Nigerian civil servants have joined the change wagon of President Muhammud Buhari’s administration, writes correspondent Simplicius Ubah
Since the inauguration of the present government under President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2015, it appears governance in the country is at standstill; hence some Nigerians have described Mr President as Baba-go-slow.
But with the recent appointment of ministers and their resumption of work, activities are in top gear in almost all the federal ministries, parastatals and agencies. The workers are reportedly jostling to meet up with the various mandates handed their ministers by Mr. President, a situation which portrays the government officials as working harder more than before.
Investigation conducted by the Nigerian Pilot Sunday at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, and some ministries and agencies, showed that even when ministers were not appointed, normal work and government activities were ongoing. This is against the general perception that work halted prior to the appointment of the political heads which are the ministers.
According to our checks and as corroborated by those who spoke to this paper, they maintained that the attitude of civil servants has really changed in line with the change agenda of the present administration. They said it is not business as usual, as when some workers would resume work any time they like and close before the official closing time.
Olawole Sadiq, a civil servant who spoke to this paper, said things have totally changed, anybody who refuse to do the right time or come to office at his/her time must answer query.
“For me, change has really come, no more lateness or absenting yourself anyhow, you have to be in your office as early as possible. File must not stay in your office more than 24hours, once a file comes in, treat it and pass it on without wasting time.”
But when asked about some workers who reside in the outskirts of the city centre, like Mararaba, Masaka and Suleja, close to the FCT, and coupled with the traffic jam experienced in those areas, he said “for those that are in far distance areas, you have to leave your house early in order to be in your office by 8am, because we have a register and once they rule off the register, you have to answer a query. You must answer why you came late to office. You must come before 8am and stay in your office till 4pm which is the official time for closing, unless for those who are doing over-time.”
Another worker, who does not want her name in print, stated that she cannot say exactly how things were done during the past administrations but what she knows is that only the name of Buhari has injected fear in some civil servants and they have no option than to do the right thing or face the consequences.
Even those who are not civil servants but have business with the ministries told this paper that workers now attend to the public politely and in a friendly manner.
A contractor, who just gave his name as Prince Nwankwerwe, usually comes to the Federal Secretariat to do business with workers and had this to say about the attitude of civil servants “I am a contractor, I come to do business with civil servants, what I have observed since Buhari came is that most of the civil servants are usually on their desk now, unlike before.”
He confessed that they have really changed and are ready to serve the citizens of Nigeria as they are always in their various offices to attend to the request of people.
“Some of us, who are contractors, will look for them in their offices for them to follow up your payments or for submission of your file, you will not see them. But since Buhari came into power, most of them are usually at their desk. If what you are looking for is not ready at the moment, they will talk to you politely; they are friendlier now and more civil, they are doing their job now than what it used to be before.”
In a chat with a staff of Ecological fund office, located inside the federal secretariat, Mr. John Anayo, he stated that he and his colleagues come to work, do the normal work and go. He maintained that the appointment of ministers did not make any change in the way they were discharging their duties.
Mr. Anayo added that those that will have more work are those working under ministries.
“I normally come here five working days in a week before 8.am and leave around 5pm or 6pm, even when Mr. President had not appointed ministers; the story is still the same.”
However, a visit to the various ministries showed a different story as workers explained that they have more loads of work because many activities have commenced.
At the ministry of transport, this paper observed that the workers there were busier now that the minister, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, had resumed office. This, according to a source, was because a lot of agencies and organisations were paying courtesy visits to brief the minister and these visits had created much work for those at the press department.
“As you know, the minister called for briefings and some organisations both within and outside the country are coming here to see him. Before the appointment of the hournorable minister, things were not like this, although we were working, but not as busy as we are now, so I want my colleagues to tighten their belts as much is expected from all of us,” a worker from the ministry explained.
However, when the acting head of service of the federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita paid a spontaneous visit to some federal ministries like the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology recently, she commended the Permanent Secretary, directors and staff of the ministry for being in their various offices as early as 8:10 am. She noted that she was at the ministry to see how well the staff have aligned themselves with the change mantra of the present administration.
Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, then charged all the federal civil servants in the country to key into the present administration’s change agenda by ensuring that they report to work early. She said civil servants must be seen to function as agents of change by ensuring that they render efficient and effective services to Nigerians in order to accelerate economic growth and development in the country.
No doubt, her visit has started yielding good fruits in the attitude of Nigerian civil servant as they have joined the change wagon of President Muhammadu Buhari by reporting to office on time and doing what is required of them.