Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has said despite modest gains recorded by the Nigerian civil service, it has remained at its lowest, owing to corrupt tendencies which has permeated the system.
He said the system which had firmly stood against injustices and high-handedness that characterised the military era, when leadership was mainly by promulgation of decrees, suddenly came crashing when civil servants began to see their functions as means to achieving personal aggrandizement,rather than the common good of the Nigerian state.
Osinbajo made these remarks on Tuesday, at an inaugural quarterly civil service lecture series, with its theme: “Civil Service in a Change Environment: The Change is Now”.
Osinbajo who was apparently referring to the elite class in the civil service, said more often that not they appropriate roles meant to further their personal gains and leave the masses impoverish.
“It was the judiciary that told the military then that while it may make laws those laws should still respect the inalienable rights of the people as enshrined in international human right conventions to which the country had voluntarily acceded.
“These were individuals without guns,just sitting down on platforms up there in the court who insisted on holding the military responsible.
“Despite the criticisms that civil servants are subjected to,am sure that you know that sometimes civil servants are described as ‘evil servants’ but you must take heart, the best profession are usually the most criticized, but I must say that the wholesome privilege of public service is very easily abused or taken for granted. The public service elite represents as we have seen the most important factor in mass development.
“The power to do great good or evil lies with a few people who form what we refer to as our civil service, when some in such an elite see the opportunity as one for self enrichment by corrupt practices then the nation faces a monumental tragedy.
“There is no excuses anywhere in a nation where the majority are still poor and are struggling to make a living that anyone who has the benefit of good education and good fortune of a job in the civil service should subvert that service for personal gains, I think its the greatest tragedy that a nation can experience”.
Meanwhile,Head of Civil Service of the Federation,Winifred Oya-Ita in her presentation took a swipe at the media, which she said had been awash with shortcomings of the service leaving out the modest gains.
She said Federal Civil Service in particular has been in the forefront of national cohesion and has ensured smooth transition of power from one to another government be it in the military or civilian administration.
According to Oyo-Ita, the civil service, under her leadership would chart a new course that would be driven by efficiency, productivity, transparency and interest of citizens.
She also noted that the envisaged new direction is captured in the 2017-2019 Strategy of the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
She said the strategy was anchored on four strategic goals that are in consonance with pillar four of the National Strategy for Civil Service Reforms.