An Open Letter to Nigerian Civil Servants How Civil Servants Underdeveloped Nigerian Public System – By Tony Osborg

Jan. 12, 2014


Let me begin by reminding us that politicians come and politicians go,
so do their government and their policies. Yet, there exist a
particular group of government officials, who, once they come into
office, they do not exit easily like their politician counterpart.
They are the real government officials! The civil servants. They stick
to the system and assist the politicians achieve their aim, be it a
good or ugly aim, they will always support. A politician can stay for
as short as eight years, but these other people can have their way for
as long as thirty years and even wanting more! Some of them have even
vowed to die in office and they have adopted various methods in
achieving this. Fraudulent changing of birth age every ten years,
enrollment in part-time programmes, change of birth origin, etc are
just few of the ways they elongate their stay in the civil service. If
you think Politicians like to stay long in office, then you haven’t
met the Nigerian Civil Servants.

There are less than 5,000 core politicians across Nigeria and over
millions of civil servants working with them. One would begin to
wonder, is it that these few politicians are constitutionally
empowered to manipulate and misuse the civil service, or is that the
civil servants are just too lackadaisical in supporting any
government, be it a good, bad or the ugly type? Indeed, they are
always willing to bend in as much as their share of the cake is

Go to the University part-time programmes, you will see them flooding
the classrooms in search of higher rank and higher pay with no aim of
acquiring a higher value for their work place. I was shocked to read
in the papers that the NUC had revoked the suspension on part-time
programmes and has thereby allowed this

without-value fraud to continue in the civil
service. It is only in Nigeria civil service that you can see workers
abandon their duty post for years (and still earn their salaries for
this period), enroll for a part-time academic program, acquire a
higher degree, return to their duty post and get a higher salary with
no additional value to the work. Just a new certificate for the sake
of a higher pay! If you want to know why our National recurrent
expenditure have been on the high side throughout this democratic
dispensation, just check the payroll of our civil servants and you
will find out that they are responsible for the underdevelopment of
our economy and the public system!

One cannot remember when last time the defunct PHCN and any other
government owned corporation publicly published their monthly
statement of accounts. What are they afraid of? What is wrong in
showing us how much your corporation makes and spends in a month?
Without doubt, the money PHCN makes monthly is enough to clear
paychecks and even build new power plants independently of Federal
Government’s intervention. Thank God they have been disbanded, let’s
see how those top officials will continue to generate billions
monthly, manipulate the figures and then lie to our government that
mere millions are been made as loss. PHCN could have survived as a
public owned but Independent Corporation like N-LNG if not for the
fraudulent approaches been adopted by the top management team and
their deliberate efforts to jeopardize government effort to minimize
costs, cut down recurrent expenditure and thereby maximizing profit in
order to expand the power generating assets. Our University teaching
hospitals are making millions daily, have you seen their monthly
statement of accounts?

As if that is not enough, the civil servants have now assumed a
dictatorial pattern of workmanship through establishment of various
unions. You dare not try to sack any civil servants for negligence of
duty. He will connive with his union executive and the next minute,
the whole offices are on strike demanding for an improbable and
unconnected archaic agreement to be implemented!  We all know what
happened when Nigeria University Commission (NUC) demanded for an
audit from all University workers. After smelling that the audit might
expose their too-many fraudulent activities, they (under the name of
ASUU), refused this audit based on a clumsy and stupid excuse. And
even when NUC insisted, they threatened, embarked on strike and won at
the end! Even though this NUC audit was not mentioned as part of the
reason for their recent strike, we all know they couldn’t have
mentioned it for the fear of public suspicion. Yet NUC accepted defeat
and obviously, the fraud among university workers is bound to
continue. What is wrong in an employer through a monitoring commission
wanting to have statistics and a comprehensive database of its
employees? There are many dead lecturers that still earn salaries from
Nigerian government! It is a common practice among civil servants.
Without doubt, the Nigerian Government should do something about the
becoming dictatorial misbehavior of trade unions and labour
associations in this country. Since when has employees become greater
than their employers all in the name of union?

Have you ever wondered why our LGAs have all failed in developing
their various councils? It is simply because they spend over 80% of
their federal allocated income in paying some unproductive civil
servants who cannot boast of generating a hundred thousand Naira to
the coffers of the LGA on a monthly basis. As a patriotic politician,
try to use the term ‘redundancy’ as reason for laying them off from
your council and I promise you they will ruin your political career.
It is no longer news that their (civil servants) input in their place
of duty is not in anyway commensurate to the monthly salary they earn.
Try to ask them why it is so and they will say ‘na so government work
dey be na’. Indolent sit-at-home workers are what we have in our LGA

Every civil servant must ask him/herself, is my monthly earned income
commensurate with my monthly input to this office? Am I been
productive in this office in the same way I should be if it were my
personal private business? If the answer to this question is no, then
without doubt, you are the kind of civil servant that is responsible
for backwardness of our general economy and the Nigerian public
system. Please resign and make yourself productive!

For every crime a politician successfully commits in office, there are
a hundred civil servants who guided him and another hundred who will
work hard to officially cover up the illegality. For every ten evil
politicians that exist in Nigeria, there are a hundred thousand evil
civil servants supporting them to succeed! It is high time we
investigate these civil servants in the same propensity that we
investigate the politicians.

Just recently, a group of civil servants in the name of ASUU, refused
to show up for work in five months and yet have been paid for this
whole period! Where in the world can this absurdity happen if not in
the Nigerian Civil Service. Yet the tax payers whose commonwealth are
been used to settle these group of people are all keeping mute. In
Nigerian university, a seventy years old professor would love to die
in office rather than in retirement. I guess we are all suffering from
this I-don’t-care altitude. Only in Nigeria will workers not show up
for work in five months and yet receive their salaries simply because
they belong to a union and bear the name ‘civil servants’. Its a pity
that most of these ‘unproductive’ civil servants keeps bloating our
National recurrent expenditure and thereby ruining our economy. Is
this how they run their personal businesses? Or perhaps there is no
other way of getting their share of the National Cake. Now I begin to
see reasons why every institution and corporation under the civil
service and Nigerian government collapses while their private
counterparts are doing extremely well. Public Universities and basic
schools, refineries, Nitel, Steel Mills, NEPA, etc are all collapsing.

I have once asserted in my earlier article that ‘..If you claim to be
a professor and your professorship is not felt practically in the
Nigerian society and by the Nigerian economy, then (sorry to say) to
hell with your professorship!’ I have not changed my opinion here!
Today’s technological products all over the world’s markets, from
electronics to gadgets to software and mechanical equipments (cars,
keke Napep, etc) are all products of university’s research. I think it
is high time our civil servant scholars suspends writing abstract
theories and starts practicalizing and pragmaticalizing them! It is
high time the Nigerian Government stops building new universities and
starts funding old research institutes. Our government and our
scholars both have different roles to play here. We just cannot
continue to import everything in this country. Yet, no university
lecturer cares about the harm of such practice on our economy. We have
massively funded our faculties of engineering with the hope of getting
new patents and possibly flooding the African market with ‘Made in
Nigeria’ technologies and products. But what have we in return from
these lecturers? Demands upon demands upon demands. Earned allowances,
bonuses, etc. No lecturer is talking about how the government can fund
research institutes so we can learn to produce our own manufactured
products. These are the kind of civil servants we have in the academic

Everyone now believes that the Nigerian Government is a charitable
organization and can afford or perhaps should continue to offer free
roads, free health care, free education, subsidized pilgrimage trips,
cheap petroleum products, etc all at the detriment of our National
infrastructural development and in the favour of our civil servants.
Ever since our politicians turned our governments into
Non-Profit-Organizations, our civil servants lost value, orientation
and our civil service work became a work for indolent unproductive
citizens. Indeed, this idea of free this and free that by the
government has turned Nigerians into lazy poor beggars always
expecting the government to do ‘free’ things for them. Free wives
should be coming soon to our men from our charitable government! This
continuous offering of free education is an attestation that Nigerians
have always been poor, are still poor and will continue to be poor,
hence the need to make education free for them while they are been
looted dry by politicians in collaboration with the civil servants.

Without doubt, the Civil service or preferably, the Nigerian civil
servants have contributed to the underdevelopment of our economy than
any other set of employees in recent time. Their continuous
unproductive finagle method of working has led to the increase in our
national recurrent expenditure, break down of value in the civil
service and with the introduction of ‘free this and free that’ by the
recent governments’, the Nigerian civil servants had suddenly become
nothing but a bunch of unproductive nonchalant and lazy people
depending entirely on the government for everything yet contributing
nothing to the accounts upon which their salaries are been paid for.
What does an LGA need 6,000 workers for? Why are government owned
corporations and institutions collapsing while their private
counterpacts are succeeding? It is simply because these people- the
civil servants do not work for their salaries. They just earn it for
free. And even more harmful is the fact that they don’t save for their
pension as the international standard, but yet the govt ends up paying
them pension after their long years of indolent service. Pension is
suppose to be a personal affair, but for civil servants, it is a
government affair. I will be writing a letter to Mr. President soon
and in that letter I will clealy state that, ‘If you must drastically
reduce your National recurrent expenditure, you must disband the
entire civil service and ensure that there exist at least a level of
financial autonomy, for the payment of their staffs, especially in
parastatals that are able to generate their own funds’.

Until these abnormalities are scrutinized and checked, the Nigerian
economy will continue to decline as no nation in the world can succeed
by spending over 80% of its income in paying unrepentant,
unproductive, redundant workers whose input is not commensurate to the
earned output of their corporate duties. If the Nigerian Civil Service
was established to augment the unemployment rate in an ineffectual way
as it has become, then their bandwagon growth is acceptable even as it
threatens our National infrastructural developmental growth and
economy. But, if the Nigerian Civil Service was established to offer
administrative functions to the government with an aim of encouraging
productivity, efficiency, innovation and economic growth in the
general well being of the economy, then the present Nigerian Civil
Service is due for rehabilitation, reformation and re-orientation in
order to retrace their essence and encourage productivity so as to
make our nation a better place.