By Chinelo Obogo
Director-General, Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA), Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, was on Tuesday recognised as a ‘transformational leader’ in public service by the Lagos State government.
At the maiden edition of the Lagos State Public Service ‘Ideas Day’ held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja on Tuesday, April 19, Seriki-Ayeni was recognised as a transformational leader in the state’s public service by the Office of Transformation, Creativity and Innovation (OTCI) which created under the Governor’s office.
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While presenting Seriki-Ayeni with the transformational leader award for “Outstanding Performance and Dedication to Service”, Head of Service, Lagos State, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, expressed his delight that a woman in the public service had been so recognised.
He said that the administrative tradition in the state has over time, given increased opportunities to competent, professional women to achieve as much as, if not more than, their male peers in the service and that it is a thing of pride for the state and a trail it continues to blaze for others. He said Seriki-Ayeni however, is not just a poster girl for women in the state’s public service but that she is someone who has shown her mettle time and again in public and private sectors across the globe.
Speaking on behalf of other awardees (Dr. Olufemi Omololu of Lagos Island Maternity and Dr. Madewa Adebanjo of Randle General Hospital), Seriki-Ayeni appreciated the recognition accorded them but insisted there were other innovators in the state.
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“It is said: how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you transform public service? One officer at a time. We three are a small part of a group of many transformational leaders in the public service and reaffirms my belief in the emergence of a dynamic and innovative public service in Lagos State,” she said.
Seriki-Ayeni was educated in Columbia and Harvard Universities and garnering professional work experience in diverse places as the New York City Department of Education and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). She was later given the task of heading the OEQA after the inception of the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in 2019.
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In addition to such responsibilities as the Lagos State Spelling Bee Competition and One-Day Governor Celebration, Seriki-Ayeni has initiated acclaimed programmes as Read-Aloud! Lagos (promoting reading culture); the Lagos Learns Together platform (for distance learning) which has over 10,000 beneficiaries; and L’explore Literacy Assessment that benchmarks the literacy status of students in Lagos State against global standards.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, she established programmes that ensured learning continuity, and Teacher-Student welfare and protection, post-pandemic. Other awards bestowed on her include Golden Key International Honor Society; Harvard Women in Public Policy and Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellowship Programme; and board member, AIFA Reading Society.