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DCP Abba Kyari: Deconstructing Public Service In Its Degenerate Mold

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2023, Ideology And Issue-based Politics: Where Did We Miss It?
Prof. Tunji Olaopa

By
Tunji Olaopa

The news in recent times has been agog with the tragic story about the rise and unfortunate fall of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari. Known as the “supercop,” DCP Kyari used to be (or is it branded as) an exemplar of what a public servant should be, and especially one tasked with the responsibility of maintaining law and order in a country like Nigeria. This is significant. Nigeria is currently in a paroxysm of lawlessness, especially due to the challenge posed by non-state actors, from kidnappers to Fulani herdsmen, and from armed robbers to Boko Haram insurgents. These security challenges imply that a lot of expectations are heaped on the law enforcement agencies to perform their duties in keeping the state and citizens safe from lawlessness. Thus, as a “supercop,” DCP Abba Kyari was revered across the country and by his colleagues for upholding the fundamental values of law enforcement. But then, the bubble burst! Apparently, the lures of criminality were too overwhelming for the once diligent policeman. Success became an incentive not to tread the path of honour, but to be stupendously rich and therefore rise to societal revered outlier success zenith through an end justifies the means Machiavellian streak

The case of Abba Kyari is a scary one from an institutional point of view. We can ask whether the “supercop” represents a dominant species of public servants lurking in the corridors of service, or maybe he is just an aberration. If he is a manifestation of a degenerated public institution, how do we begin to rethink the public service that produced him, in a country poised to rededicate itself to the rule of law? I will like to take the unfortunate example of this fallen public servant as the moment to reflect on the state of the public service in Nigeria, and what is required to make it an institutional template for breeding diligent and ethical public servants that can adequately complement the functions of the state. This reflection speaks to a deeper worry about the relationship between the state of the nation, the driving force propelling the national economy and the state of her public service. We have a situation where, as a result of the humongous and obscene wealth that the political class and national elites display and adore even if with arrant sycophancy; the growingly degraded fortune of the Nigerian middle class, state capture, the unresolved Rich Man-Lazarus complex and eroded bases of inclusiveness; 90% of the nation’s wealth belong to less than 2% of the population, with being streetwise, criminality, yahoo-yahoo, cybercrime, money ritual expanding industry as the only viable alternative to hard work to gain entry into the exclusive world of the Nigerian brand of nouveau rich in a dynamic that our ideologically barren political class are clueless to confront with sufficiently deep problem-solving policy response. This being the existential reality constructed by the scary message that is constantly being sent over the years that hard work, meritocracy and diligence no longer count nor work as values to be cultivated, as well as the politics that the Nigerian nation plays with its destiny. Taken together, with a large and increasing youth unemployment, the Nigerian youths now find crime and criminality more fascinating than education. A large percentage even look into the murky realm of religious fundamentalism and its miracle mentality variant as the gateway, to boot.

One of the basic foundations of governance is laid on the axiom of a social contract between the government and the citizens. However, since the state is a mere abstract construct, it is made more concrete by its many functionaries whose responsibilities are to implement the policies of the state. The most significant of these functionaries are the public servants, especially those ensconced in the civil service core. It is in this sense that scholars of politics and administration have agreed that the public service is a necessary complement for the functional efficiency of the state, and especially of democratic governance in the twenty-first century. However, this functional efficiency that backstops democratic governance becomes jeopardized once the value foundation of the public service is eroded. In other words, in any democratic system, the successes or failures of any government—indeed the legacies of good leadership and the heroism of its public servants—is measured in terms of the extent to which government preserves the ethos of administration and the values of service. Thus, when we say that the public service is a calling or a vocation, it is with reference to the trajectory and framework of values and ethics that led to the founding of the profession.

READ ALSO: Abba Kyari’s Wife Slumps In Court At Husband’s Trial

When the Levites were chosen in the Old Testament of the Christian bible, it was essentially a sacred responsibility. Being chosen demanded that one must be motivated by sacred purpose and a sense of responsibility that moderated one’s life, actions and duties. It is precisely in this sense that the public service is also a calling in the trajectory of the priesthood in the Levitical Order. Public servants are “public priests” who keep the government connected to the citizens in administrative efficiency. It is therefore this inherent nature as a profession and instrument of the state that public service derived its classical formulation by Max Weber. The bureaucracy, for Weber, must be founded on the idea of a legal-rational authority which becomes legitimate by reason of its rules, regulations and principles. The rule-based logic of the bureaucracy not only conditioned it to be apolitical, but also circumscribed the actions of the public servants. Apart from the legal-rational configuration of the public service into a neutral, disciplined, and functional institution, Weber argued that honour is the core of the public service vocation. It is this ethical sense of honour that strengthens the effective technical performance of the state, and hence prevents the bureaucracy from collapsing upon the weight of its own activities. An honourable public official is the one who sees to the execution of a policy to the best of his ability, even if he disagrees with the policy choice.

Indeed, when the Nigerian civil service was inaugurated, the pioneers were able to initiate what is now regarded as the golden era of public administration and the public service in Nigeria because they imbibed the Victorian puritanical values of the twentieth century that undergirded the public service inherited from Britain. These pioneers manifested significant value orientations that demonstrated excellence and professionalism. For instance, they had the capacity to speak truth to power given that they had kept their hands off the public till. They were groomed around the fundamental value of delayed gratification that kept the concept of the public in their heart. To borrow Robbin Sharma’s title, these exemplary public servants were “leaders without titles.” They abided with the essential character of the public servant as an anonymous and silent game changer who works behind the scene of government decision-making machinery to get things done.

READ ALSO: NDLEA Writes Malami For Approval To Seize Billions In Kyari’s Bank Accounts, Other Assets

However, everything changed when Nigerian political elites began playing politics with her future. This bad politics is not only extractive, but provincial. It is the politics of ethnicity and godfatherism whose long-term consequences involve sidelining the scarce resources away from the sustenance of the values of the institutions that the state needs to function efficiently on behalf of democratic governance and the Nigerian citizens. It started with the adoption of the principle of representativeness at independence. And this principle overtook the efficiency of the workforce of the civil service with sheer over-bloatedness. And when a person at the helms of affairs employs a public servant on the basis of her ethnic identity rather than meritocratic credentials, the ethos of the public service is not only violated, the institution itself becomes weakened. The idea of state capture that has been researched in terms of governance also has devastating implications for the collapse of the administrative system. Prebendal interests and the rentier culture undermine performance and productivity.

It is essentially bad politics that generate the sociological negativities emerging from youth unemployment that leads Nigerian youths on a path of destruction—from financial and cybercrimes to money rituals. And all this, despite the great noise about anti-corruption as the foundation of good governance in the current political dispensation. These sociological negativities merge neatly with the public perception of government business as one that anyone can get appointed to, without any sense of merit or competence. Government work is government work, so most Nigerians think. It is a place of immense unproductivity. There is even news that Boko Haram “converts” are getting injected into the Nigerian armed forces. It is therefore anybody’s guess how such a blatant ideological cluelessness could serve as the basis of the renewal of the public service. We now have institutions that have become a reward zone for all sorts of elements, from former insurgents to incompetent family members, the streetwise, the highest bidders and political stooges.

READ ALSO: Buhari Will Decide Kyari’s Fate Over Deal With Hushpuppi – Minister

This politics deprived the public service of its capacity to modernize its operational and strategic capacity readiness. This essentially is at the root of Nigeria’s classification as a ‘hesitant reformer’. We are hesitant because the political class could not make up its mind about committing state resources to pushing the public service beyond its bureaucratic hindrances. We are then left with a nagging and fundamental question: When the irresponsible political class refuses to put its political will and action behind the transformation of a dysfunctional public service institution, how then can Nigeria achieve a strong, resilient and value-based public service that will support the objective of democratic governance?

To break out of this vicious cycle requires culture change and a change management that must bring all hands on deck, from the citizens to the civil society organizations. It is high time the citizens began to recognize that the leadership they have is a direct picture of what they deserve. When the citizens are dragged into the game that the political class play with the destiny of the Nigerian state a la stomach infrastructure, then we all are complicit in the systemic failure of the government. The vigilance of the citizens as well as the critical inquiry and actions of the civil society organizations are fundamental to the health of democratic governance. They are the ingredients required to put the political class on its toes on matters that affect us all. It is only when the feet of the government is constantly placed over the fire through constant vigilance that we can begin to channel government institutional responsibility to the urgent imperative of re-professionalizing the public service.

The task of re-professionalization becomes critical because of the changing nature of the public service and of public administration in the knowledge economy of the twenty-first century, mediated by the vulnerable, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment and made worse by COVID-19 exigencies. The modernizing imperatives that all public service systems across the globe subscribe to is meant to bring the public service in line with current developments that bring the system to the cutting edge of technology and professional ethic. In the case of Nigeria, the public service re-professionalization drive is contingent on the gatekeeping responsibility of the civil service commissions and all other cognate structures in the public service. Professional gatekeeping is not only important in the recruitment of a critical mass of high-performers but also in the recalibration of those already in the service in ways that bring them around new competences, orientation and literacies needed to build and sustain the productivity profile of the public service. The civil service commission not only put in place regulated recruitment frameworks, but also partner with the OHCSF to craft professional ethics protocol by which the personal and public accountabilities of the public servants are closely monitored and evaluated.

READ ALSO: Court Rejects Abba Kyari’s Bail Bid

In the absence of these concerted efforts of the government and the governed in sustaining democratic governance and the value integrity of the institutions that are meant to improve the wellbeing of the citizens, we will continue to have public servants in the mold of DCP Abba Kyari multiplying; those who use the institutions and structures of government to feather their own nest and thereby increase the poverty quotient of both the citizens and the Nigerian state. Who knows how many more of these are still lurking behind institutional successes, and exploiting structural loopholes to amass wealth?

Olaopa is a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, and Professor, National Institute For Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos. tolaopa2003@gmail.com

 

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Opinion

An Open Letter To President Muhammadu Buhari

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An Open Letter To President Muhammadu Buhari
Dr. Stella Omonigho

By Stella Omonigho
Your Excellency Sir,
I am writing this letter with so much pain in my heart because of the state of our dear nation Nigeria under your leadership and watch. You will recall that when you came into power on the 29th of May 2015 Nigerians were hopeful that your administration was going to strengthen our young democracy and ensure that the dividends of democracy accrue to all Nigerians irrespective of their ethnicity, religion or party affiliations.

Before I continue Sir, kindly permit me to define the term democracy under which Nigeria is supposed to operate politically as a democratic country so as to remind myself constantly to remain within the scope of democracy as I address this letter to the Father of the Nation in order not to be faulted or accused of being undemocratic.

According to Pennock (1979:7), Democracy is: The government by the people where liberty, equality and fraternity are secured to the greatest possible degree and in which human capacities are developed to the utmost, by means including free and full discussions of common problems and interests.

READ ALSO: APC Convention: Caretaker Or Undertaker? (Open Letter To President Muhammadu Buhari)

Weale (1999:14) opined that in a democracy, important public decisions on questions of law and policy depend directly or indirectly upon public opinion formally expressed by citizens of the community, the vast bulk of whom have equal political rights. Lastly, the common definition even known to a neophyte is that of Abraham Lincoln that democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Lincoln went on to express his idea on the subject matter by saying: “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master”. Therefore Mr President, based on the freedom of expression provided by our constitution and by the system of government Nigeria has adopted, I write to you to express my fears, my pains, my disappointments and my suggestions on the state of the Nation.

Before you finally emerged the President of Nigeria in 2015, you were once the military head of state between December 31, 1983 and August 27, 1985, then you contested for the Presidency under the All Nigeria People’s party (APP) in 2011 and then migrated to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2013 where you obtained the party ticket for presidency and won in the general elections in 2015. This means that you are a man of great knowledge and experience in leadership, in political matters especially as it obtains in Nigeria. With this wealth of experience as a retired Major General, Nigerians voted for you massively hoping you will be the messiah to save them from insecurity and insurgency as you promised in your electioneering . We all believed in you Baba, that a young man Hashimu defiled all odds and trekked from Lagos to Abuja for 18 days to demonstrate his love, admiration and hope in you. Sir, below are some of the promises you made to woo us to vote for you in 2015 and since we saw you as a man with integrity, we believed every word you said despite some red flags being flown by some elders. These promises were extracted from some of your campaign videos and posters:

Ban on government officials from going abroad for medical treatment.
Public declaration of assets and liabilities.

Introduction of National Gender Policy and offer of 35 per cent appointment to women.

READ ALSO: The Youths In Leadership: Are They Living Up To Expectations?

Increasing the number of doctors from 19 per 1000 population to 50 per 1000 .
Upgrading all Federal Government-owned hospitals to world-class facilities within five years .

Ensuring that political office holders earn salaries and emoluments as determined and approved by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC).
Creating a Crime Squad to combat terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, militancy, ethno-religious and communal clashes in the country.
Amending the Constitution to remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in a criminal case.
One dollar to one naira.
Constant and uninterrupted power supply.

NSir, contrary to the first promise made, I am aware that you have been going on medical vacation in the United kingdom. more frequently than any other President this country has ever had. On the 5th February, 2016, you took a medical trip to the United Kingdom where you spent 10 days. On the 6th of June you returned to the UK for medical examination and you spent 13 days, on the 15th January, 2017, you went again and spent 50 days, then on 7th May, 2017, you went on another medical trip where you spent 104 days without handing over governance to the Vice President in your absence as provided in the constitution. The medical trips have gone so frequent that Nigerians have lost count and interest in the numerous trips which we believe are not free or cheap. So many people in your cabinets also took various medical vacations sometimes announced but most times unannounced. This was totally the contrary of what you promised before coming into power. While the poor Nigerian cannot afford health care in Nigeria where you promised to improve on our health services, you Baba and members of your cabinet proceed on these trips even at the slightest health challenge.

Secondly Sir, there is a great upsurge of insecurity in the nation that killings, kidnapping, rape, bombings and various attacks are now so common that the media are almost getting embarrassed to report all and the police are now so ashamed to admit to which led to the denial of the recent bomb blast at Sabon Gari in Kano where the police claimed it was a gas explosion whereas eye witnesses saw the suicide bomber yet nobody was prosecuted or warned among the police force for misleading the whole country by this false claims. Parents sold their property, borrowed and some died to save the lives of their children who were kidnapped in boarding schools and on campus. Kidnapped victims of the Kaduna-bound train are still with the abductors. Innocent people are being slaughtered by the day in the name of religious clash and nothing is being done to stop it. Baba, this was not your promise to us in 2015.

Mr President, the cost of food has gone up drastically over 300% since you came into power as a result of insecurity. Farmers are being killed and the females raped and ripped to death hence most of them stopped going to the bush for fear of being victims. In some cases, some of them were kidnapped in their farms, tortured until friends, families and fellow farmers contributed to pay the ransom. Travelling on the highway especially in some places like Abuja-Kaduna way, Benin-Abuja, Lagos-Ibadan among others is a nightmare as travellers are kidnapped almost on a daily basis. This has affected productivity of traders so badly in the country.

Thirdly Sir, power supply has been so epileptic despite the increment in the electricity tariffs. Businesses folded up as some traders could not afford to run them with the high cost of diesel and other petroleum products.

READ ALSO: Political Insanity Or Harvest Of Greed

On the fight against corruption which was your main focus Sir, it has become an open secret that Nigeria has recorded so many cases of corruption in your time more than any other especially among your appointees and cabinet members. These ones have graduated from stealing millions into stealing billions and no tangible sanction has been meted out to them. What we see is a drama show either in court or during interrogation and at the end the cases are swept under the carpet and these thieves come back to contest for other political positions. Under your watch Sir, an individual carted away with 80 billion naira, another 1.5 trillion, another 117million and so on. This is so painful to us the masses who find it difficult to eat 2 square meals a day not to talk of three. Baba, all these looted funds would go a long way in reviving our economy and possibly pay back a part of our foreign loans. How can it be said that Nigeria was borrowing almost on a monthly basis in 2021, yet individuals in your cabinet are carting away such huge amounts of money under your watch? What will the world say about us?

Mr. President Sir, the story about public universities being underfunded, poor remuneration of varsity workers and fraudulent payment platform (IPPIS) is no longer new even in the global sector. While political leaders and appointees earn more than 50million naira monthly, a university professor which is the apex of academic qualification in the world does not earn half a million naira. No wonder some of your ministers talk to professors with so much scorn and disrespect, no wonder an individual in your cabinet asked professors to go and farm. It is so sad that not much value is placed on education in Nigeria. Incessant strike and industrial actions by varsity workers because of failure of your government to fulfil agreement reached with the unions have led to constant closure of the university campuses and unrest of the youths in recent years while we see on social media pictures of graduation of the children of our political leaders who schooled in foreign universities while the children of those who voted for you are perpetually at home.

READ ALSO: 12-years-old School Pupil Dies After Flogging By Teacher

In line with the aforementioned Sir, while reminding you of areas where seeming failure has been recorded, permit me to make some suggestions on how to correct some of these anomalies before it is too late if not too late. As the adage says, “it is better late than never” . Mr. President Sir, posterity will remember your tenure for either good or bad. There is therefore an urgent need for a restructure in your cabinet; political appointments into various public offices must be reviewed based on merit and not sentiments irrespective of the person’s political, religious or ethnic affiliation. There is a great need to put a round peg in a round hole, that is to say that only those who are genuinely qualified and concerned about the developments and security of the nation should be appointed or remain in office.

As the father of the nation Sir, the time is long overdue to rake all parastatals of every corrupt director, minister, manager, desk officers e.t.c. in order to save not only public funds that are being looted on a daily basis but also the face of our nation. Agencies established to fight against corruption must do so with all sincerity irrespective of whoever is found wanting (there must be no sacred cow).

Furthermore, security agencies such as the police, the army and the civil defence must not hesitate to prosecute any defaulter of the law, nor deny the reality of the state of insecurity o the nation.

Lastly, with the recent acrimony and misunderstanding between the two major religions in the country, there is an urgent need for you Sir to address the nation on religious tolerance and harmonious living among all Nigerians irrespective of any provocation. On no account must anyone take laws into his or her hands by taking the life of any Nigerian.

READ ALSO: Saving INEC, EFCC, ICPC From Treason

In conclusion, dear father of the nation, President Muhammadu Buhari, save our public universities by meeting directly with the aggrieved unions especially ASUU, and meet their demands in order to resolve the long-ignored issues because the students are suffering, deprived and delayed in life.

I hope Sir, that you will graciously look into all these points raised with genuine concerns for our nation Nigeria and act with dispatch to save our country from sinking any further.
Long live Nigeria!
God bless Nigerians!
God bless our nation!

.Omonigho, PhD, is a public affairs analyst.

 

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Opinion

New Thinking In Public Service And Administration

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New Thinking In Public Service And Administration
Prof. Tunji Olaopa

By
Tunji Olaopa

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has already become definitive of the twenty-first century, and the Nigerian civil service system cannot afford to keep struggling to key into the fundamentals of a new age that has transformed human sensibilities and ethos in many radical ways, from the way we work to the ways we organize our lives and existence. The public service is one of the fundamental institutions, across the globe, that has been significantly affected by the massive and radical digital transformations of human administrative endeavors. The challenge, however, and especially with a public service in a difficult administrative environment like Africa, is how easy it is for the public service to be caught up in its bureaucratic rules and processes in ways that deeply circumscribed its efficiency and service delivery mandate. This is all the more so for the Nigerian public service and her struggle to reprofessionalise as a functional institution while undermining her bureaucratic credentials.

This is not a light assessment given the predilection for an institution like the public service to be taken in by administrative traditions, and be fixated on a procedural mindset that is firmly opposed to change. Such a mindset becomes trapped unfortunately in yesterday’s ways of thinking and is immune from exploring the new possibilities available for making the public service a better institution for complementing the capabilities of the state to improve the well-being of humans. The vocation of the public service—the administrative principles, codes of practice, ethical values and knowledge systems—constitute all that shapes the future of the profession. However, what happens if the professionals are not looking up, and defining the conditions and circumstances that make for the continuous transformation of the profession? What happens, that is, if we refuse to conduct regular environmental scanning, deploy scenario planning, follow global trends, or interrogate the intellectual assumptions and theories undergirding administrative practices? Thus, with the shifting demographics, constantly evolving technologies, and environmental sustainability challenges, the way we lead, the way we administer, the way we solve problems or manage change, etc., are changing so dramatically now that any institution not willing to key into the innovative sensibility will be left behind. And, of course, the Nigerian public service cannot afford to be left behind.

The way forward is straightforward: it involves investing in new thinking. The idea of new thinking speaks about the capacity of an individual, an organisation or a state to assess and reassess current situation and future possibilities through a strategic framework that will enable the individual, organization or state function better and more efficiently. The idea of new thinking is conditioned by a reform program that is strategic. In other words, new think for any organization or institution combines strategic thinking and strategic planning to be able to face the future. It is this strategic thinking that allows an institution like the public service to rethink and reengineer its modus operandi and business model to become better.

READ ALSO: Prof. A. D. Yahaya In The Annals Of Public Administration Scholarship In Nigeria

The notion of new thinking presupposes an old one. And with regard to the public service, this old thinking template is represented by the traditional, “I-am-directed” Weberian framework that defines administrative business before the advent of the managerial revolution. This Weberian structure required from civil servants the requisite characteristics of anonymity, neutrality and impartiality, and an overall profile circumscribed by efficiency, effectiveness, integrity, accountability, responsiveness, representativeness, loyalty, equity, fairness, and so on. However, it is a system that is essentially hierarchical, cumbersome and acutely bureaucratic to effectively fulfil the mandate of good governance. As a migrated structure, the Weberian system arrived in Nigeria without its value foundation. This made it impossible for the Weberian structure to organizationally mature into fully formed and value-oriented institution. Thus, it eventually became a bureaucratic paradigm that became ultimately a bureaucratic culture that contributed to the underdevelopment narrative in Nigeria. This made it possible for the system to be hijacked by various personalities for selfish and short-term ends.

Transforming the public service in the grip of this old business model demands also that the reformer must put in mind that the transition into the fourth industrial revolution must also occur within what has been called the VUCA environment. The public service is immersed in a VUCA environment, characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. These are four elements that are defined by the state of the world, decisions of government, and national dynamics. The VUCA environment is one that confronts the functioning of the public service and demands an engagement that enables the public service to confront the challenges and achieve administrative excellence in the process. This implies that such a public manager who will steer the public service through the challenges of the VUCA environment cannot be merely transactional, and operating with a twentieth century administrative mindset. It also means that the public service must always aspire to become capacity ready in meeting the challenges of governance and administration that the social, political, cultural and economic environments might throw up.

The public service, within a VUCA environment, is faced with the challenge of transforming itself within what is called a scenario. In administrative reform, a scenario consists of a starting point (an initial or alpha state), a trajectory (chain of steps or events) and a future (omega) state. A reform agenda or scenario therefore takes a state from the alpha point though a trajectory to an omega point. Within a VUCA environment, therefore, the public service is always finding itself in an alpha point as the environment keeps getting complex and challenging, and is always oriented towards an omega that is better able to serve the needs of the citizens. The burden of the VUCA environment, together with the imperative of the fourth industrial revolution, requires that the public service in Nigeria must be constrained by the demand of strategic thinking and planning. While strategic thinking is conceptual and initiates the search for imaginative strategies, strategic planning is more programmatic in the ways it formalizes the steps involved in transforming the public service.

READ ALSO: Civil Service Commission As Catalyst In Repositioning Nigerian Public Service

In thinking and planning strategically, therefore, care must be taken to distinguish between creating a strategy and being strategic. On the one hand, creating a strategy is a process of translating a plan into a set of results. On the other hand, the act of being strategic is a competence that involves critical thinking. The argument is that an institution, like the public service, requires strategic thinking to generate a reform strategy that will move the institution forward into more optimal functionality and productivity. Both must be channeled institutionally to the most central process of strategic decision making. This is what allows the institution to either think outside of the box or even without a box to structure institutional imagination. Strategic decision-making is ultimately tied to an institution’s capacity to maneuver through the VUCA environment in order to perform better. Thus, to move the Nigerian public service system forward to an omega point of cutting-edge optimality that creates performance, public value and productivity, there is the need to bring strategic thinking to bear on the institutional parameters, processes and values in ways that generate strategies for efficiency and effectiveness. Here, we survey the significant areas that constitute the locus of new thinking for the public service and the transformation of its efficiency and service delivery capacity.

Since strategic decision-making is key to the adoption and deployment of new thinking in Nigeria’s public service, then strategic policy intelligence emanating from the irreducible developments in contemporary decision science becomes inevitable. Decision science has become a critical field that has integrated cognate developments from artificial intelligence, organisational psychology, systems thinking, machine learning, probabilistic modeling, scenario analysis, big data analytics, and many more to become a key area that the public service must buy into to push forward its policy intelligence that strengthen decision-making. Modern policy making that has taken cognizance of decision science will most likely possess nine fundamental features: (i) forward-looking; (ii) outward-looking; (iii) innovative, flexible and creative; (iv) evidence-based; (v) evaluation; (vi) review; (vii) joined-up; (viii) inclusive; and (ix) learned lessons.

Strategic decision-making in turn demands that we rethink the nature of government and of the governance space where this strategy would be deployed. This is the occasion for the open government initiative to create a Public Service 2.0. Open government is founded on the principle that government—not just its laws and policies, but the reasons and processes of decisions that generated those policies and the flows of money that fund their implementation—should be open to the citizens and nongovernmental agents. The idea of open government aligns the public service with the necessity of (re)creating public value(s) that will transform the quality of life of the citizens. Indeed, the joint production of public value(s) by the government, nonstate actors and the citizens places the public service squarely within the ambit of the New Public Governance approach, the New Public Administration, and the New Public Service approaches that place the active citizens at the core of democratic governance, and the center of service delivery by the public service.

READ ALSO: DCP Abba Kyari: Deconstructing Public Service In Its Degenerate Mold

No public service can operate within the imperatives of the fourth industrial revolution without transforming its idea of human resources management and the dynamics of the workplace. For example, the idea of remote working and specialist contractors provide an institution like the public service the capacity to recruit a global workforce and create incentives that increase employee loyalty and commitment, and collaborations that generate productivity. This gives room for the achievement of a better work-life balance deriving from freer time and flexibility to work. And facilitates the acquisition of “twenty-first century literacies”: (a) interpersonal skills: facilitation, empathy, political skills; (b) synthesising skills: sorting evidence, analysis, making judgements, offering critique and being creative; (c) organising skills: group work, collaboration and peer review; and (d) communication skills: better use of new media and multi-media resources.

Thus, even though institutional reform is inevitable within the public service system in Nigeria, such a reform must be constrained by the imperatives of new thinking that arms the public service system with the wherewithal by which it must facilitate its own transformation. This is how the public service can become not only world-class, but compliant with the fourth industrial revolution and the challenge of national development in Nigeria.

. (Being a paper presented at a seminar held at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria – PSIN, Abuja, recently).
. Olaopa is a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, and Professor, National Institute For Policy and Strategic Studies
(NIPSS), Kuru, Jos .
tolaopa2003@gmail.com

 

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Letter From A Falsely Accused Accountant-General

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Letter From A Falsely Accused Accountant-General

By Omoh Giwa

Dear Ms Giwa,
For dread of your scathing and satirical remarks on political issues, I have decided in anticipation of your nosy weekly missives, to respond in like manner just as you are known to run your mouth like a diarrhoea-plagued bowel.

There comes a junction in a man’s life, when he acknowledges he has bitten off more than he can chew. Such a man is left with a choice; choke or vomit but the real question is how do I vomit N80 billion? You might wonder why I cannot just cough it up or use a morsel of Eba or Fufu to get rid of this fish bone stuck in my throat? Things are never as they seem.

It is ironical that the self-acclaimed gatekeepers of integrity and discipline; after ousting and labelling the previous administration, corrupt and embezzlers of public funds, should be caught with our pants down. The irony is not in our criminal and ridiculous show of greed or the hypocrisy of our actions but in our gate-keeping. If you consider our allegations against my predecessor who was disgraced for the alleged misappropriation of 2.5 billion naira and my alleged crime, you’d be incensed all over again but you must allow me defend myself before you crucify me.

READ ALSO: Accountant General Ahmed Idris Suspended Over N80b Fraud

Though my compadres have not saved me from this show of shame, I refuse to sing like a canary or a certain director of the NDDC whose microphone was turned off forcefully over a meagre sum of 40 billion naira. My refusal to sing is two-pronged; firstly, I do not know if this is a test of my resilience and trust in my benefactors and secondly my accusers brought before the world, an 80 billion-count charge that I cannot seem to shake off or defend. I am saddened however, by the silence of my patron especially as it seems he is more interested in picking his successor to evade disgrace than saving me. Do you think I have been thrown under the bus and left for you vultures to pick my bones clean?

The wind of change that swept the nation and engineered the political awakening of the Lazy Nigerian Youth especially during the EndSARS saga is worrisome and I fear a threat to my political career. Will this be the end of my career that began after my Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University of Zaria in 1984 because some pesky meddling Crime Watchers cannot do the bidding of Number 1?

I have held several key positions post-BSc including Assistant Director of Finance and Accounts with the Petroleum Trust Fund and have never been caught or ousted with my fingers in the cookie jar as being ridiculed because I challenged the gang of self-righteous University Lecturers. To say I am thoroughly embarrassed is an understatement. Although I know this means nothing to my current position or even future ones (I must admit that my career is at stake if my mentor does not get his wish of replacing himself with a stooge hence I had to line my pockets for the rainy day) but I admit it looks bad on my resume and might hinder my back-up plan of international waters like certain Ministers of Finance and Agriculture.

You might wonder what my motive is with this communiqué but do not count me above rolling in the mud with pigs. I will not tolerate any slander to my name and legacy therefore; I intend to expose my detractors. This group of intelligent mafia, ASUU, is responsible for unveiling my misdemeanour as there are obviously worse cases of embezzlement schemes in this same country. I do not hear the same outrage I received for a mere 80 billion payout compared to the bigger fraud in Port Harcourt that has been fingered for 117 billion naira. What the syndicate of lecturers do not know is that those in glass houses do not throw stones (this does not apply to what we did to our predecessors as they were deserving of every aspersion cast against their names. Greedy and unrighteous Lots!).

You might think I am falsely accusing this cabal of lecturers but why is my name being smeared after I rightfully insisted (dogmatically if I might add) on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System? These supposedly intellectuals are after my hide because I caught them at their attempt to become ghost workers. They want to eat their cake and have it (which is ridiculous in itself because the average professor cannot earn half a million despite their claim of intelligence and brilliance) and we cannot allow people to eat where they have not sown hence our desperate desire to gate-keep the looting and restrict it to the inner circle. Imagine if lecturers were financially comfortable, who would play the role of the Independent and Impartial Electoral Committee?

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If you think this is my only evidence against the wickedness of this mafia, consider that I also introduced Treasury Single Account, a pivotal bid to curb wastefulness and excesses (do not ask politrickians to cut down their excesses as you have no idea how difficult it is to be a public figure. We refuse to be poor like our counterparts in First World countries) especially in Federal Universities. These men intend to hold us by the balls and demand fair remuneration as if they were as conscientious as politicians. Ask these men if they can stay up all night (deliberating on money making schemes)? Do you think theorising and philosophising is on the same wavelength as politricking?

The impossible lots! So unreasonable! If only our inferiors will know their place and stay there, the world will be better for it. When they began their warning strike, they thought we would cave. They had no idea we had weightier matters of politics and power to consider so we mocked them privately especially when Baba said he was unaware that ASUU was on strike. So gullible they would believe anything. Issuing warning strikes as though they hold the real power. Like us, their weak spot is playing gods for a few weeks when they can collect their meagre share of the national loot, yet pretending to play hardball. We have not paid them since February when their warning strike began, the same way we didn’t pay them during the Lockdown when they also went on strike (they will learn to respect their superiors).

Anyway, there is a Nigerian proverb that says a child determined to frustrate its mother, will suffer too but I am struggling with the tumultuous choice of continuing my vendetta against the gang of educated rebels or accepting the slight. It is important to note that this might affect my international plan B. Let me know what you think.
Yours in Service,
Falsely accused, Disgraced yet Proud Accountant.

. Giwa writes from the University of Lagos.
victoriagiwa12@gmail.com

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