Problems Of Public Service In Nigeria

Issues Of Impediments To Civil Service Development: The Nigerian Civil Service has been bedeviled by certain problems, which affect its development and efficient performance. The problems are endemic and cancerous in frustrating the development of the civil service in Nigeria. The problems are further complicated by the perceived distortions, misplaced priorities, wastages, corruption, lackadaisical work culture, indolence and poor service delivery, as noticed in the Nigerian public service. The colonial structure and its legacies on the Nigerian public administration is also a factor, that combines with the decaying, social values, to militate against effective and efficient performance in the public service.

Also, the public is attenuated with inflation of contract fee, over-invoicing, adsence of due process in the awards of contracts, unwholesome work ethics. These practices are inimical to development and created for corrupt and negative tendencies in the public service system. However, its nature, status and structure in the political system creates a number of problems. The problems are fully discussed below:

1. Effects Of Political Instability In Public Service

The constant changes in the political leadership since Nigeria independence have created instability, which relatively affected the Nigerian Civil Service, in structure, efficiency and direction. The effects of political instability is observed in the inability of the civil service to give a strong foothood to policy making and continuity of service. The commitment of the civil service to the preservation of the constitutional order is grossly affected and the system is often accused or afflicted with bipartisanship rather than non-partisanship and corruption cum abuse of the system. Then civil service as a result, is highly politicized. The various reforms are indications of the effects of political instability.

The primordial struggle for power and the bitter lessons of the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) created an unworkable federal structure that is flawed and inherent with injustice, ethnicity and primordial groupings, against the corporate interest and administrative structure of Nigeria’s existence.

The numerous changes in the political leadership without any interest on the continuity of policies, rather presented a situation of different leadership styles being imposed to the detriment of the civil service. Civil service rules are often brushed aside initiative and sense of responsibility are destroyed. These bring illusionment and frustrations on the civil servants; also, may lead to situational loss of seasoned technocrats, administrators and experts in the civil service.

2. Corruption In The Public Service

Corruption as a social phenomenon has eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nigerian polity. It is a hydra-headed monster that has affected public institutions and largely responsible for the inefficient state of the public service. It portrays a high level of abuse of publice trust and the mismanagement of public resources. It is a development that needs to be frontaly and adequately tackled in the Nigerian polity. It holds certain destructive peculiarities in transitional and developing economy and public institutions.

Furthermore, corruption in public service is observed to be caused by dictatorship and lack of democratic principles and practices, poor law forcement system, morbid greed and materialisy orientations; cultural lag and moral decay; poverty and unequal distribution of state wealth; insecurity and high risk of economic survival and investment; and the poor state of the economy, which make the state weak and unable to meet up with its social and economix obligations to the people. Corruption constitutes a major challenges to the sustenance of public institutions and the promotion of social existence. It also constitutes the following consequences:

1. Unquantifiable damage to all facets of our country’s corporate life.

2. Enormous loss of government.

3. The undermining of our national development effort, our economic potentials and our political stability.

4. Erosion of efficiency, effectiveness and productivity of our public services.

5. Tanting of our national image all over the world, resulting to loss of investor confidence, development and progress;

3. Poor Reward And Punishment System

Observably, in the civil service rewards and punishment are inbuilt in the system. Civil servants are committed to their duties either for reward or for fear of being punished. Much emphasis is placed on punishment rather reward for achievements or examplary performance. The public service rules prescribes the mode of conduct and appropriate actions against deviants in the public service. The measure reward for excellence, loyalty and dedication to duties are limited. Promotion is the only means of reward, which is based on length of service, records and seniority without recourse to meritorious and excellent performance in the reward system. Also, ethnicity, favouritism, religion and the principle of federal characterr dominate the influential criteria for reward and disciplinary actions in public services.

These hold the implication of enthroning mediocrity in the public service; loss of confidence, commitment and dedication; and erosion of justice and fairness in the public service. It makes the civil service unattractive to spirited and high minded individuals. The reward and punishment when reviewed and standardized would encourage efficiency and effective performance in the public service.

4. Concepts Of Pervasive Effects On The Civil Service

In the Nigerian context, the public service has invariably noticed the permeating influence of certain touchy issues, which are conceptualized in the civil service and the overall development of the Nigerian state. The issues are discussed on the following concepts:

Godfatherism

Godfatherism is a situation in which a self seeking individual sets out to use the government for his own purposes through a godson. Godfathers refers to a relationship between a “master” and the subordinates proteges (godson).

It consist of merchantilism, clientelism and prebandalism in its overriding essence in Nigeria. The godfather is seen as a merchant who sets out to acquire the state as a client. He strives to alter the course of administration of the state for his benefits. He indeedm sees the rise to power of his associate(s) or godson(s) as a veritable way of bleeding the society.

The Phenomenon of godfatherism holds the implication of Vitiating and impeding Public Services Policies and governance, all in an effort to placate the godfather. Public service witnesses the massive infusion of Mediocrity and a fetish equivalent. This affects Proficiency, Productivity and effectiveness of Public institutions and governance. Better Policies are set aside where it counters the selfish interes of the godfather. The actions of the godfather are detrimental to economic growth and advancement of the state. The whole intensions and actions of the godfather are completely and quite antithetical, and pretentiously negate the open and negotied Society, as evident with our democracy.

Sexual Harrassment

This involve the act of intimidation or assault of the opposite sex with the demand for sexual relationship. It may be forceful, coercive, or attachment of sex as a bailt or condition for enjoyment of a merited privilege or favour. This uncomfortable phenomenon holds the effect of making the affected officer uncomfortable with his/her job. It makes for loss of loyalty, discipline, confidence and effective service in the public service.

Ethnicism

Ethnicism refers to the nature, content and focus of inter-ethnic relationship and interaction among the different ethnic groups in a multi-ethnic society.

However, this holds gross effects in the development and growth of public service in Nigeria. Nigerians and the public officers see themselves first, as a member of a clan, and more interestingly as a member of an ethnic nationality. There exists in the interactions subjective display of ethnic sentiments, leading to mutual suspicious, hatred and internencine wrangling and crises. It also creates for a cruel and majority approach to national issues, which leaves a significant section of Nigeria with feelings of alienation, marginalization, defeat and under representation. People hide under ths guise of defending one’s ethnic group, while pursuing personal and selfish interest in the public service.

This further creates for massive national disillusionment and cynicism, which leads to a situation in which the government is seen to be under siege by unpatriotic, anti democratic, anarchic and nihilist forces. Ethnic groups serve as a matric, which gives its members a sense of solidarity on public issues and struggles.

In addition, ethnicism in the actual sense hold for multiple negative effects, especially on the issue of chances in the public service being determined by one’s ethnic nationality rather than merits. Ethnicism has retarded our genuine efforts for national integration and the development of public institutions cum grievances.

Federal Character Principle Or Quota System

The application of this phenomenon in the civil service creates for major touchy implications. By implication, the principle grossly affects morle and productivity in the civil service. It tends to compromise merit and excellence against the interest and overall development of the nation.

It has been negatively applied to recruitment, promotions and lateral transfers from one area to another in the civil service.

Religionism

Religion is a substantial issue of concern to all. It revolves around one’s deep relationship to a supernatural being or something of deep value. Nigeria is a multi religious society, with a predominant influence of Christianity, Islamic religion, traditional religions and other religious interest groupings. Within the religions sects, exist denominational settings with gross influence on the national polity. Although, Nigeria constitutionally is a secular state, religion remains a touchy issue of concern to its development.

Religious feelings and identifications form pertains of interaction in the public service. Preferential treatments are given to people of identical religious sect or denomination. Most times, it becomes a considerable factor in promotion, appointment and discipline of public officers.

Stateism

This is a concept that derives its origin from the creation of states, as a component or unit in the Nigerian federalism. The arrangement of a people under a government in a state has made personalization of the concept (stateism

The result of this development reveals conflicts with other states in the struggles for national cake (resources), social disintegration and individual insecurity in the federation of Nigeria. These complex factors hold effects and implications on the development of the civil service in Nigeria.

Favouritism

This concept is also referred to as Nepotism. It involves granting special or unmerited favour to friends, relations or clique without applying the due process. It is corruption and abuse of office.

5. Poor Communication System InThe Public Service

Effective communication in an organization can be affected by difficulties such as: technical problem, semantics, noise and problem of effectiveness of how meaning affect the desired result. These problems associated with communication need to be handled in order to enhance effective communication system.

Conversely, in the development of civil service, ineffective or poor communication system poses a problem to its performances. It gives rise to lack of information or insufficiency of information flow. The necessary dissemination of materials, perception and understanding are being hindered. Poor communication system arouses suspicion, mistrust, bickering, rancour, rumours, speculations which are harmful to the development of the public service. It grossly affects the level of input and productivity of public officers. Time is wasted and confidence is eroded. In sum, communication is an essential feature of the public service as a system or organization. It is a means through which social inputs are fed into the social system. Alsom through communication, behaviour is modified, change is effected, information is made productive and goals are achieved. The prevalence of poor communication network in a system, such as the public service, is tantamount to its destruction and decay.

6. Inadequate Working Materials, Machinery And Stationery

The public service as an active system requires enormous and steady supply of working materials, stationary and functional equipment. The materials include, paper, inks, files, books, tables, chairs, and equipment such as, typewriters, duplicating machines, computers, internet facilitaties, calculating machines, telephones, good lighting and good working environment. The inadequacy of these materials and equipment are sufficient to paralyse activities and operations in the civil system. They are necessary for the performance of civil service responsibilities.

7. Bureaucracy And Red-Tapism

The word Bureaucracy portrays an opprobrious meaning and odious connotation. It is associated with inefficiency, lack of initiative, unintelligent rigidity, undue fussiness, bossiness and downright stubbornness of officials in the public service. While Red Tapism refers to the cumbersome and rigorous processes associated with the public service. These concepts reveal the impressions that spring to mind at the mention of public service and its associated bureaucratic principles.

Although Bureaucracy is not a virtue in administration, yet it is an element of administration and quite inseparable. It implies a certain degree of inflexibility and impersonality. To this extent, it constitutes a problem to public administration and service.

Bureaucracy as an inseparable element in public service, equally sustains the development of the process.

Its existence as a problem to public service is associated with its nature and goals. It attributes of complexity, accountability, specialization, organization and size, are the causes of bureaucracy. The modern state with its magnitude services is complex that makes for necessary application of expertise skills in public administration. Equally, government or public service is open to public scrutiny and criticism hence, public official are conscious of public accountability.

In addition, there is the institutional reason to adduce the imposition of bureaucracy in public service. The size is a factor, The larger the institution, the more pronounced is the tendency towards flexibility and impersonality. Organization is by itself most ital and indispensable. The whole business of public service is structured in hierarchical process of functions and persons. The chain of command and functions are defined, yet it presents a cause bureaucracy which affects performances in the public service.

The hierarchical structure and specialization are necessary for the efficient discharge of complex functions in the public service, they add to the factors that produce inflexibility and impersonality. Bureaucracy with its structural attributes have remained a problem to public service in modern states.

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