The civil service had hitherto been the engine room for the transformative development and growth of what used to be known as the Western Region of Nigeria. The name of the late greatly revered Chief F.O Adebo, for one, has gone out of history, and into legend. He represents the most outstanding of a crop of devoted and dedicated civil servants whose inputs proved to be pivotal in the development of the region. There were of course many other outstanding individuals who walked in his wake.
From our experience in the West, only the best is good enough for our civil servants. It is of course a sad fact that over the years, there has been an erosion of quality. The gradual but noticeable abandonment of the ethos and the traditions of the civil service has been severe and pronounced. The various ill-advised ‘reforms’ have certainly not helped matters. The effect of the wholesale carnage of the middle nineteen-seventies.
However, inspite of the noted debilitations, we still have a fine crop of tested and proven public servants. They should be nurtured and encouraged to return the glories of the past. To achieve this purpose will requires a sensible, well-arranged order of priorities. This should include decent living wages and environment, as well as security of tenure and sustainable pension arrangements to cater for their retirement. On all this fronts, the Oyinlola administration has clearly failed. This cannot, in itself be surprising. The maladministration presided over by the work ethic-challenged Oyinlola, does not have a road-map for anything. The civil service not been an exception.
In lieu of a well-worked out scheme to cater for the hardly praised civil servants, Oyinlola and his collaborators have as usual, put together a bizarre input to gain short term advantage and headline publicity. This, of course, cannot replace common sense. In the absence of a sensibly worked out remuneration package, Oyinlola has decided to hand-out a Greek gift to the workers. This is in the form of loan facilities to enable some of the civil servants to obtain cars made in China.
This is rather thoughtlessness. It is an established fact that Osun State civil servants and teachers are the least – paid government workers in the South West axis of the country. It is therefore beggars’ belief that the government is not addressing the more pressing issue of a living wage first, before going on a jamboree to pile up more debt around the neck of the hapless workers who have a woefully inadequate living wage. With a salary structure perennially eroded by inflation, how on earth are they going to maintain the vehicle as well as repay the loan. It is of course inconceivable that the government will maintain the vehicles.
There is of course, as usual, a hidden sinister motive. The main thrust is clearly an attempt by the government to use the greek gift to silence dissent and busy workers, or some of them, at least. If the government could for once put on its thinking cap, that a living inflation and adjusted wage should come before gifts, an empowered worker will then be able to make a choice as to how to spend his income. There are as of now, quite a lot of well – ordered asset financial schemes that could be put into play for a well remunerated civil service. Common sense alone dictates that the new scheme is a trap, which should be resisted.
In the light of all these, it is pertinent to point out that a planless, lackadaisical formation such as the Oyinlola government, cannot put together any sensible scheme. In contradistinction, the symbol of good government for Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola has been consistent in shooting the way. For example, in a recent interview in The Nation newspaper, Aregbesola was emphatic that he will raise Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to N700 million a month as a starting point. This of course will allow the state to have the resources to reorder its priorities. Such prioritization will, of course, favour the welfare of the civil service. This will, of course, be just one of many inputs to return the state to sensible governance. Osun State workers, like everywhere else, should continue to pray that the appeal court does the right thing.