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AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CIVIL SERVICE REFORMS IN NIGERIA

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AN ASSESSMENT OF THE CIVIL SERVICE REFORMS IN NIGERIA

 

ABSTRACT

 

Given the centrality of the civil service to the realization of the objectives of public policy in Nigeria, it is unavoidable for the service to be reformed from time to in order for it to meet up with the ever changing realities within it immediate environment.

 

This research work on the assessment of the civil service reforms in Nigeria: A study of Olusegun Obasanjo’s Reform of [1999-2007]. The civil service is part of the public service which takes responsibility for planning, advicing and implementing policies and programmes in government ministries and departments but the civil service reform in Nigeria before Obasanjo’s lack the ability to implement, plan and design the necessary strategies’ to reduce the cost of governance in the service. several reforms were set up to look into the problems but to no avail. Until May 1999 when Obasanjo assume office, he solve this problems with the vision of an ideal civil service which is competent, professional, development oriented, capable of responding effectively and quickly for the needs of the society.

 

Therefore we started by examining the historical background of reform in the civil service, the literature review /theorical framework, the analysis of previous reform and the problem facing the civil servant in Nigeria, the impact of the reform on the Nigeria civil service in general, and some recommendation on how to enhance efficiency, effectiveness and development oriented civil service.

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1    BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

 

The evolution of reforms in Nigeria can be dated back to the period of colonial administration. In fact, the colonial administration made some attempts between 1941and 1947 at reforming and reorganizing the Nigeria Civil Service. Reforms vary in scope from the most comprehensive to the extremely narrow. Indeed, ‘‘every regime in Nigeria from onset put the issue of administrative reform in its genda’’ (Obasi, 1998). Reform is a process hat can be broken down into distinct phases from the perception of problem to their implementation and evaluation. However reform means to improve a system, an organization, a law, by making changes to it, to make a change that can be made to a social system, organization, etc in order to improve or correct it. [Oxford advanced learner’s dictionary, 7th edition, 2005]. This means “reforms” are intended to transform, to restore, to rebuild, to amend, to make better, to remove defects from, to redress, to bring a better way of life. It apparently means that the reforms of the civil service were/are intended to amend, transform, restore the service and  make better what so ever the existing problem was in an era of a given period.

 

Nigeria has undertaken many administrative reform from the pre to post independent era. Historically, Nigeria gained her full independence in October 1st 1960 under a constitution that provided for a parliamentary government and a substantial measure of self government for the country’s three regions. Since then, various panels are studied and made recommendation for reforming of the civil service, including the Tudor Davies of 1945, Harragin commission of 1946, Gorsuch commission of 1954 Mbanefo commission of 1959, Morgan commission of 1963, the Adebo commission of 1971 and the Udoji commission 1972-74. A major change accord with the adoption in 1979 of a constitution modeled on that of the United States. The Dotun Philips panel of 1985 attempted to reform the civil service. The 1988 Civil service reorganization decree promulgated by General Ibrahim Babangida had a major impact on the structure and efficiency of the Civil Service of earlier years.

 

The 1999 Civil Service has been undergoing gradual and systematic reform and restructuring by Olusegun Obasanjo since May 29, 1999 after decades of military rule. However, the civil service is still considered stagnant and inefficient, and the attempt made in the past by panels have had little effect.

 

The focus of this study is the civil service reforms in Nigeria and the efficiency implication they had brought to the service of pre-independence period till date.

 

However, emphasis will be laid on the Olusegun Basanjo reforms of 1999 till date. This is because the 1999 reform has been the first civilian reform after many years of military regime.

 

1.2       STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

 

The history on Nigeria shows that it is a multi-ethnic society, which is characterized with different values, ethics, traditions and views towards politics. As a result of the heterogeneity of the country, the study, will focus and explore the slowness of the civil service in responding promptly and effectively to its goals.

 

Furthermore, there are various problems that challenge the civil service day in and day out from the colonial epoch till date, which include the following:

 

  • Poor Remuneration: In effect this means that civil servant should not only be adequately remunerated but that their salaries should be regular. In the Nigerian civil service, the situation is that the remuneration provided has become grossly inadequate given the present poor economic situation and the high cost of living.

 

  • Lack of Merit: It has been claimed that recruitment into the civil service is based on consideration other than expertise and merit, contrary to the merit criteria postulated by Weberian the most visible at such consideration is the federal character policy.

 

  • Misapplication of Rules/Over-rigidity in Applying Rules: The hierarchical nature of the Nigerian civil service which is in tune with the Weberian model power is concentrated at the top. Even officers of management cadre are not allowed to take initiatives on issues that are presented to them by their subordinates. Right from below, there is the fear of taking action, hence buck passing is the norm in the civil service since most matters are eventually always referred to the highest authority in the ministry or department for action or decision.

 

  • Absence of Job Security: According to Weber, the ideal type of bureaucracy is characterized by a career system in which there is security of tenure “civil servants as a whole regard their greatest benefit as being job security and pensions.” In a service characterized by fear of loss of job, it will be difficult if not impossible to obtain the best performance from employees. “Living in fear of loss of job and income is incompatible with taking responsibility for job and work group, for output and performance”

 

1.3       OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

 

The objectives of the study are as follows:

 

Ø   To examine the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the Nigerian

civil service.

 

Ø   To investigate the ability of the civil service to combine both its authority and

responsibilities.

 

Ø    To analyze the assessability of the Nigerian civil services in the checks and

balances of its activities.

 

1.4       RESEARCH QUESTIONS

 

The objectives of the research are logically tied to the research questions. The research questions include:

 

  1. How can the civil service be properly situated as a source of influence on social policies?

 

  1. Can failure of the civil service reform be detached from the colonial legacy inherited from Britain?

 

iii.            To what extent can we say military rule also combined as a factor impeding the effectiveness and efficiency of reforms in the civil service?

 

  1. Can we really say reforms are natural in outlook with a view to discovering factor inhibiting its effectiveness and efficiency and the various factors that led to low morale?

 

1.5       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

 

The intent of this study is to examine the centrality of the civil service to the realization of the objectives of the public policy in Nigeria. It is also undertaken in order to eradicate existing problems and also, this study will serve as a form of reference to further studies in the social sciences and management disciplines.

 

1.6       SCOPE OF THE STUDY

 

The study is designed to access the impact of civil service reforms in Nigeria. A case

study of Olusegun Obasanjo Reform of 1999 will be undertaken exploring activities

surrounding the reform as well as the structure, innovation and shortcoming of the reform. As a result of limited time allocated for the work and the financial  constraint facing the researcher.

 

1.7      METHODOLOGY

 

This research work will make use of secondary data that is qualitative of analysis. The method of collecting data is the use of relevant literature like textbooks, journals, seminar papers and magazines.

 

1.8      DEFINITION OF TERMS

 

  • Civil service is a term designating the civil administrative personnel of the public authorities.

 

  • Civil service reform is a package of policy measures and, like any other measures reforms it has set goals which it aims at achieving. The institution of reform measures in administrative machinery presupposes the existence of some administrative deficiencies.

 

  • A civil service commission is an independent body set up by the government charged with the responsibility for employing, promoting, disciplining and dismissing civil servants.

 

  • Public complaint commission is the institution established to investigate and real with cases of maladministration, injustice corruption and unfair treatment by public officers or public authorities against citizens. This body is also called ombudsman. The body was established in October 1975 by the military administration.

 

1.9       CHAPTERIZATION OF THE STUDY

 

This study is divided into five chapters;

 

v   Chapter one comprises of the Background of the study, Statement of the problem, Objectives of the study, Significance of the study, Scope of the study, and Methodology .

 

v   Chapter two deals with the Literature Review and the theoretical framework

 

v   Chapter three focuses with an analysis of previous reforms and the problems confronting civil service in Nigeria.

 

v   Chapter four discusses Olusegun Obasanjo’s the impact of the Olusegun basanjo’s reform on Civil Service

 

v   Chapter five is the Summary, Recommendations and Conclusion.

 

REFERENCES

 

Anifowose R. and Enumuo F.  “Element of Politics” Lagos: Iroanusi Publisher, 2000.

 

Eneanya, A. N. (2009): Public Administration in Nigeria: Principles, Techniques and Applications. Concept Publication Limited, Lagos.

 

Maduabum C, P. (2005), Reforming Government Bureaucracies in Nigeria: The Journey so far. ASCON Press, Badagry.

 

Obasi (1990): “Administrative Reforms and the Continuing Problems of the Nigerian Civil Service. A Radical Exposition” In Ujo, A. A. (eds.) Three decades of the Nigerian Civil Service 1960 – 1990, Jos, Nigerian Political science Association.

 

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2005) New 7th Edityion

 

 

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