Tunji Olaopa Biography, Tunji Olaopa Biography and Profile, Nigerian Political Scientist

Tunji Olaopa Biography

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Tunji Olaopa Early Life

Tunji Olaopa, born 20 December 1959, Oyo State, is a Nigerian political scientist and public administrator. He is the Executive Vice-Chairman, Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy – iSGPP, Bodija and Professor of Public Administration, Lead City University, Ibadan, was born in Awe, Afijio LGA of Oyo State. A University of Ibadan trained political scientist, Olaopa holds a doctorate degree in public administration. He joined the Federal civil service in 1988 as Speech Writer and Chief Researcher in the Office of the President, Aso Villa, Abuja.

Prof. Olaopa is a recipient of many honours and awards including the 2012 Dr. Kwame Nkrumah African Distinguished Public Service Order of Merit Award; the 2015 National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award; Senior Fellowship of the Nigerian Leadership Initiative (NLI)/Yale University Fellowship in 2015; Honorary Doctor of Science (D.Sc) of Lead City University in Public Administration in 2015; Award of Excellence of the Nigeria’s Institute of Physics and the Nigerian Historical Society in 2016; Fellow, Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria in 2016; University of Texas at Austin’s Thabo Mbeki Award for Distinguished Public Service and Scholarship in 2018, University of Ibadan 70th Anniversary Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018, among others.

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Who Is Tunji Olaopa?

My Story So Far
My Contributions to Scholarship & Public Discourse. The complex and diverse Nigerian context provides for a plethora of challenges and issues which have compelled me to write:

As A Civil Servant
When I entered the Nigerian Civil Service in the 1988, Political Science and Public Administration had already prepared me theoretically to understand the fundamental role of the civil service within the overall welfare responsibility of the modern state. The Nigerian Civil Service therefore provided the strong practical context for testing the boundaries of theory.

Within the Nigerian Civil Service, the challenge was that of how to overcome a number of process, capacity, resource, policy and performance gaps that support a workforce structure in which too many people do too little, too few people do too much, and too many do nothing.

Moving beyond this doctoral diagnosis of the problem of the civil service, I conceived of my professional profile around a simple question: If this is not the best that the Nigerian Civil Service can be, how then can it be reformed and transformed, by leveraging world-class benchmarks, for efficiency and effectiveness?

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This question fired up in me a professional practice and research interest in administrative reform based on a search for a productivity paradigm appropriately designed to generate a dynamic thinking process to resolve the multivalent crisis of the Nigerian Civil Service.

For me, a recalibrated productivity framework in Nigeria will require a workforce that is professional, confident and productive as well as a reform strategy which effects critical structural and behavioural changes that motivates the redefinition of the Federal Civil Service in the pursuit of performance and innovation at all levels.

Permanent Secretary in 2010

When I became Permanent Secretary in 2010, I already had an idea of what would be required of such a significant position. I believe that to facilitate a paradigm shift in the modus operandi of the Nigerian Civil Service, the permanent secretary must necessarily serve as an institutional memory as well as the custodian of the tradition, knowledge and the chain of the interlocking conventions, rules and due processes that constitute the ministry s/he heads.

To adequately achieve these objectives, the permanent secretary needs a mix of strategic, tactical and operational capacities as well as commitment. S/he must not only be analytically competent to distil the sense in policy analysis, but must also be sufficiently skilled, politically savvy and experienced to be able to cope with the uncertainties associated with the multiple accountabilities of the position and the dynamics of a knowledge and technology-driven new age.

Professional Objective

The objective of my entrance into Public Service was defined over the years around the need to understand and provide intellectual substance in support of governance and institutional reforms geared towards installing a new productivity paradigm to enable enhanced development performance and sustainable national transformation.

My Mission In The Public Service

My passion draws largely from a combination of scholarship and the strength of ideas which in the context of my professional practice is captured by the question: If this is not the best that the Nigerian Project can be, how then can national institutional capability backbone be reengineered, rebuilt and transformed, leveraging world- class benchmarks for efficiency and effectiveness?

My Value Proposition

My philosophy and calling is premised on the need to deploy the force of tested ideas, professionalism and expertise towards the resolution of growth constraining issues at the heart of low national development performance with the benefit of my 30 years practical experience and research-rooted technical expertise, to ultimately install a distinct model of new productivity paradigm in the national economy.

Areas Of Technical Expertise

  • Governance and institutional analysis and development;
  • Public sector reform and restructuring;
  • Design and management of civil service reforms and administrative reform strategies and change management;
  • Policy analysis, sector diagnosis and strategic planning;
  • Research design and review;
  • Community mobilisation and management of communication strategy;
  • Preparation and supervision of technical assistance projects;
  • Capacity building needs and impact assessment and learning/knowledge management.
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Career Summary

1985 – 1988
Trainee Management Consultant, University of Ibadan Consulting Services/Planning Studies Programme.

1988 – 1991
Principal Research/Mobilization Officer: HOD, Political Education and Research, Directorate for Social Mobilization, The Presidency, Lagos.

1992 – 1994
Chief Research Officer, Policy Analyst and Speech Writer, Office of the President of Nigeria, The Presidency, Abuja.

1995 – 1999
Assistant Director/Secretary, White Paper Panel for the Nigeria’s 1995 Ayida Public Service Reform with desk responsibility for implementation, GSO/OSGF

1999 – 2002
Coordinator, Education Sector Analysis and Head, Policy Division, Office of the Minister Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja, Nigeria

2002 – 2004
Deputy Director/Head, Technical Secretariat, Reform Strategy Team, Management Services Office (OHCSF), The Presidency, Abuja, Nigeria

2004 – 2006
Director of Programmes, Bureau of Public Service Reforms (OHCSF), The Presidency, Abuja, Nigeria

2006 – 2007
Special Assistant (Reforms) to the Head of Service of the Federation on Public Service Reforms, The Presidency, Abuja, Nigeria.

2009 – 2009
Director, External Linkages & Reforms Department, Office of Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, The Presidency, Abuja, Nigeria.

2010 – 2010
Director, MDAs Department, Bureau of Public Service Reforms (OHCSF), The Presidency, Abuja. Nigeria.

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Permanent Secretary, Career Management Office (CMO), Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, The Presidency, Abuja, Nigeria.

2012 – 2012
Permanent Secretary, State House, Abuja, Nigeria

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity & Federal Ministry of Youth Development

2014 – 2015
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communication Technology.

2015 – DATE
Executive Vice Chairman, Ibadan School of Government & Public Policy, Ibadan, Oyo State.

During the course of my professional career, I have had the privilege of receiving the following awards and honours:

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One of 50 Nigerians of Integrity
Recipient under the Special Report on Nigerians of Integrity: ‘Profiles on Nigeria @ 50’. The Guardian (Lagos), Saturday 11th June, 2011

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah African Distinguished Public Service Order of Merit Award
Conferred by the International Centre for Peace and Charity on Saturday, 10th of November, 2012 in Accra, Ghana

One of the 50 Most Exemplary Alumni of the University of Ibadan
Recipient, in commemoration of University of Ibadan at 65, The Guardian (Lagos)

One of eleven (11) Nigerians of Reputation
Recipient under the Special Report on Nigerians of Integrity: ‘Profiles on Nigeria @ 50’. The Guardian (Lagos), Saturday 11th June, 2011

One of 50 Nigerians of Integrity
Special Report of “ThisDay Newspaper” of Saturday, 7th June, 2014

Senior Fellow, Nigerian Leadership Initiative (NLI)
Yale University Fellowship, 2015

2015 National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award
Conferred by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on the 20th 0f August, 2015

Award of Excellence of Nigerian Institute of Physics (NIP)
Conferred at the 38th Annual Conference of NIP held at Olabisi Onabanjo University, AgoIwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria on the 6th of October, 2015

Honorary Doctorate
Doctor of Science in Public Administration of the Lead City University, Ibadan, December 2015

Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria– 2016


Award of Excellence
From the Historical Society of Nigeria in recognition of contribution to advocacy for the restoration of the teaching of History a subject in schools (Dec, 2016)


Prof. Olaopa is married to Funlola and they are blessed with three children and one grandson.

Tunji Olaopa Biography and Profile (Tunji Olaopa)

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