I got a huge PHCN bill on Monday. So today I took permission and went to the office to discuss the details of such an amount, and lo, behold, more and more 'monies' were added. Being a Lagos
I initially wanted to begin this article with an apology to some of the “few” civil servants in Nigeria that may be productive. However, after due reconsideration and review, I had to change my mind. Now I know that most of you who find yourself in this circle will dislike my guts and perhaps call me names, be that as it may, the truth just have to be said, deal with it.
If anyone of you, including you, doubt this, take a gentle sweet drive to any public office close to you, look around and tell me if you don’t find more reasons to justify my point.
Two days ago, precisely on Monday of this week, on an appointment, I went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On getting to the office of my appointment, the secretary to the Director whom I was meant to conduct my business with appeared to be very busy, she was engrossed in her laptop computer and didn’t notice when I entered the office, greeted her politely with no responds from her. I called out an hello greeting the second time but still no responds. I sarcastically cleared my throat just to get her attention but no movement so I had to leash out a hard knock at her desk to see if maybe that would get her attention which of course did. She finally rose her head and beamed a smile towards my direction with an “Oh My God” exclamation. I stretched forward my neck to see what got her so focused that she couldn’t answer my greeting or at least to even notice when someone as big as myself entered her office and guess what she was doing – playing poker!!!
The disappointment in my face was noticed immediately because she began making what I considered silly excuses. In as much as I was disappointed, I wasn’t surprised at all because that was not the first time am seeing such in public offices and I sure know that wouldn’t be my last. The arrays of such laxity is common and numerous.
The example I just gave is for civil servants in the junior cadre. Their ogas at the top are the worst – they travel any how; they take unnecessary and unmerited allowances; they come to office very late but close very early with unattended files at their desk. In a whole year, they can’t point to ONE thing they have achieved or done to add value to the position they occupy let alone add value to themselves.
Do you know that an average civil servant, both junior and their ogas at the top does not read any book for self-improvement? They don’t do a single research to see what makes their counterparts in other countries to do well. For them they are comfortable where they are and so, year in year out they do the same thing over and over again without feeling any shame about it.
Most of these civil servants sign up to be sponsored for international conferences in order to gain knowledge that could enhance their work and performance for the betterment of the country, at a fee of about NGN1.5 + million. Go to the venues of those conferences you will never find a single one of them there, they will all go out shopping while other civil servants from other countries are all keen to knowing the newest technology that could be beneficial to their country or the newest method that could be apply to enhance their performance in their jobs. The only knowledge the Nigerian civil servants come back with is a shopping knowledge. So tell me, are they not the most unproductive bunch of elements?
Based on these points I have listed, though there are many others which you can feel free to elucidate here, the solution is simple, for these ones that go for international conferences, every other country have supervisors that leads the delegate for such conferences. The supervisor writes a report on the conference, the activities, performances of the delegates etc. Nigeria should start assigning supervisors to them. On return, all participant has to give an individual account of the training and knowledge received from the conference and be able to tie such knowledge to an enhancement in their job. If a participant is not able to do this, that participant will have to refund the morning spent on him/her for the conference and that will mark the end of sending such participant to conferences to represent the organization.
The government should establish it in all Parastatal that if a civil servant does not get “this” skills or “that” knowledge at “that” level within “this” year of stay, that civil servant will automatically be sacked. This will lead to self-improvement for all civil servants in the country.
The day the Nigerian government starts putting a monitoring eyes on the job of civil servants in the country, that will be the day that will mark the beginning of our national development.