CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK
Without the civil servants, Government programmes would not even be worth the paper on which they are written, and momentous Government pronouncements would only amount to so much ‘sound and fury, signifying nothing’. Indeed, a proficient and incorruptible Civil Service is the most valuable asset with which a country can be blessed. It is, therefore, a matter of overriding consequence that it should, as far as possible, be insulated from political bias, contamination, and subversion.
It should be our constant aim and endeavour to create a congenial atmosphere for the rearing .f a breed of civil servants who will feel free at all times to express their expert opinions to their political bosses with courage and candour, and who will also be objective enough to accept and carry out the ruling of their political bosses, even when they regard such a ruling as palpably wrong.
Now, if we are to succeed in rearing a breed of efficient, upright, and objective civil servants, we must see to it that their entry into, and promotion within, the Service are absolutely governed and dominated by sheer merit, and totally free from every taint or semblance of political influence, nationalism, tribalism, and nepotism. These evils, as we all know too well from the painful experiences of civil servants, have proved to be corrosive of morale, perversive of honesty, destructive of self-confidence, self-respect, and initiative, and subversive of self-effort aimed at self-improvement and greater efficiency in one’s chosen profession or vocation. It is to the end of ensuring the efficiency, independence, and incorruptibility of our Civil Service that we have enunciated the principle that entry into, and promotion within, the different classes of the Civil Service should only be by recognized professional qualifications, competitive examinations, and merit. Later on, we shall be making proposals designed to remove the appointment of the members of the Public Service Commission from partisan political interference and manipulation. We think that the body which will be charged with the conduct of Civil Service examinations should, in like manner, be free from political interference and manipulation. Otherwise our objects would be defeated.
We are, therefore, of the considered opinion that there should be provision in the Constitution stipulating that the Body of Examiners for Civil Service Examinations should be set up, every five years, by a Convocation of which five representatives elected by the Examining Body of each of our Universities shall be members. The Convocation will elect its own chairman. There should also be provisions:
(I) that the quinquennial and other meetings of the Convocation shall be convened by the Vice-Chancellor of Ibadan. University or the Chairman of the Public Service Commission; and
(2) imposing severe sanctions on the Examining Body of a University which fails to carry out its duty in this regard, and on any person for failure to attend the meeting of the Convocation or to carry out any
assignment given to him by the Convocation. Hitherto, the services of Boards and Corporations have been the dumping grounds for political favourites who would not have had a ghost of a chance if they had had to pass through the Public Service Commission. As a result, the standard of efficiency and performance in these bodies is, generally speaking, below that of the Civil Service.
In order to close this avenue for the continued perpetration of the evils which we have already noted, and to ensure the same high level of efficiency and performance in all our public services, employees of Boards and Corporations should sit for the same examinations and be subject to the same Public Service Commission as civil servants. Qualifications for eligibility to sit for the competitive examinations should from time to time to be prescribed by the Public Service Commission. But the relevant Organic Law should provide that the eligibility qualifications thus prescribed shall not be lower than the following:
(i) For Administrative Class: a recognized university degree with second-class honours.
(ii) For Executive Class: a recognized university degree or Advanted Level in three subjects or Higher School Certificate; and
(iii) For clerical Class: School Certificate.
(25) As far as possible, provisions should be made in the Constitution concerning the detailed structure of each of the three Organs of the State.
We would like to explain that provisions such as these-are known as Organic Laws and deal among other things,
(i) with the salaries, retiring age, pensions, and other conditions of service of judges and public servants, as well as with the organization of the Courts and the Public Service;
(ii) with the conditions of service of Ministers, their appointment, their functions, and the composition of the Cabinet; and
(iii) with the composition of the Federal Parliament and State Legislatures, and the manner of electing members there-into.
Matters coming under Organic Laws may be legislated upon in one of three ways, or they may be classified under various heads and legislated upon in one or other of the three ways. That is to say laws relating to such matters may be
(i) . incorporated in the Constitution,
(ii) subject to special procedure before passage in the appropriate Legislature, and
(iii) subject to the ordinary procedure for enacting Laws.
CONTINUES NEXT WEEK