Home Features LACK OF MERIT AND IMPOSED CONSTITUTION SLOW DOWN NIGERIA”S DEVELOPMENT

LACK OF MERIT AND IMPOSED CONSTITUTION SLOW DOWN NIGERIA”S DEVELOPMENT

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By AdamuFika  Dr. M. AdamuFika, WazirinFika, CFR and former Secretary to the Federal Military Government of Nigeria delivered a thought provoking lecture at theMallam AdamuFika, former SGF and Head of Civil Service delivered a thought provoking lecture at the Barewa Old Boys’ Association annual lecture on 22nd October 2011. Dr. Fika,in the lecture titled ‘Going Back to Basics:The Past as Prologue’ raised several fundamental issues that are militating against the development of Nigeria. These include: ‘’The unfortunate disrespect for the past and what it represented; and the disdain for the memory of the great personalities who led our country were the result of a series of disastrous events, beginning with the dumping of the people’s Constitution in 1979; discarding of the merit based system in the Public Service, and the abrogation of what he referred to as the People’s Constitution by the military. This valuable piece is indeed an eye opening. Please relax and enjoy AdamuFika’s very penetrating analysis. DISCARDING THE MERIT BASED SYSTEM OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE The next casualty of the aversion to any policy establishment by our Founding Fathers was the merit based system of Public Service was also discarded at the end of March 1988. It was replaced by the obnoxious patronage-spoils system. The fundamental objective of a merit-based public service is to insulate it from political interference and influence so that appointments and promotions are based on merit and on merit alone. It should have come as no surprise that a constitution that did not derive its strength and legitimacy from the will of the people would sooner be subverted than be obeyed; and the institutions that derived their own power from it were worse affected, with the public service most adversely so. The basic principles of the service were inherited at independence in a fully-fledged merit system as agreed to by our leaders during the constitutional conferences but this was discarded in favour of the patronage – spoils system. The question of control of appointment, promotion and discipline of public service arose during the August 53 session of the Constitutional Conference when one of the NCNC delegate wanted such to be controlled by the politicians. To this, the presiding British Minister, himself a politician strongly advised the Nigerian leaders to adopt the British system of merit based public service. He pointed out that “the principles of the British system, which has stood the best…

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