Doing Public Service with grace and candour


By  Alexander Ogheneruemu


Mrs Oloruntoyosi Thomas, Kwara State’s new commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development bestrides Nigeria’s beleaguered political space with some candour

For her, the privileges and powers of political position are meant, first and foremost for advancing humanity. She is a humanitarian par excellence.

Dedicated, hardworking, and largely independent, this paradigm of a public servant is indeed a reason to tell ourselves that good and selfless people with godly fear are in government and indeed in all fields of human endeavors.

Oba Kamaldeen Salaudeen, the Oke-Onigbin of Isin Local Government Area of Kwara State from where she hails captures her essence in just two words. He describes her as a “good daughter” of the town.


General Consensus

The consensus for many who spoke with this writer is that she is: easygoing, humble, respectful, selfless, and friendly.  She is always ready to serve, result-oriented, God-fearing, and easily identifies with worthy projects/causes backed by integrity.

Some of those who benefited from her large heart had expressed surprise at her selflessness. It is believed that she is committed to impact-driven programs, always ready to support such with everything at her disposal”.

In an era rife with government officials collecting kickbacks and embezzling public funds, Thomas is one of the few individuals who still keep their hands unsoiled. It is on record that this woman with a heart of gold sometimes spends her money to ensure the success of government-initiated programmes.

Mrs. Thomas was immediate past special assistant to the State Governor on Non-Governmental Organization affairs – a position that gave her close contact and interactions with groups committed to humanitarian causes. And she got actively involved. Her outputs were stellar, standing out for a reputation of untainted integrity.

As a special adviser on NGO affairs in the State, Toyosi took a special interest in organizations dedicated to persons with disabilities. One of these is the Jibore Impeccable Foundation founded by a physically challenged woman, Mrs Joy Bolarin, another person of integrity – indeed as the old saying goes, like-minds attract.

It is this integrity factor and a commitment to value-adding, people-oriented service that forms a common ground for both women. As a result, Toyosi Thomas ensures Jibore Foundation is always well-represented in programs organized by the State Government.

An active actor and encourager of humanitarian causes, she charges others with similar passion but little or no resources:

Her mantra is:  “So far you are doing impact-driven programs for the benefit of humanity, whether people support you or not. God will open doors for you to get it done, don’t depend on any human, I am sure you will never be stranded with God“.

Tall, elegant, cerebral, and very articulate, she combines measured cosmopolitanism with a heart of gold.

 This unassuming technocrat brings to her new position over two decades of cognate experience in social development, business advisory, and financial management.

Academic records

Her academic pedigree includes a bachelor’s degree in business administration (accounting) from Harvard University, Washington DC. She graduated cum laude.

Thomas also holds a master’s degree (business administration) and professional certification in financial management from the renowned Johns Hopkins’ Carey Business School, United States of America.

A go-getter par excellence, she won public admiration by hitting the ground running on assuming office as the new Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development – striking strategic partnerships with key stakeholders in the State to take agriculture and other developmental indices to greater heights. It began with a rallying charge to the ministry’s workforce where she demanded renewed dedication to fast-tracking the State government’s policy thrust for the ministry.

Within the short period of her appointment, her action-styled leadership has seen the revival of several laudable agricultural and rural development initiatives geared toward ensuring food security to alleviate the suffering of the masses.

And she has only just begun. Going by her records so far in her previous posts, it’s safe to say Kwara State residents are in for an unforgettable experience in the State’s agricultural and rural developmental milestones.

Indeed, people like her who bring the better angels of human nature into public service are worth projecting in the most positive light. Such honor isn’t just well earned, it catalyzes even greater service.


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