Okaba…Threatens to disrupt exercise

 By Chris Ochayi

A non-governmental organisation, CSO, New Era for Sustainable Leadership and Accountability Initiative, NESLAI, has appealed to the Federal Government to drop the idea of putting a Director in the civil service through a written and ICT examination as prerequisite for appointment as Permanent Secretaries into Federal ministries.

The CSO, which made the appeal while speaking with journalists by its Executive Director, Comrade Edwin Olorunfemi in Abuja, advised the government to call off the written and ICT examination slated for Directors on Monday 31st May and Thursday 3rd June 2021.

The group, however, threatened to mobilise its members and allies to disrupt the exercise should the Federal Government decides to go ahead with what it described unprofitable venture.

The NESLAI further advised that, “The written examination and ICT Proficiency test of 31st May and 3rd June be collapsed into oral interview and interactive session for the 47 successful accredited candidates from the five (5) States of Ekiti, Enugu, Katsina, Lagos and Nasarawa, where candidates will be asked on-the-job questions and their achievement so far in their respective positions as Directors.

“With this, the best three (3) candidates from each State can be recommended to the Mr President for the appointment.”

The CSO noted, “We want to commend the Head of Service of the Federation Dr Folashade-Esanfor the selection of a noble committee chaired by Dr Ajani Magdalene Nwanwuche the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Co-chaired by Malam Mahmuda Mamman the Permanent Secretary of the Career Management Office in the Office of the Head of Service for the accreditation exercise which we observed was excellent.

“However, our stand still remains that written and ICT examination slated for Monday 31st May and Thursday 3rd June, 2021 respectively be dropped because, it is worthy of note that, for a civil servant to rise to the level of Director, he/she must have sat for about 10 examinations from Grade level 08 to Grade level 17.

“What is laughable is subjecting a Director to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) proficiency test in Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point Application which is expected of the support staff. If anything, it is making a mess of the candidates and the entire civil service.

“On this backdrop, we are appealing to the Federal government to drop the idea of written and ICT examination as it is tantamount to waste of time and resources; however, we requested the government to appraise and appoint Permanent Secretary on their past contributions as Directors to national development.

“Contrary to NESLAI’s core theme and belief of sustainable leadership which is built on principles of Leave No One Behind and quality engagement (inclusive governance), the Federal government turned a deaf ear to our observations and suggestion on this matter.

“It is continuing its planned process without engaging with the Initiative and other well-meaning organisations that shared the same view with us. We find this disposition by the Federal government and the OHCSF regressive to sustainable development of Nigeria.

“As a matter of emphasis, our observation and suggestion were not based on mere rhetoric but on genuine convictions as proven by facts that the planned assessment examination is nothing but the waste of time and resources that maintain the status quo of bad leadership in our public service.

“Experience and competence are values in public service that remain the most viable vehicles to quality leadership and not an elementary computer skills assessment as planned by the OHCSF.

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“The position of a Permanent Secretary is not a support staff position where the need for basic knowledge of computer applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint are required. These skills are not useful and relevant to effective performance of permanent secretaries because their support staff are responsible to ensuring organisation of their activities and work schedules.

“Therefore, it is absurd that Nigeria that is plagued with dwindling resources overtime and has suffered bad leadership for decades to continue investing in irrelevant and unproductive activities like the planned assessment examination for permanent secretaries.

“More so, besides Federal ministries, other heads of departments and agencies of the Federal government are not subjected to any examination assessment before they were appointed into their respective public offices.

“Therefore, the performance of any Permanent Secretary is not dependent on the assessment examination rather it depends on individual candidates’ experience, competence and leadership qualities can be determined by the oral interview and interactive session.”

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