Nigeria State House Staff, led by the Permanent Secretary, Tijjani Umar, have bade farewell to the Director of Finance and Accounts (DFA), Bashir Alkali, who was recently appointed a Federal Permanent Secretary.
At a send-off dinner, Saturday, attended by three retired permanent secretaries of State House, management staff and some senior presidential aides, Alkali, who will resume as Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development this week, was praised by colleagues as an exemplary and diligent civil servant.
The 57-year old Kano-born chartered accountant was posted to State House in August 2015 as DFA and was on that schedule until August 2020 when he was appointed as Permanent Secretary.
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Speaking at the event, the Permanent Secretary, State House described the outgoing DFA, who began his civil service career in 1987 as a Resident Auditor with the Kano State Audit Department ”as a pretty exemplary colleague in every sense of the word.”
Umar said: ”He was consummate, calm, confident and without a doubt, diligent officer. He was also courageous and caring. He was on top of his game, meticulous, engaging, strategic and a classic problem solver.”
Congratulating the officer on his elevation as permanent secretary, having excelled in a very competitive selection exercise, the immediate past Permanent Secretary State House, Mr Jalal Arabi, said he had no doubt Alkali would prove his mettle in his new position.
”I want to tell you that the work has not been completed, the work starts now,” Arabi, who retired as the immediate past Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, told his successor.
The former Permanent secretary added that the new ministry was ”very interesting and the same time challenging,” noting that from the mandate of the ministry a lot of Nigerians in dire situations looked up to it for succour.
In his comments, Engr Nebolisa Emordi, former Permanent Secretary, State House, commended the newly appointed permanent secretary for bringing his expansive experience in the private sector, as a financial management accountant and bank manager, to bear on the civil service.
”I met him in 2015 when I was permanent secretary and I can say he is a complete gentleman, core professional, humble and ever ready to take up responsibility.
”His stint in the private sector sharpened his skills because he is not like the typical civil servant who is always waiting to be directed,” he said.
Alkali’s childhood friend, primary, secondary and tertiary school mate, Ambassador Mustapha Suleiman, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recounted fond childhood memories with the celebrant.
”We attended the same primary, secondary and university together and I want to say that I practically grew up with him even though I am slightly older than him, but we have been very close from childhood and we fetched water together in one village where we grew up together.
”All these years, I have known him to be a very hardworking, diligent and respectful gentleman and I have no doubt he has what it takes to succeed in his new assignment,” he said.
Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, prayed God almighty to grant the permanent secretary wisdom and strength to discharge the duties of his new office with diligence, compassion and generosity.
”I believe because you are methodical and diligent, I pray you will not leave out anyone in need except that you have attended to their needs,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the senior presidential aides, the State Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Lawal Kazaure while extolling the virtues of the new permanent secretary, urged him to
”remain who you are,” in his new place of assignment.
Responding, Alkali thanked serving and retired colleagues in the civil service for the goodwill, prayers and best wishes to succeed in the new assignment.
He singled out the staff of State House Finance and Accounts department for special commendation, saying:
”We have some of the most progressive and diligent staff in State House. For the staff in the Finance and Accounts department, you have been most professional. It is to your credit that in the last five years that I have been here, we did not have a single embarrassing leakage of any financial or confidential document.”
The outgoing DFA also thanked his wife and children, who accompanied him to the ceremony, for their support and understanding over the years.
”The sacrifices you have made over the years, you will still need to do a lot more because the new assignment will be quite challenging and I honestly covet your prayers,” he said.