branded. This is one very important health related event that affords the public servants an opportunity at least once a month, to take some hours out of their daily work routine and busy schedule to exercise themselves and also get sensitized on health tips for healthy living. This helps the workers to keep fit for effective service delivery.
To ensure the safety of workers during this COVID-19 pandemic, the head of civil service, Elder Effiong Essien, has distributed re-useable facemasks to all junior workers during the resumption of work after the lockdown. He has also ensured the decontamination of the offices and their environs and provision of sanitation equipment in all offices.
To ensure that pending issues in the service are sorted out, various relevant committees have been set up. The activities and the implementation of the committees' reports are already yielding desired results.
However, the successes recorded would not have been possible without the governor's sincere concern for workers and support to the head of civil service. It is there necessary to give a clarion call, as the head of civil service always do, for all workers not to relent in their support and loyalty to our dear governor to enable him actualize his Completion Agenda which workers welfare is an integral part.
As Elder Essien's good stewardship as the sixth head of civil service continues to stir workers support and confidence in his ability to further reposition the public service, it therefore, behooves all workers to join their voices in thanking His Excellency, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, for giving this seasoned technocrat, Elder Effiong Essien, the opportunity to lead the Akwa Ibom workers and pray for grace, wisdom, courage, and good health as he enters his second year as head of Akwa Ibom State Civil Service.