The retiring Permanent Secretary, Ecological Projects Office (EPO) Dr Habiba Lawal, has been described as a public servant who scored many firsts in the service of the nation.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha gave the commendation on Thursday in his remarks at the retirement/book launch in honour of Lawal in Abuja.
Mustapha who was the chairman of the occasion, expressed gratitude for witnessing the event marking the pulling out of Lawal from public service after a glorious and successful career.
“It is more significant when the exiting public officer has deemed it fit to document such stewardship as a contribution to history and a guide to those coming behind.
“Let me begin by congratulating Lawal, academic, administrator, educationist, scientist, mother, family matriarch and motivator, on attaining the age of 60 and for a resounding public service career.
“She comes with a lot of firsts, in the class of achievers. She also graced the retirement with launching of her book on the experience she gathered in the EPO office.
“At the peak of her career, she was appointed a Permanent Secretary in 2013, thus becoming one of the longest serving in that class, today.
“It is also on record that she served as the acting secretary to the government of the federation for at least six months before my appointment in 2017.
“By way of speaking, therefore, it will be right to call her my predecessor,” he said.
Mustapha said prior to the retirement, she excelled in the discharge of her duties while serving as acting SGF.
He commended her for bringing experience to bear on the office as such effort made it easy for him to take off smoothly.
“Lawal worked with transparency, dedication, commitment and the drive distinguished her as an exemplary public officer.
“The result of her leadership in the EPO is documented in two volume of publications issued from that office. That is another first in the history of the office” he said.
The SGF congratulated members of her family, asserting that their mother and matriarch had been of invaluable service to the nation and to humanity.
“We are indeed proud of her, immensely.”
“Moments like this enable public officials to reflect on what to do to make the best use of the most experienced, dedicated, diligent and resourceful officers, especially in their retirement,” he said.
Mustapha, while unveiling the book, titled: “Account of My Stewardship in the Management of Ecological Emergencies in Nigeria”, said that the book would remain relevant for the entire staff of EPO.
The Head of Service (HOS), Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, said that Lawal was honest and left good example in the service.
“Lawal is my friend, my sister and a wonderful collugue; she helped me a lot in the discharge of my duty; she never relent each time I call her for advice, a good counsellor indeed.
“Lawal is always on top of her job, her language goes this way: ‘please don’t let this work spoil, let’s work together and make it right’.”
“For the family, you have a jewel as a mother and grandmother.
“My prayer for her is that God will reward her in all her effort and commitment, for I know she did not labour in vain,” she said.
Also, Former SGF, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, said that Lawal entered into two journeys at a time and graduated successfully, even though it was not easy.
According to him, ” Lawal is my brother’s wife, she got married and went for her career in the university and she was able to achieve the two successfully.
“I am so proud of her and I know she will continue to excel as she is retiring, she will never be tired in life,” he said.
The reviewer of the book, Dr Emeka Odokporo, said that the book was impressive and engaging.
Odokporo said the book was about 378 pages and 10 chapters and talked mostly about climate change, flooding, desertification and other related environmental challenges in the country.
He commended Lawal for all her commitment during her service year, urging the government to give women more opportunities to serve in the public service.
Lawal thanked everyone for their immensed support and making the ceremony a huge success.