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By Com. Sambo Dare Ibrahim

Nigeria problems are multi-dimensional and as such require an holistic and pen dropping surgery for the country to survive its trembling economic, political and social atmospheres. The problems ranging from politically stable instability, ethnic and regional unhealthy agitations, and most importantly those problems associated with administration and civil-service.

There is no gainsaying in the conclusion that the civil service/servants are the machinery through which government at all levels fulfill their promises. In fact it is the intermediary between the governors and the governed, as such serves as standard to measure the success and failure of any government, i.e. how the civil service is able to reach out to the larger community in terms of service delivery. However, the unethical characters of many Nigerians who later become those paddling the political ship of the country make the civil service remain in its reterding and ineffective status.

The importance of civil service/servant cannot be overemphasized holding to its crucial role in governance, this amongst other importance make some scholars to refer to them as the fourth tiers of government. It saddened the heart that Nigeria civil service has become so porous and ethically eroded of standard, in such a way that, their conducts most time is either political, religiously, ethnical/regionally oriented. This is never unconnected with their undefined romance with the political system and the politicians, which poses a lot of challenges to their independence as a body and service delivery to the people.

In exploring diffulties facing Nigeria civil service, one tend to understand that the underlying factor is the “Political Neutrality”.
What is political neutrality? It is a situation whereby civil servant stay aloof of partisan politics, that they must not be a card carrying member of any political party. Political neutrality as one of the fundamental principles of an ethically based civil service is no where to be found in this country, we see and heard of it where a civil servant who ought to be politically neutral is an important member of a political party. As it is obvious, this has two disadvantages; 1. problems to his own independence as key factor to governance will be cutoff. 2. The said civil servant will always do as he want in office, because his party is in power, this will hampered formulation of good policies for wellbeing of the masses, thus render their services unless as it does not connote what the people want.

As a public servant one is expected to stay out of party politics, what is require of one is to vote during elections and exercise other political rights, but the moment the civil servants are the real and tough politicians canvasing for parties they become handbags to the political system. Not involving in partisan politics will guarantee Anonymity as a principle in civil service, but now no civil servant dare speak under anonymity especially when it is in contrast with government position.

Consequently however, what are we seeing today  in our public services? Is it not PDP and APC members arguing in offices instead of working for betterment of the nation? This particular scenario create an unhealthy rivary and jealousy particularly when the boss and junior staff are in different parties.

Lack of political neutrality will also lead to subverting meritocracy for mediocrity. This is so glaring, people are not being recruited based on merit rather political affiliations. The result of this is the problem created for the people who ought to be enjoying best services from both the political system and civil service.

Funnily, on the personal integrity and job security for civil servants, the moment you show it that you belong to party aside those in power, you are open to various inhuman treatments from colleagues and government, by either unwanted termination of appointment or being unruly transfered and servicing queries all time.

For a developing nation like Nigeria most especially in this trying time, the civil service must be revamped and restructured from its old politicalized structures, in such a way that the recruitment, promotion, renumeration will be generic rather than been sectional and political. Those who are calling for restructuring may be right if what they seek to restructure is the civil service and not those areas that profits them and their cronies.

Any country with vision to develop must try as much as possible to ensure its civil servants are politically neutral. Take out political neutrality from civil service and see the end of the nation

Com. Sambo Dare Ibrahim

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