Impending Appointment Of New Permanent Secretaries In Nasarawa: Injustice To One Is Injustice To All

Last week, the committee constituted by the Nasarawa state governor Engr Abdullahi Sule to look into appointment of new permanent secretaries in the state civil service headed by Dr Jonah Ogbole submitted its report to the governor at an elaborate ceremony held at Government House, Lafia.

Receiving the report, Governor Sule was quoted as saying among other things, that the civil service in Nasarawa state is presently weak, explaining that the decision to set qualifying examination for directors seeking to become permanent secretaries was in a bid to restructure the civil service to restore it to its past glory.

“What we are trying to do based on my knowledge of administration, is to have some guidance that the people we are selecting have the capacity” the governor further stressed.

On his part, the chairman of the committee, Mr Ogbole described constitution of the committee as revolutionary and the first of its kind since the creation of Nasarawa state.

While we appreciate the concern of Governor Sule on the need to restore past glory of the state civil service, we are indeed, saddened that the governor can go to the extent of describing the entire state civil service as weak simply because some serving permanent secretaries are weak and fall short of executing their mandates or are proving to be incompetent.

When former governor Al-makura assumed office, based on his understanding and appreciation of the need to work with new crop of permanent secretaries, he did not hesitate to drop all the permanent secretaries and appoint new ones to replace them. At that time nobody described what Al-makura did as revolutionary. People viewed what he did as normal changes in the civil service since the governor has the right to ‘hire and fire’; even those that challenged his action in court later realized that they erred.

However, by describing the entire civil service as “weak”, Engr Sule is in effect suggesting that he inherited a weak civil service including all the permanent secretaries and all heads of extra ministerial departments appointed by his predecessor. In view of the fact that all the permanent secretaries/heads of extra-ministerial departments are “weak” as stated by the governor, it then behoves on him (Engr Sule) to relieve them of their appointments and get the ones that he thinks are competent enough to replace them. Anything short of this is akin to what a Hausa man would describe as, “Anyi kitso da kwarkwata”

We in Nasarawa Eye will always frown at a situation of allowing the indicted system to remain in place only to turn around and brag about restoring ‘past glory of the civil service’.

As for the Chairman of the committee, this is a man that served Plateau and Nasarawa states, rising through the ranks to become permanent secretary and secretary to the state government but never found it necessary or essential to advise the government he served on appointment of permanent secretaries only to come around now to say that what Governor Sule did was revolutionary. What a shame.

We in Nasarawa Eye view the entire exercise regarding impending appointments of new permanent secretaries as deficient because the committee besides breaching its own guidelines, went ahead to mete out injustice to some categories of civil servants who are on GL 14 but had their promotions to GL 15/16 pending for years. On breach of guidelines, there are some civil servants who have not met the minimum requirements but were shortlisted and participated actively in the examination and other screening exercises.

On the whole we are appealing to Engr Sule to keep the work of this committee on hold pending verification of all the identified shortcomings/loopholes with a view to ensuring justice and fair play. Injustice to one is injustice to all.

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