By Prisca Sam-Duru
It was a gathering of retirees, families, friends and colleagues that graced the occasion of the presentation of chief Ebunoluwa Omoyele’s book, titled, “The Civil Service In Nigeria : Evolution And Challenges”, held last week at the National Institute of International Affairs, Lagos.
The book which is from all indications, written in defense of the Nigerian Civil Service by Omoyele who retired from active service in 1984, traces origin of the Commission to the time of colonization by the British in the 19th century and also discloses the major purpose of the establishment of the service which the author noted was to assist the colonizers in the maintenance of law and order in areas being colonized.
The book is loaded with a lot of information on the establishment of the Civil Service and the metamorphosis it underwent under different military regimes. Among the issues raised and discussed in the memoir, Omoyele a London School of Economics and Political Science trained economist who joined the Federal Ministry of Finance in 1959 and served in several capacities, narrates a most heart rendering tale of events surrounding the mass retirement of civil servants in 1975.
Speaking during the book presentation, B. A Ehizenleun who was chairman of the occasion described the author as an impartial silent observer of most of the events that took place in the service within the scope the book covers and therefore, more than qualified to author the book.
Ehizenleun who lauded the author for the areas he dealt on, noted that there was need to showcase efforts made by the civil servants at developing the nation adding that, “major publications in the country have been based on issues surrounding bribery and corruption and it is unfortunate that civil servants are usually accused of stealing public funds, this is damaging to the image of the civil servants whose major interest is to serve”, He stated.
He condemned the manner in which civil servants were compulsorily retired in 1975 for opposing polices that were against the development of the workers and the nation, stressing that the result was that ,“people avoided taking up jobs in the service because, being known as a civil servant was synonymous with being abused. Not only military juntas committed sacrilege against civil servants but also civilian governments except that the errors of the civilian governments were fewer and far between”.
He however encouraged Nigerians who are still in the service to have courage, wisdom and passion to carry out their duties earnestly irrespective of the prevailing circumstances.
Reviewing the book Prof. Anthony Oladoyin of the Obafemi Awolowo University described the book as a valuable document for students and civil servants because of its richness in history and data which cover important events from pre-colonial to contemporary evolution of politics.
Prof Oladoyin while commending Chief Omoyele for penning down such epochal material described the author as a complete gentleman, a dedicated civil servant and bureaucrat whose modesty and humility are to a fault, adding that, “the book is timely and also an exposition of facts that civil servants are nation builders”