The Federal Government appointed Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita as acting Head of the Federal Civil Service recently. She succeeded Mr. Danladi Kifasi, who is now on retirement leave. The choice of Oyo-Ita, who is 51, suggests a recognition of the need to have younger persons occupying this office, to make for tenure longevity before the mandatory retirement of 60. Some of the past occupants of the office were older and spent only a few years in office before they retired.
We congratulate the new Head of Service on this significant achievement. She is one of the few women who have been appointed into this government and we encourage her to discharge her responsibilities in a way that will justify the confidence reposed in her President Muhammadu Buhari.
We encourage her to have the entire nation as her constituency and do her best to align the civil service with the change mantra of the Buhari administration and deliver on the huge expectations of the people. The civil service is the engine room of any government. It, to a large extent, determines the success or failure of governments.
We, therefore, ask the new head of service to do all she can to re-orientate the civil service towards good service delivery. When Nigerians complain about the slow pace of governance and poor service delivery by our leaders, civil servants are often seen as a huge part of the problem on account of their attitude to work
Oyo-Ita will, therefore, need to instill a new culture of discipline and respect for timeliness in the service. She must not let the president and the nation down. She will, no doubt, need the cooperation of the entire civil service, especially the heads of the various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government, whose productivity will bear directly on her performance.
The civil service in Nigeria, it must be stated, has an illustrious past, especially in the days of regional governments and the period leading up to independence. The downturn in its performance is widely believed to have set in with the drastic and impulsive reforms undertaken by the Murtala Muhammed administration. His massive purge of the civil service saw a huge drop in morale in the service, resulting in declining productivity and poor motivation. The age-long confidence in the security of service was destroyed and the people no longer saw the public service as a secure career option, thus leading to distractions and efforts to exploit the system to provide for possible unplanned exit. The civil service is yet to recover from that experience.
Efforts have, however, been made since then to restore confidence in the public service by successive governments which realised its importance to the nation’s survival and well-being. Building a vibrant, restructured and result-oriented public service from the old, inefficient and corrupt one has been a headache for many civil service reform panels set up over the years. We have also more recently had the Steven Oronsaye panel on the reform of the public service, whose report has become a subject of debates on account of the apparent lack of will to implement it.
The government needs to find the will to reform the civil service, if it must deliver on its promises to Nigerians. The civil service, as currently constituted, is too inefficient, corrupt and unwieldy to deliver on the change agenda. The bad eggs in the service must be identified and pushed out. Our civil service must be made more productive.
This is the critical job before the new head of service and the Federal Government. Oyo-Ita will need to
Culled from: http://sunnewsonline.com/new/tasks-before-the-new-head-of-service/