Principles Of Public Service In Nigeria

Conceptualization Of The Principles

The public and civil service are established on certain principles and features, which makes it stand out from other organizations. Notwithstanding the structural changes at different periods, the characteristics are continuosly adapted to enable the administrative machinery operate in changing conditions. The principles are fundamental, and have characterized modern civil service the world over, and for years. They are discussed under the following headings:

1. Permanence

The civil service operates on the principles of security of tenure and permanence. As long as they do not show partisan indulgement in political activities, their services and entitlements are guaranteed with security. They serve different governments, and they are expected to remain committed and loyal to the new government, whenever there are changes. Their appointment and removal are guided by regulations, rules and procedures, which helps to guarantee the security of their tenure. Politician come and go, but the apparatus of government remain in the hands of permanent officials (civil servants). Their permance, makes transition between regimes to be handled smoothly.

Howevere, the various purge operations and reforms have continuously attempted to erode the principle of permanency in the civil service. With the reforms and purge operations, we have witnessed premature retirements, dismissals and wrongful termination of service, contrary to specified civil service rules and procedures. In all, the principle of permanence remains formidable in civil service.

2. Anonymity

The principle of anonymity demands that the civil service performes his duties without publicity. The minister takes the blame and praises for the failures and successes of the ministry, for which he is in-charge. The civil servants are seldomly heard, and are not expected to openly or otherwise defend themselves against any blame for the failures of their ministries. The civil servant should only be seen performing his duties, and not to be heard.

Although, the civil servant takes part in the formulation and implementation of government policies, the minister for commissioner is politically and morally responsible or activities in the ministry. Theis principle has been affected by Partisan Political interest of top civil servants.

3. Impartiality

The civil service exists to faithfully serve whichever government that controls the state. It discharges its duties and responsibilities with loyalty, dedication, fairness and justice to all people. The principle demands objectivity in the performance of their official duties to the people. It is expected to eschew favouritism, nepotism, tribalism and partiality in the discharge of heir official responsibilities. It is guided by the general interest of the people, and not expected to favour any one, no matter the political complexions. It is an indispensable principle that has sustained the existence and development of civil service, all over the world.

4. Neutrality

This principle connotes that the civil service is not expected to show partisan political interest or identity with any political party in the state. They serve any regime in power with zeal and devotion to duty. Regardless of their political learning, they are not expected to participate in any political matter or to support any political party. They are responsible for the implementation of the policies and programmes of the government, even when the policies and programmes are in conflict with their cherished personal values and interests. The civil service is expected to exhibit neutrality from political tendencies and forces.

5. Expertise/Professionalism

Th civil service is characteristically imbued with efficiency, efficacy and professionalism. The service is organized into ministries and departments based on competence, experience and specialization. Because of the calibre of officials in the service, it is expected to exhibit expertise knowledge and understanding, on matters of governance and administration of the state. The hierarchy and specialization (expertise) in the service are necessary for the efficient and dependable discharge of their complex functions. Observably, the expertise handling of their functions, have grossly assisted to maintain and sustain governance and the state at large. The civil service acquires expertise and professionalism through reforms, training and re-training of its personnels.

6. Hierarchy

The civil service is essentially hierarchical. It holds a systematic arrangement or organization of its personnels and offices. There exists various ranks and gradesm which exhibits commands and hierarchical flow of communication based on superior subordinate relationship. This feature enhances the required unity of command, coordination and control of the civil service. The hierarchical structure ensure discipline and demonstrable consistency of style and procedure of handling their functions.

7. Comprehensiveness

The civil service holds thorough responsibilities which affecr affect all spheres of human endeavours. They hold committed responsibility to the state, which affecr both the public and private life. The sustaince of orderm stability and promotion of the general welfare of the people, is the basis of their existence. Hence, they are subject to public scrutiny and control, through the relevant political institutions of the state. Its comprehensive feature makes it the cynosure of the Public. It is expensive, extensive and wide in their scope of operation and activities.

8. Merits

This feature of the civil service has been grossly abused. The principle reveals the adoption merit standards in recruitment, promotion, rewards and granting of benefits to individuals within the service. The selection of personnel is expected to be by open competition, written examination and tests, and impartial oral interviews. The merit system have been affected by political exigencies and social developments. The merit system has been eroded, hence, nepotism, favouratism, sectionalism, political patronage, tribalism, godfatherism, and theory of ‘federal character’ have been enthroned into the system.

9. Bureaucratic Regulations

The civil service holds bureaucratic principles as feature, it is organized in hierarchical office arrangements, with officials who hold definite responsibilities and operative roles. It is designed to operate under strict rules and definite procedures. It is governed by laid down rules and regulations embodied as General Orders and financial Instructions documents. Other regulatory procedures are contained in the various circular issued by the Establishments Ministry or Division of the Cabinet Office. The rules and procedures help to ensure the standardization, impartiality and uniformity in the service.

10. Openness Of Action

The activity of the civil service is readily open and available to the Public. It is everybody’s business and special communication system is imbued in the system to carry the Public along. The public has access to every information concerning the activities of the civil service.

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