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Tenure Policy Restoration In The Federal Service: Matters Arising



Professionals In Government: Issues In Navigating The Policy Space In Nigeria


Tunji Olaopa

The news has now circulated sufficiently now that the Federal Government has reversed itself on the crucial issue of tenure policy in the federal civil service. The FG deserves an applause on this reversal because it implies that it has seen the light with regard to the significance of the policy in getting the civil service system back on its feet. It takes not just a credible reform policy to achieve the transformation of the civil service but also the political will to get that policy implemented and functional. And the tenure policy is just one such policy that has the potential to salvage the credibility and performance profile of the service.

The worry, however, and the reason for this intervention, has to do with the long gestation period that it takes for the service and the government to wade through the mechanics of implementation and evaluation. In most cases, implementation does not even happen, or at best, haphazard or far-between. There is therefore the constant need for expert intervention that fills the knowledge and advocacy gap in the hope that the government and other stakeholders can be stimulated into the salvation that Nigeria needs.

On the 18th of August, 2011, the Committee on the Restructuring and Rationalization of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies was put in place by the Federal Government, and headed by the former head of the civil service of the federation, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye. The burden that led to the constitution of the committee is the enormous cost of governance that drains the precious scarce resources of running government business and achieving infrastructural development and efficient service delivery for Nigerians. The committee submitted its report on 16th April, 2012. And then the report went through an unfortunate white paper analysis in 2014. And that was where the policy was stopped dead on its track. The political will to get it optimally implemented fizzled out.

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The tenure policy is a significant reform policy targeted at restoring the eroded confidence in the capacity readiness of the service to achieve efficient service delivery to Nigerians. Two reasons are fundamental to the significance of the policy. The first has to do with the intent to arrest the declining professionalism of the service due to the blatant politicization of the human resource functions of hiring, transfers and promotion. Stagnation in the system has been induced largely by two correlated determinants—the incessant lateral transfers and promotional blocks. The dubious promotional practice at the state civil services enables young, inexperienced and, at best, half-baked officers, into the federal civil service who then become directors and permanent secretaries at a tender age that allows them to hold such offices forever without retiring. This dislocates the chances of the core federal professionally inducted officers who had progressed steadily from GL. 8 from reaching the peak of their career. The inevitable consequence of this practices is that these genuine officers are essentially demotivated in a way that undermines performance and productivity.

The administrative leadership has been insensitive to this anomaly for far too long as many of those in that strategic policy making cadre are beneficiaries of the wanton politicization of service.

The second reason for the tenure policy has to do with urgent need to address the need for the institutionalization of performance management and accountability in the civil service. The Nigerian public service operates the traditional “I-am-directed” Weberian administrative system which most states across the globe have jettisoned for healthier and most efficient managerial alternatives. Since the 1974 Udoji reform commission, Nigeria has been struggling with instituting a performance management system backstopped by a mix of project management practices, professionalized HR function and meritocratic procedures as the basis for administrative leadership pipelining and career progression. The tenure policy was meant to be Nigeria’s acceptance of Peter Drucker’s axiomatic rule that what is not measured cannot be managed.

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One plausible reason for the reversal of the government’s stance on the tenure policy is most definitely the national fiscal crisis occasioned by the increasing cost of governance burden. This is due to the multiplicity of redundancies that permeate both the state and federal civil services, as well as the overloading of the workforce that allows so many people to be doing so little. And from the press release, the HCSF is also obviously worried about the state of capacity readiness of the service to deliver on significant mandate, especially that of service delivery to Nigerians. For her, what obtains now is not commensurate with what is expected. And something needed to be done. Of course, I am one of those who can truly appreciate the unenviable position of the HCSF. She supervises a system that has all the potential to become a world class institution. However, and on a positive note, this reversal provides the system with the opportunity to make the first most significant move in tackling the cost of governance problematic that will set the service on the path of instituting performance management metrics.

Thus, reversing the tenure policy comes with some fundamental reform moves we must assume the federal government is ready to make or has already initiated. One recurring question that must underlie the government’s willingness to step into the breach of the reform effort is: Can civil service by itself possibly deliver on the needed reforms to engineer the deep-seated systemic shifts to sustainably achieve efficient service delivery? An affirmative answer is precluded by the bureaucratic culture of any public service across the world. Britain’s response to that question, through PM Margaret Thatcher, was the enlisting of the leadership of the Chairman and CEO of Marks and Spencer, Lord Derek George Rayner, Baron Rayner. One fundamental first step for Nigeria in resolving that question is the need to empower one or a set of central agencies—Ministry of National Planning, Office of the Secretary to the Government of Nigeria (OSGF), Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF), Bureau of Public Service Reform (BPSR), or any other—that will be saddled with the task of providing technical expertise and back-up on behalf of the Presidency.

And the objective for these central agencies will be to get, first, the ministers and their permanent secretaries sign on to a performance agreement or performance contract determined by a carefully negotiated key performance indicators linked to the SERVICOM-type social compact and service charter signed with stakeholders. This will then cascade down to the MDAs that must themselves sign up to ministerial scorecards of performance. This makes it mandatory, as a matter of course, for the MDAs to articulate their sector strategies activated by an annual business planning process and performance budgeting matrix. In other words, backend managerial software such as activity-based costed budgets and accrual accounting have already revised the known incremental line-item budgeting and accounting reporting format that the MDAs can work with.

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The challenge facng the agencies monitoring the reforms, however, would be the need to guard against a purely technicist understanding of reform which suggest, falsely, that the public service can be insulated against larger governance reengineering that frees up the service delivery spaces across the whole national economy. A very instructive case is that of post-World War II Japan. Japan first understood that the government by itself cannot facilitate economic recovery.

Japan’s strategy of capacitation was three-pronged: strict regulation bordering on protectionism, trade expansion and the stimulation of private sector growth. For instance, Japan deployed the Keiretsu principle that brought the organized private sector—manufacturers, suppliers, bankers, industries and so on—around a unique dynamic of economic cooperation, further strengthened by the introduction of experts with deep understanding of the relationship between economic growth, development, productivity and performance.

Next on line, I see the urgent need for the remodeling of a new framework of OHCSF-FCSC-MDAs engagement and partnership that aligns with emerging performance management model that Nigeria is installing. This is important because the reform of the public service is anchored also on a reformed HR function that connects performance to productivity. And the responsibility will be to first recognize and deal with the generalist template of the traditional HR function that underlies the old personnel administration system that stands diametrically opposed to the new and emerging performance managerial culture.

With the latter system, the Nigerian public service can activate a decentralised HR function that involves line managers more in the recruitment, performance assessment and capacity development of their staff. As an irreducible minimum, this makes it possible to tap into a meritocratic dynamic that not only addresses and manages diversity through the federal character policy, but also encourages career progression. This meritocracy can only be achieved through a re-professionalization process which brings the public servants back in tune with both the essence of her profession as well as capacitating her with competences and skills suitable for managing a twenty-first century public service.

When all is said and done, the reversal of the tenure policy by the federal government puts Nigeria once again at the threshold of a possible transformation of her public service system. This transformation has been long overdue, especially since 1974 when the Udoji Commission provided the first significant opportunity for tapping into the managerial revolution. We missed that great opportunity then. It is my fervent hope that we can carry this moment forward.

.Olaopa is a retired Federal Permanent Secretary , and Professor of public administration, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos .


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Abiodun Seeks US Partnership In Developing Critical Sectors



Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun

The Ogun State government has solicited for partnership with the United States of America in developing the critical sectors of the State’s economy.

The State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun who stated this when he received the American Consul General to Nigeria, Mr. Will Stevens, who led a 5-man delegation on a courtesy call in his office at Oke-Mosan Abeokuta on Wednesday, noted that the State considers the United States as a progressive partner in the areas of economy, good governance, security, climate change and human capital development around the world.

Governor Abiodun posited that the State apart from the sophistication of its people and their cognitive political culture, is unanimously and popularly adjudged as the New Jersey of Nigeria and the leading industrial hub in the West Africa Sub-region, hence the need to tap from the American experience to further its developmental stride.

The governor said his administration at inception in 2019, assembled a team made up of highly resourceful technocrats and cerebral policy architects and conceptualized a transformational philosophy coined ISEYA, which is an acronym for Infrastructural Development, Social Welfare and Well-being, Education and Human Capital Development, Youth Empowerment and lastly, Agriculture and Food Security.

He said: “Through this concept, we have strategically transformed the state with modern infrastructure, deliberate policy steps to attract businesses and moving the economy from being federal allocation-focused to becoming the state with the third largest Internally Generated Revenue in the country.

“The State’s strategic location as the primary gateway to Lagos State – the largest market with the busiest ports in Nigeria has contributed to its status as the Industrial Hub of Nigeria.

“Our State is home to one of the largest industrial zones in Sub-Saharan Africa, which includes the 8,000 hectares OPIC-owned Agbara Industrial Estate, which accommodates the Federal Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone (OGFTZ), with forty-four (44) operational companies, factory tenants from across the world, with over 6,000 Nigerian employees and an estimated 100,000 metric tons of freight moving in and out daily.”

Prince Abiodun noted that in its quest to make Ogun State the first destination for investors in Nigeria, his administration is currently constructing an Agro Cargo International Airport at Iperu-Ilishan road in Ikenne Local Government Area of the State, adding that the project is strategically designed to create the needed infrastructure to boost the exportation of agricultural and non-agricultural goods.

“By its structure and business plan, the Cargo Airport remains a game-changer in our import and export promotion efforts, as it was specifically constructed to be an aerotropolis (Airport City) equipped with components such as a special agro-processing zone to process raw agricultural materials for exports, an international testing centre to certify that agro-produce complies with international standards before it is exported, and facility for passenger operations as well as facilities to receive parcels coming into Nigeria that are to be redistributed to other parts of the country.

“In addition to that, it is an important component of Ogun State’s transportation master plan expected not only to connect rail, road and water transportation but also to decongest the Lagos Airport,” the governor added.

Governor Abiodun appreciated the American government for her firm stance on democratic governance, specifically on the sanctity of the electoral process as well as supporting different reforms in the electoral process and taking an uncompromising position on electoral offenders.

In an interview after a closed-door meeting with the governor, the Consul General said their discussions centred on security and health.

He noted that health remains the number one investment in Nigeria as the US government is in the health sector to help Nigeria to reach the 95 95 95 goals of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country.

“It is my job to promote US trade and investment here in certain parts of Nigeria. I had a great conversation with the governor about the incredible investment the US companies are already making in the state as well as opportunities for more increased US trade and investment.

“We also talked about the tax sector, I think there are incredible opportunities right now to find jobs and opportunities for Nigerian youths to participate in the tax sector.

“We’ve seen the explosion of growth and investment in that sector throughout Nigeria, particularly in the South West,” the Consul General added.

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Toyin Falola And The October Harvest



Prof. Ezekiel Oladele Adeoti .Photo by ‘Gbile Oshadipe (2023) ©

By Ezekiel Oladele Adeoti

In the annals of academic and societal change, few luminaries shine as brightly as Professor Toyin Falola. As autumn leaves drifted in October, the literary world was astir from the changing seasons and the relentless enthusiasm of a septuagenarian scholar making waves across lecture halls and public platforms. In many cultures and traditions, October is a month of harvest – a time to reap the fruits of labour sown in prior months. Fittingly, for Professor Falola, this October truly lived up to that essence, bearing witness to an intellectual harvest that few could parallel.

Prof. Toyin Falola at the second  Distinguished Lecture Series of the Department of History & International Studies, Lagos State University, Ojo-Lagos, Nigeria on August 10, 2022. Photo by “Gbile Oshadipe (2022) ©

In many ways, the achievements of this month were a microcosm of Falola’s broader career: a testament to the confluence of hard work, passion, and a deep-seated commitment to societal advancement.

Within 31 days, Falola graced the podium for 3 public lectures, imparted wisdom in 2 university lectures, and was the beacon of 3 convocation lectures. Each of these engagements wasn’t just about sharing knowledge; they were conduits for sparking change, challenging established norms, and inspiring the next generation. However, to truly grasp the magnitude of Falola’s October endeavours, one must delve deeper into the essence of the man himself. At an age when many of his peers are retreating into the tranquillity of retirement, Falola’s spirit remains undiminished, if not encouraged. It’s not just the number of lectures or the honorary doctorates he received – which, in and of itself, is a remarkable feat – but the zeal with which he approaches each endeavour. His lectures, for instance, are not mere recitations of historical facts or academic theories. They are vibrant tapestries woven with threads of history, contemporary societal issues, and a vision for a brighter future. They challenge, they provoke, and most importantly, they inspire. But what drives a man of over 70 years to such relentless pursuit? To find the answer, one need not look further than his past works and the themes that permeate them. For Falola, academia isn’t a secluded ivory tower but a platform to engage with the real world. His research, extensive and varied as it is, always circles back to the core of societal problems. From the intricacies of Yoruba history to the broader strokes of African colonial and post-colonial narratives, Falola’s work sheds light on the issues that matter. These are issues that, in many ways, continue to shape societies today.

In this context, October wasn’t just another month in the calendar but a manifestation of Falola’s lifelong commitment to societal change. A promise that has seen him transcend the traditional confines of academia to engage with the broader public. His public lectures resonate with many audiences, often interspersed with anecdotes, real-life examples, and a touch of humour. From the eager university student to the curious layman, Falola’s words strike a chord, reminding everyone of the transformative power of knowledge and its role in sculpting a better future. In delving deeper into the man behind the October Harvest, one quickly realizes that Professor Falola’s achievements are not a product of overnight success but the culmination of decades of unwavering dedication. It’s a journey that’s seen him navigate the tumultuous waters of academia, societal challenges, and personal hurdles, emerging each time with a renewed sense of purpose. More than anything, this tenacity has been the cornerstone of his October endeavours and his broader career. One might wonder, what is the essence of these lectures and engagements? Why do they matter? The answer lies in the content and context of each meeting. Take, for instance, one of his public lectures from October. While the topic might have revolved around historical narratives, Falola deftly intertwined it with contemporary issues, drawing parallels and highlighting lessons. His ability to bridge the past with the present, to draw lessons from history and apply them to current challenges, is what sets him apart. In doing so, he educates and empowers his audience to view issues through a multifaceted lens, promoting critical thinking and proactive engagement.

Moreover, the venues of these lectures—from universities to public platforms—underscore his commitment to inclusive education. Universities, the traditional bastions of knowledge, are just one part of the equation for Falola. By stepping out and engaging with the broader public, he’s democratizing knowledge, making it accessible to all, irrespective of their academic or socio-economic backgrounds. It’s a move that challenges the status quo, emphasizing that learning shouldn’t be confined to ivory towers but should permeate every stratum of society. However, it’s not just the lectures that stood out in October. The two honorary doctorates he received are symbolic of his contributions to academia and society at large. Such accolades, while celebratory, are also reflective. They compel us to examine the body of work that merits such recognition. For Falola, it’s a vast tapestry of research, publications, mentorship, and public engagement. Each strand, be it a book, an article, or a lecture, is imbued with a purpose: to enlighten, challenge, and change. Yet, amidst all the accolades and achievements, what’s truly remarkable is Falola’s humility. Interact with him, and you’re not met with the airs of a celebrated academician but the warmth of a mentor, the curiosity of a lifelong learner, and the passion of a societal changemaker. This unique blend of excellence and humility makes his October Harvest not just an academic feat but a life lesson for many. It serves as a poignant reminder that success isn’t just about personal milestones but about the impact one leaves on society and the legacy one creates for future generations.

Reflecting on the October Harvest and the man at its epicentre, we must contextualize Professor Falola’s achievements within a broader societal framework. At a time when the world grapples with myriad challenges – from socio-political upheavals to environmental crises – the role of intellectuals and academicians becomes ever more crucial. And Falola, with his October engagements and lifelong commitment, epitomizes the potential of scholarly intervention in driving societal change. But why is this important? In an era dominated by bite-sized information and fleeting trends, the depth and breadth of academic research provide a counterbalance. Falola’s lectures, rich in historical context and analytical depth, offer a respite from the cacophony of superficial narratives. They remind us of the importance of understanding the past to navigate the present and shape the future. Every lecture and engagement is a clarion call for introspection, urging society to delve deeper, question more, and strive for a holistic understanding. This is not to say that academia is the sole bastion of truth or the only path to societal change. But scholars like Falola, who bridge the gap between the academic and public spheres, play a pivotal role in grounding discussions in research, evidence, and historical context. They serve as beacons, illuminating the path forward with the torch of knowledge.

Furthermore, Falola’s October engagements underscore the timeless essence of commitment and passion. His journey is a testament to perseverance, dedication, and lifelong learning in a world that often prioritizes instant gratification. It’s a narrative that resonates beyond the confines of academia, inspiring professionals, creatives, and changemakers across various fields. The underlying message? Age is but a number; passion and commitment are timeless. As we draw the curtains on the October Harvest, carrying forward the lessons it offers is essential. It’s a month that celebrates Professor Falola’s achievements, the ethos of scholarly engagement, and its potential impact on society. It’s a call to action for scholars, students, and the general public to engage, question, learn, and drive change.

In conclusion, Professor Toyin Falola’s October Harvest is more than a chronicle of a month’s achievements. It’s a celebration of a lifetime of dedication, a tribute to the transformative power of knowledge, and a reminder of the potential each one of us holds. As the leaves of October give way to the chill of November, the echoes of Falola’s lectures, the wisdom of his words, and the passion of his commitment continue to inspire, urging us all to sow the seeds of change, knowledge, and progress. For in every seed lies the promise of a harvest, and in every effort, the potential for impact.

Prof. Adeoti wrote from  the Department of History & International Studies at the Faculty of Arts, Lagos State University, Ojo-Lagos, Nigeria.


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Keep Witchcraft Accusations Out Of Politics In Sychelles



Witch Burning, Impunity And Abuses Linked to Witchcraft Beliefs In Benue State
Dr. Leo Igwe

By Leo Igwe

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches urges the government of Sychelles to keep charges linked to witchcraft beliefs out of politics in the country because they make no legal and political sense. This call became necessary following a report that the country’s main opposition leader, Peter Herminie has been charged with witchcraft. Charged with witchcraft in this 21st century? He was accused along with seven other persons including a Tanzanian. According to the report, Herminie and other persons have been charged with “possessing items intended for use in witchcraft, conspiracy to perform witchcraft and procuring services related to witchcraft”. It was stated that the name of this key politician was allegedly mentioned in a whatsapp message between a local and the person from Tanzania, who was arrested at the main international airport on September 21, 2023. The report says that “Items related to witchcraft, including stones, black wooden artefacts, small bottles of brownish liquid, a collection of powders, and documents with strange language and “demonic and satanic” symbols” were found in the possession of this Tanzanian.

State prosecutors are of the notion that the documents might be some vandalised materials from the local churches. Mr. Herminie has denied the charges, and dismissed the allegation that items linked to witchcraft including bones, body parts, and objects associated with Christianity” were found in his office or in his possession.

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches is asking the government of Sychelles to drop these charges, because they are absurd and constitute a show of shame and embarrassment. The prosecution of Herminie and other co-accused is witch hunting in both literal and political sense. And witch hunting should has no place in 21st century politics in Sychelles.

Otherwise, how does the government define witchcraft or witchcraft items? How does the government distinguish witchcraft items, whatever that means, from traditional religious objects? How did the prosecutors know that the said items were intended for use in witchcraft? Are stones, black wooden artefacts, and small bottles of brownish liquid witchcraft materials? I mean how will state prosecutors establish that some symbols are demonic and satanic?

Has the government the facility or expertise to prove beyond reasonable doubt what is witchcraft and what is not witchcraft, what is demonic or satanic and what is not? How will the government prosecute this case without flagrantly violating the right of its citizens to freedom of religion or belief? At a time of growing cases of witch persecution in many parts of Africa, the government of Sychelles should discontinue this unfortunate and unwarranted instance of witch hunting.


Dr.Igwe directs the Advocacy for Alleged Witches.

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