Urgent Action Needed: Reforming Nigeria’s Civil Service – Prof. Olaopa

Urgent Action Needed: Reforming Nigeria’s Civil Service – Prof. Olaopa.

Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), Professor Tunji Olaopa, has said that despite the many challenges facing the Nigerian civil service, professionals in the sector cannot afford to leave its redemption efforts to chance.

He stated this at a meeting with newly elected Vice President, African Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM), Mr. Phillips Dada, in Abuja.

Professor Olaopa pointed out that the core of administrative reform of the civil service has been to re-professionalise public administration practice in Nigeria while strengthening the role of the gatekeepers of the profession.

He said, “Indeed, it is professionalism that will reverse the increasingly diminishing status of this vocation that we have signed up to as our career, profession and calling.

“In this regard, I have been a civil servant all my life, and I am ever so proud to reference and revere such administrative icons of the profession as the Simeon Adebos, the Udojis, Abdul-Aziz Attah, Ayide, Asiodu, Ahmed Joda and others as mentors.

“I was an insider, and I know the steady but dogged efforts of colleagues over the last decades (including those in the saddle), to redeem the profession that they have dedicated their lives to.

According to him, the civil service has so diminished that, “Today, if people apply to join the civil service, they do so for other reasons than the desire for professionalism. Indeed, for a range of causative factors, the civil service jobs are most often the last on any serious professional’s preference list.

“We cannot leave civil service redemption to chance, and to the current corps of service leadership alone. The onus of responsibility therefore falls on those critical mass of professionals – public/civil servants, scholars/academics, development practitioners, etc., with the leadership and central coordination nodal points taking the lead in jumpstarting required movement to arrest the sabotage of the service and restore its professionalism.”

He noted that a profession without professional gatekeepers that ensure that the ideals and objectives of the profession are always kept under constant vigilance, has only created free entry routes for charlatans, impostors and opportunists, and can hardly gain respect, prestige and prominence it deserves.

“So, we need to keep this question in focus until we get a handle on solution framework of answers to finally reposition the profession beyond the rhetoric of it. And we must also keep asking ourselves the added question of what has happened to a vocation that began as an honourable and prestigious calling that prided itself for its professionalism; for it to have reached such a degraded state that it has become the butt of derision for government non-performance,” he said.

In his remarks, Mr. Dada said as an African body, AAPAM holds Nigeria in high esteem because of the role it plays on the African stage and many look up to it.

He said the visit is to partner with the FCSC to promote public administration and management in Nigeria.

“Working in tandem with the head of service, we hope to resuscitate AAPAM because now we are dead and we need your kind assistance to revive.

“My hope is to have AAPAM back and active. People use use to look up to Nigeria as founding member, people use to come and understudy how to start it in their own country.

“Nigeria has invested so much in AAPAM but we are not reaping enough and we want to start doing that by working with the Chairman,” he stated.



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