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‘I don’t’ wanna be a civil servant’

By Victor Mayomi


A few decade in the past, I purchased a group of Christian evergreen songs.  One of many songs was my favorite.  However I didn’t get a part of a selected tune proper.

Belief little children-they made it up for me by deciphering it as ‘I don’t wanna be a civil servant’. However I knew that this was not what the singer really sang.

Later, I noticed that they had been in all probability passing a message to me about their impression concerning the civil service.

After over three many years within the Federal Civil Service, and retirement, I’ve come to the belief that the youngsters had been proper identical to different formidable and enterprising youths, from throughout the nation whom I’ve met, who don’t see the civil service as a perfect place to hunt a long-term profession for development and success in life.

To them, the civil service is a killer of visions, goals and noble aspirations.

However how did we get to this stage? In attempting to unravel this thriller, following his appointment by President Olusegun Obasanjo because the pioneer Director Common, Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) in 2004, Dr. Goke Adegoroye, tasked himself with answering two questions particularly: ‘What’s it within the mainstream civil service that kills initiative, and frustrates skills; and ‘What’s it concerning the civil service that appears to make it go in circles that lead nowhere?

These questions, and extra, are contained in his paper titled ’Challenges of a Public Service Reforms Administrator: An Evaluation of the First 12 months’ in ‘Nigeria Public Service Reform’- ‘The Imaginative and prescient and Challenges’.

Adegoroye bowed out of the service offering veritable solutions to those questions which didn’t sufficiently resonate effectively with the institution.

Different champions and guardians of the reform course of, together with former Heads of the Civil Service of the Federation, Governor Nasir el-Rufai, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Oby Ezekwesili, Nuhu Ribadu and specialists akin to Professors Ladipo Adamolekun, Jide Balogun, Dele Olowu, Victor Ayeni, have additionally supplied pathways for altering the main focus and drive of the civil/public service with out success.

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Undoubtedly, the harm to the civil service, from its resistance to alter, and be match for goal, is deep, devastating and hurting.

With none sustained and considerable efforts to urgently treatment the scenario, the civil service, particularly the Federal Civil Service, is destined for a deadly crash from which it might by no means recuperate.

As a nation, evidently we now have abruptly forgotten that, as soon as upon a time, the Nigerian Civil Service was among the many greatest establishments within the Commonwealth of Nations.

And, fortunately, then it impacted on the nation in lots of profound methods. Maybe, we nonetheless must be reminded concerning the function of the civil service, as succinctly said by Chief Obafemi Awolowo in his e book – ‘The Folks’s Republic, whereby he states that: the significance of the Civil Service in any society can’t be over-estimated. With out the civil servants, authorities programmes wouldn’t even be well worth the paper on which they’re written, and momentous authorities pronouncements would solely quantity to a lot ‘sound and fury, signifying nothing. Certainly, a proficient and incorruptible civil service is essentially the most priceless asset with which a rustic might be blessed…Now, if we’re to reach rearing a breed of environment friendly, upright and goal civil servants, we should see to it that their entry into, and promotion throughout the service are completely ruled and dominated by sheer benefit, and completely free from each taint or semblance of political affect, nationalism, tribalism and nepotism’.

In step with the above enunciation by the late sage, a reform initiative was launched after the re-establishment of democratic governance in 1999.

The general public service part of the change programme took off absolutely with the institution of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) in February 2004, because the professional home and institutional champion of the reform programme.

The overarching goal, as said in one of many reform publications titled ’The Obasanjo Reforms, is ‘to construct a first-class service whose efficiency is considerably enhanced, with added capability, for imposing moral requirements, and instilling a way of core values and rules for selling good governance and sustainable democracy’.

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An extra purpose is to construct the capability of the service to allow it carry out the respective roles of offering ‘steerage in coverage making, help in coverage planning, coverage recommendation to ministers and different functionaries of presidency, constructing and speaking institutional reminiscence to determination makers, steerage and administration of assets required to perform coverage goals…’

Sadly, immediately, we’re in dire straits.  The civil service is totally diminished. The governance structure of Ministries, Further-Ministerial Departments and Businesses (MDAs) usually are not constructed round useful programs, processes and procedures- however on imperial lords of various colourations.

Political correctness is the order of the day, on the expense of manifest braveness to talk reality to energy. The system doesn’t welcome range/programs pondering and innovation. The benefit precept has just about disappeared from the firmament of the service.

Giant numbers of officers throughout all ranges are utterly annoyed. Welfare packages are poor. Remuneration is low. Officers bribe their strategy to safe promotions and deployment to ‘juicy’ positions.

Due to the Dr Ingawa-led new crew within the Federal Civil Service (FCSC) the place a brand new tradition of due course of, accountability and transparency is rising to stem this tide.

The commanding heights of the service are dominated by politically uncovered and extremely related transferees, on the expense of extra skilled and competent in-service profession officers.

Being brave comes with a heavy value, therefore a tradition of silence, timidity and bootlicking reigns.  Even administrators have change into little girls and boys who should appease the godfathers and moms, throughout the system, so as to not be omitted within the distribution of patronage and privileges.

Certainly, the very best degree to which a civil servant can aspire within the service- i.e. the publish of a director-is virtually meaningless, being of no significance in lots of contexts. The consequence is that the system is disadvantaged of the breadth of expertise of brave officers.

The boldness and belief gaps between political masters and core civil servants have widened within the mistaken perception by political masters that their crew of advisers, normally procured at a heavy price to authorities, generally is a appropriate alternative for the civil service.

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They usually, with their aides, usually influence the system negatively by establishing parallel programs of public administration and administration, of their respective MDAs, due to the permissiveness of the system, provided that their excesses usually are not checked, however are sometimes rewarded handsomely, despite the truth that they’ve acted in breach of their phrases of engagement.

Nigeria really deserves a world class civil service of distinction, satisfaction and excellence, anchored on the 4 core rules of Stewardship, Belief, Engagement and Professionalism (STEP), as enunciated by Ms. Amal Pepple, CFR, former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, as a part of the legacies she bequeathed to the Federal Civil Service.

Certainly, Nigeria wants a recalibrated reform programme, with measurable efficiency indicators, and succesful establishments for the supply of the anticipated outcomes of the change initiative.

It should not be an establishment the place we make investments extra on the awful, the indolent than the deep, the gifted and the distinctive.

It should be an establishment of first, and deliberate, choice- not the final choice, by any means. Clearly, Nigeria wants a civil service that may appeal to a brand new era of the brightest and the perfect to its system, with none inhibitions.

Nigeria doesn’t deserve a civil service the place Lilliputians dominate the area of enlightened management. Definitely, Nigeria wants a revamped civil service made up of officers of unusual pedigree who’re giants in loyalty, information, foresight, integrity, character, dedication, willpower, purposefulness, patriotism, braveness, candour, innovation, amongst others.

By the way in which, the world is not going to look ahead to Nigeria without end to justify her significance and fulfill her superb future, therefore the necessity for us to behave quick, taking into consideration that there isn’t a virile nation with out a virile civil service.

  • Mayomi is a retired director of the civil service.

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