Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello Sali
By James Emejo
The Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello Sali, Thursday blamed the regime of former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), for of the current rot in the nation’s civil service.
Speaking in Abuja at the opening session of the 36th annual conference of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSAN), Sali, who was represented at the occasion by the Director of Human Resources, Mr. James Obiegbu, argued that the civil service reforms carried out between 1985 and 1988 were largely responsible for the paucity of professionals and committed public officers in the public service in the country.
He said: “The subsequent reforms of 1985-88 which arose from the recommendations of the Dotun Philip’s report were given legal effect through Decree 43 of 1988. The legislation paved the way for all comers into the top echelon of the civil service.
“It also led to the abolition of the Office of the HSCF, whose functions were subsumed under those of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the incapacitation of the Federal Civil Service Commission which had most of its functions transferred in the main to the Ministries, Extra-Ministerial Departments and Agencies.
“The aftermath was the unbridled influx of low quality personnel into the Civil Service at career levels far above their competencies, knowledge, experience and capabilities.
“The cumulative impact of these influxes was the loss of Civil Service vitality, standard of performance and cohesion. This further paved the way for the culture of sidelining time-tested procedures and processes and the loss of officers’ self respect and integrity.”
Although the Head of Service also accused other military administrations of the damages suffered by the service in terms of inability to sustain its capacity, ethos and values, he said the eagerness of post war successive military governments to increase salaries and emoluments of workers rather than promoting value-added policies constituted as a major factor that eroded the professionalism of the service.
He, noted however, that the ongoing reforms in the public service was part of the sustained efforts by subsequent administrations to restore the efficiency of the service and reposition for national development.