The Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mallam Ado Muhammed Yahuza has reiterated his commitment to the development of the foremost Government Cultural Institute.

Speaking during the staff meeting with NICO staffers on Grade Level 12 and above on Thursday, September 24, 2020 at the Institute’s Headquarters, Abuja Mallam Ado Yahuza said that his mission in NICO is to add value to the mandate establishing it.

His words: ‘’My mission is clear and is central to the mandate of NICO as a research cultural Institute, the total aim is to reposition NICO, improve what is on ground, review it and do something better so that all of us will be proud of it’’.

One of the agenda for the meeting was the issue of staff punctuality to work. Yahuza emphasized the need for staff punctuality, discipline, dedication and commitment to duty. Stressing that staff should improve on their diligence and dedication to duty because there is always a pay day for everything. He, however, encouraged that the Public Service Rules (PSR) should be used at all times in carrying out the day to day activities of the institute especially on issues of discipline.   Adding that all the internal mechanism for resolving issues in the institute should be exhausted before involving external body.

Furthermore, the NICO Ombudsman intimated that the issue of staff welfare would be taken seriously especially as it affects promotion examination. He said that henceforth the assessment of staff for promotion would be based on their performance in the examination, job schedule, hard work, intelligence and punctuality to work. Hence, promotion is not a degree exam but an assessment of staff performance over a period of three years before being promoted to another level. More so, the end of the year welfare package for NICO staff was brought to the fore, he promised that with strategic planning by the management it would be handled  even if it would not  be as big as it ought to, they would have to start from somewhere.

Decrying the paucity of fund as the major hindrance to staff training, Yahuza admitted that it was not synonymous to NICO alone but in every other government office. He, however, expressed optimism that where training is needed and very necessary staff would be sent for training. Also he informed that internal training template for staff in the institute should be developed for transfer of individual skills from one staff to another.

The issue of staff bereavement and death benefit owed was also discussed during the meeting. The NICO Boss assured staff that the benefits would be paid gradually beginning from the month of October 2020.As he informed that with his coming to NICO and the template he has set staff would be able to access life insurance benefits from the Head of Service for diseased staff in the institute.

He expressed reservation that the unhealthy rivalry between the two major labour unions (Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employers and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria) that exist in the institute was not necessary since the essence of union is for staff welfare and to support the management to achieve the organizational mandate.

There was an interactive session where members of staff were given the opportunity to make contributions, comments and even seek clarification from the management on issues raised during the meeting. Issues bothering on the payment of full Duty Transport Allowance (DTA) and maintenance of office building and environment were raised by Mrs. Juliet Atu of the Department of Orientation and Cultural Affairs (OC&A). She appreciated the immediate past Director Overseeing the Office of the Executive Secretary (DOOES), Mrs. Brigette Yerima for a job well done as she pleaded that such work should continue even with the new E S; Umar Alhaji Farouk in his contribution said that criticism was inevitable as a leader and so should be taken in good fate by the ES.

Head, Internal Audit, Mr.  Uruemu Okorodudu, emphasized the need for the ES to filter whatever information he has at his disposal before making use of such; Mrs. Basirat Muse-Ajumobi advised that the institute should seek ways of generating fund in order to tackle the challenge of paucity of fund presently experienced in the institute.

Concluding, the Executive Secretary assured the staff of his readiness to work with everybody irrespective of tribe and gender. His words: ‘I belong to everybody, this is a national institute’. Also he informed that the staff and management general meeting would be quarterly in order to assess the activities of the institute carried out in each quarter.

It would be the recalled that this first general meeting of the Executive Secretary and management with members of staff on Grade Level 12 and above at the NICO headquarters since his assumption of office on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 was to interact with the staff and chart a course forward for the institute, hence the introduction of every staff at the beginning of the meeting.

Njideka Dimgba

 Media Unit

E S Office