By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – Former Head of Service of the Federation, Ms. Ama Pepple has lashed out against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to uphold the tenets of Service Compact with All Nigerians, ‎SERVICOM.

She said that the programme initiated by former president Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004, ‎meant to address the inefficiency, corruption and truancy in public service had failed.

Ama Pepple

She regretted that despite the change mantra of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and the government, the vices of files missing and were still common place in the service.

Pepple also expressed sadness the service had continued to get knocks, criticisms despite attempt by Obansanjo to elevate its status from inefficiency.

The former HoS spoke at the opening of a two day National Policy Dialogue on Service Delivery themed “Efficient and Effective Service Delivery in Governance: Imperative for Driving the Change Agenda” held at the State House Conference Center Abuja.
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The event was organized by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, OSGF.

Tucked in the Presidency SERVICOM was established to ensure that every Nigerian would get the best public service in terms of service delivery.

‎She said: “SERVICOM‎ is the acronym for Service Compact with all Nigerians. It is a contract between the government of Nigeria led by the public service and its people. It was initiated by former president of Olusegun Obasanjo 2004. He believed that quality of service being delivered to the people was below expectations.

“It is note worthy that any client or customer that enters into a government office or agency expects certain standard of service delivery. It is their right to demand that standard. SERVICOM‎ therefore was meant to enhance service delivery, it was intended to deliver prompt, efficient and effective service to the Nigerian people and others who visit government offices and agencies.

“The SERVICOM‎ Charter was distributed to all government offices. SERVICOM‎ desks were set up, officers of grade level 16 reporting directly to the permanent secretaries were in charge of the unit.

“In the midst of varied and daunting challenges in country and rising expectations from citizenry, the first question we should ask ourselves is this: in spite of all of the above has SERVICOM‎ achieved it’s purpose? Definitely not. The public service continues to get knocks, criticism and to be seen in negative light in its service delivery agenda.

“My conviction is that one government policy that would have redeemed the damage reputation of the public service is SERVICOM‎. But there seems to be no salvation for the service. Files continues to get missing, sometimes piled in one office or the other untreated, indiscipline, corruption and inefficiency looms large throughout the public service.

“This government places a lot of emphasis on change which the dictionary defines as making the form nature content the future or cause something to be different of what it would have been if it was left alone. And they say change is the only permanent thing in life because everything in life evolves, even a child is born and he changes everyday as he grows older.

“The public service is therefore expected to be an agent of change and driver of change and to spearhead the slogan ‘Change Begins With Me’.

“Alan Watts says that the only way to make a change is to plunge into it, move with it and join in the dance. The public service has not done anything of this. We have neither plunged into SERVICOM and the change agenda, we have not moved with it and we have not joined in the dance.

“As a result, SERVICOM‎ and the public service has failed to spearhead the change mantra of the current administration but I hope with what the Head of Service told us today, that a change is coming even in the public service with all that has been put in place to revive SERVICOM‎.

“In addition, I would say that SERVICOM‎ has not really achieved its objectives. What are the impediments to the success of SERVICOM?‎ Can the public service ever deliver prompt, fair, efficient and effective service? What is the way forward for SERVICOM‎ since this government is determine that we should not continue with our old ways?

“We use the expression it is no more business as usual. These are the questions I believe we can find answers to at the end of this forum.”

Also speaking, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal the forum was organized to harness ideas on the best way to service the people right in line with the change agenda of the present government.

Earlier, the Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, in her remarks lauded the programme.

She said that her administration had shown commitment in the repositioning of the civil service.

According to her, the launch of the “Change Begins With Me” campaign and that of the quarterly Civil Service lecture series was a clear indication that the administration of the President Muhammadu Buhari had already begun the needed sanitation programme in the service.

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