By Balkis Tijani.
Alhaji Olaroungbe Yusuf, a retired civil servant in Kwara State has delivered an unsavory review of the handling of the civil service under governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.
In an open letter to the governor published by THE CABLE newspaper, Olaroungbe lamented the current happenings in the Kwara State civil service, blaming the governor for politicising and politicizing the service and thereby causing apprehension.
The retired public official, who said the governor had deviated from the norms governing the operation of an effective civil service since he assumed office, claims that the Abdurahman administration is vindictive; with many senior civil servants tagged as supporters of Dr. Bukola Saraki, the immediate past senate president.
The letter reads in part:
“What is happening today in Kwara State Civil Service cannot happen anywhere in Nigeria. A situation where the governor becomes the “
‘post master general’ is unthinkable; a state where mediocrity has taken the place of hard work and merit, where whom you know superseded laid down criteria for appointment and posting; a state where posting of staff are done from outside the service: I can continue to go on and on, but my duty here is not to criticize this administration but to bring to the fore some observed lapses for possible amendment.
“This administration sees or tagged most senior civil servant as Sarakites, not mindful of the dictates of the rules that civil servants are apolitical and must be very loyal (100%) to the government of the day. The unfortunate aspect of it all is that the proponent of this school of thought are product and beneficiaries of the so called SARAKI dynasty.If these people can easily ditched their benefactor and god father, how easy will your own be.
“I begin to wonder those that gave His Excellency the idea of compulsorily retiring all serving PS. Aside from loosing experienced hand, it leads to quicken turn over. I learnt that some of the newly appointed PS will retire by 2021. What a waste?
“The only ‘loyal’ PS that was not retired was the CLERK of the House of Assembly, who happened to be an ELDER SISTER to the Speaker. What a double standard or two-facedness ?
“The PS you have worked with for months before the appointment of Commissioners, are never found wanting, why did they then deserved this. They cannot even get a thank you before they were pushed aside. Even those Your Excllency asked to stay after their retirement were sent packing unceremoniously.
“The noise in the town is that the compulsorily retired PS were paid 3 months salary in lieu of notice as required by law but unfortunately this was not so. Some of these PS were retired at their prime period in service, some have just spent a year plus. Hope and aspirations of these people were dashed, their only succor is the legally recognized payment of 3 months salary in lieu of notice as laid down by the PSR. If the “loyal” PS can not be retired, I don’t see anything wrong in paying the “disloyal” ones their due.
“It is very disturbing to know that some of the Commissioners, Heads of Agencies/Parastatals have Personal Assistant (not civil servant) who have access to files. Files are passed to these PA’s to study and advised and some takes files home to outsiders for consultations.These is done as a result of lack of trust of the civil servants. The most worrisome are that of some PS who take files to estwhile retired officers who often dictates what to write on the files.
“These are verifiable facts. These situations needs urgent attention to safe the state indescribable embarrassment.
“It is disheartening to note that general posting of civil servant now emanates from outside the service cum government house. Responsibility of posting of staff rest solely on the heads of MDAs. If the heads of these MDAs are no longer trusted to handle a simple thing like posting why retaining them. The man in charge of postings has turned himself to semi-god, while his house has been turned to a Mecca of sort for civil servants looking for ‘juicy posting’.
“Your Excellency sir, some PS are still acting as Director in their former Ministry of postings, signing vouchers and cheques just because officers are yet to be posted to take over. This is an aberration of the highest order. These officers are unnecessarily been exposed as there are no letters authorizing them to sign, even if their is, it’s against FR.
“These laws were recently signed into law by HE, the signing of the laws takes us back to the military era because the law were enacted by military administrator. One thing I want HE to note is that these laws were not just enacted over night. Whenever a bill / law that relates to the service is to be enacted, it is referred to Office of Head of Service. The Head of Service will study the bill and then look at what is obtained at the Federal level, after which he consult with all the states in the North Central and some states that are ahead of us, such as Lagos, Kano, Rivers etc. It is all these templates that he will put together that shall be used to formulate the State policy.
“I was privy to the formulation of the bill/law that was repeal. Some of the major reasons that brought about the bill then are:
“The laws were enacted during the military era without considerations of the political class.
“Consideration on how parastatals and agencies owned by the federal were runned. In most parastatals, agencies and even paramilitary, you find civilians who are officers from the office of Account General of the federation, Office of Head of Service of the Federation etc.
“To give room for checks and balances, so that some people can be held accountable.
“To curb corruptions. We should not forget the gruesome murder of then CFA of SUBEB, Mr Agboola and the disappearance till date of the Secretary, Mr Adeyemi.
“Some states that copied our models are still using it till date. How will it look like if those States know that we’ve jettisoned what looks like an innovation then and that instead of being progressive we are retrogressive Most of the action or inactions of our government is taking us miles backward. How can we tell onlookers that the military laws of more than 20 years is what is better for us in today Kwara.
“It is quite just unfortunate that some people somewhere are working as insider to destroy this government.
“President Buhari did not throw over board or abandon all Jonathan programmes and policies, he continue with them. We should not throw away the baby with the water. What is the benefit of a making a law that will be jettisoned by another regime.
“The erstwhile service which was based on love, happiness and hard-work has now been turned to an hunting ground where people perceived to be “disloyal ” are mark down. Everyone carry out their assignments with fear of intimidation. A once happy work place has been turned to another thing.”
Olaroungbe, who indicated that there would be a follow up to his first letter, thereafter appeals to the governor to look into some of the issues he raised. Some of the suggestions the retired civil servant made include; allowing the service to run itself and not by a disgruntled element from outside, organise an in house trainings and seminars for the heads of MDAs, appointed officer should be trusted and allow to do their job, stop all forms of witch-hunting in the civil service, allow rules and regulations of service to be supreme, seek advice from retired civil servants among others.