Buhari reads riot act to civil servants …Says govt won’t tolerate incompetence, corruption
By; Sunday Ode, Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday warned that his administration would not tolerate incompetence and acts of sabotage from civil servants.
He gave the warring at the swearing-in ceremony of 16 of the 18 new Permanent Secretaries he appointed on Tuesday. Two of them did not participate in the exercise as they were said to be outside the country.
In particular, the President noted that there had been reports of intolerable level of incompetence and acts of sabotage as well as poor level of cooperation with Ministers in the past by civil servants, which had frustrated faithful implementation of government policies and programmes.
Buhari, accordingly, asked the permanent secretaries to disseminate the warning down the line to civil servants that a new Sheriff had come to town and they must do things differently henceforth.
He said: “I must, however, sound a note of warning. It is within public domain that Ministers as Chief Executives of their Ministries as well as other Government officials involved in policy formulation and implementation often complain of the intolerable levels of incompetence, indifference or even suspected sabotage by some of the top echelon of the Civil Service. Even where Permanent Secretaries, in some instances, are exempted from these accusations, they are still responsible and liable for failing to provide the required leadership, control and direction.
“This Administration will not condone any excesses, indifference, incompetence, and corrupt practices in any form. Permanent Secretaries are therefore advised to note these words of caution and disseminate them to all Civil Servants accordingly.”
According to the President, civil servants were reservoir of expertise, experience and loyalty, saying that he therefore considered them as a dependable ally in his quest to change the country for the better.
Promising to give support and encouragement to civil servants to do their work well, President Buhari urged them to key into the ‘change matra’ of his administration.
Accordingly, he called for a partnership between government and the civil servants in order to chart a new course for the country.
“I am sure the Permanent Secretaries and all other Civil Servants appreciate the fact that I have always considered the Civil Service as an indispensable reservoir of experience, expertise and loyalty. I, therefore, consider the Service as a dependable ally in my quest to change this country for the better.
“If Nigeria has to realize its full potentials for greatness, its Civil Service must first understand and accept the “change mantra” of this Administration, and then lead its spread through all the institutions of governance and the economy. This Administration shall give all the necessary support, protection and encouragement to the Civil Service to do its work. I have great faith in the ability and quality of the Nigerian Civil Service to provide stability and the desired change.
“This Administration and the Civil Service can thus develop a constructive partnership in charting a course for the change that Nigerians are looking forward to.”
Buhari further noted that the focus of his administration, which he said was voted into power by popular mandate to implement clearly articulated programmes and policies with a view to re-generating and re-invigorating the national economy, were creation of employment for the youth, fighting corruption, tackling insecurity, and diversifying the economic base with emphasis on agricultural development solid minerals exploitation as well as provision of infrastructural services.
“This, at a time when the nation’s economy and revenue base are very low, will task the capability and capacity of any Government. This is why you have been chosen and you should all regard your appointments as an emergency call to duty,” he said.
He also emphasized that the success or otherwise of the government would largely depend on the competence, ability and capacity of the permanent secretaries to discharge their duties most effectively and efficiently.
He said: “Permanent Secretaries are the Chief Advisers to their respective Ministers and are responsible for safeguarding public funds and ensuring the propriety of expenditures under their control. They are also responsible for coordinating their respective bureaucracies as well as ensuring effective implementation of all approved Government programmes and policies.”
According to the President, the selection process that led to the appointment of the new Permanent Secretaries was a reflection of the
He expressed optimism that the new process would throw up the best among the civil servants to occupy the sensitive position of Permanent Secretaries.
“In keeping with the change mantra of this Administration the process for your selection as Permanent Secretaries was a departure from the previous practice of administering written and oral examinations. Instead, a more rigorous selection process, entailing vigorous screening of candidates’ past records, potential and capacity for holding the office, integrity, honesty and sense of commitment was adopted.
“I believe this new selection technique will have, hopefully brought up to light some of the best, dedicated, patriotic and hardworking Civil Servants to hold this position of trust. It is my hope that your subsequent conduct and performance will not prove this Administration wrong,” Buhari said.