Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

Nigeria Civil Service Reforms of 1999-2007: An Analysis of the Controversies

Academic journal article The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online)

Nigeria Civil Service Reforms of 1999-2007: An Analysis of the Controversies

Article excerpt


Civil Service plays a crucial role in modern Nigeria; it is the machinery of government that is concerned with the formulation of policies and delivery of goods and services by and for the government. From May 1999 till May 2007, a lot of reforms were initiated to ameliorate and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the service, and lately ensuring service delivery improvement .Given that the sustainability of any government policy depends largely on the component of its reforms. Thus, Civil Service reforms are a continuous process with no general starting point, and equally no end, and how favourably disposed the public servants are to make it work, depends on its capacity to effectively and efficiently execute policies.

The Government deemed it necessary to introduce reforms that would revitalise the public sector with a view to adequately empower civil servants to sustain the reforms (Ugwu-olo 2007).

Hence, the Nigerian government carried out series of reforms; analysed among these are the Adebo Commission (1971), Udoji Public Service Review Commission of 1974, Dotun Philips Civil Service Reform of 1988, Allison Ayida Committee on Civil Service of 1995 etc. However, the challenges faced by these reforms are the controversies beclouding it. This paper examines the 1999-2007 reform, components of the Civil Service reform, and sets out some of the major controversies undermining reform.

Conceptual Clarification

Civil Service plays a vital role in the formulation, implementation, evaluation, and review of government policies and program which can be defined as a well organised body of permanent paid officials of ministries and departments under the executive arm of government, charged with the responsibility of implementing government policies and programmes in accordance with laid-down rules and procedures. (Anifowose&Enemuo 1999).

Reform is seen by Pollitt and Bouckaert in their comparative analysis of public sector reform as 'deliberate changes to the structures and processes of public sector organizations with the purpose of getting them to run better' (Pollitt & Co. 2011). Also, BPSR, (2007) sees reform as a process of effecting changes in order to make things better; it does not affect all sorts of changes. To qualify as reform, the intervention must be planned and systematic. It must also produce a fundamental change, and attitudinal re-orientation in terms of values and service delivery. The trend is anchored on productivity and service delivery. Government's interest is to ensure productivity and efficiency on the part of workers, and thus, improved condition of service is paramount to reforms.

Controversy means dispute, argument, or debate, especially one concerning a matter about which there is strong disagreement and especially one carried on in public or in the press, and also it can be a prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention, strife, or argument; disputation concerning a matter of opinion..

Analysis of Previous Reforms

The formation of public service in Nigeria dates back to the colonial era, during this period, the colonial government set up the Phillipson-Adebo Commission in 1952 to review the phase of the Nigerianization process. Two years later, the 1954 constitution had declared Nigeria as a federation, thus shifting attention from issues and concerns about Nigerianization to regionalization of the country's civil service (Olowu, Otobo, and Otokoni, 1997).

The Elwood Grading Team of 1996 and the Adebo Commission of 1970 constituted the government's early post-independence initiatives to reform civil service. These commissions were less comprehensive in scope. The Public Service Review Commission of 1974 or the Udoji Commission of 1974, and the Ayida Panel of 1994 differs slightly, they shared similar objectives of creating an accountable, transparent, and responsive civil service.

However "the profile of the Public Service has not changed for the better. …

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