The Effect Of Federal Character Principle On The Sustenance Of Civil Service Ethos In Nigeria

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Project and Seminar material for Public Administration


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background To The Study

Pluralistic and sharply divided societies all over the world attempt to manage their diversities, divisive and different tendencies through one or combination of policy alternatives in the organization and management of their public services for performance; and Nigeria is not an exception (Owoyemi and Sheehan, 2011). Often times, these policy alternatives turn out to be delicate arrangements; but when carefully conceived, crafted and practiced, it provides opportunity for centre-seeking and centre-fleeing forces to interact peacefully and co-habit on agreed terms. One of such policy alternatives adopted for the management of the public service in Nigeria for even representation is the Federal Character Principle, which “was borne out of the need to ensure even spread of government appointments in all the regions, states and local government councils in the country” (Nzeshi, 2012).

Nigeria is a federal state comprising 36 states structure with a population of more than 170 million people, there are more than 250 ethnic groups, which necessitated an arrangement that could accommodate people from the different segments of the country in the public bureaucracy (Gberevbie, 2012). The notion of federal character presupposes the existence of a federal society. However, as a federal state, Nigeria was confronted with the challenges of how to imbibe the principle of federalism in practice. Moreover, the quota system was introduced into the Nigerian public service in 1958 by which the government “to ensure equitable representation of the various groups in the country” (Tonwe and Oghator, 2009). To further consolidate on the gains of the quota system, the Federal Military Government of Generals Murtala Mohammed and Olusegun Obasanjo in the drafting and approval of the 1979 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria during the transition to civilian rule (1976-79) introduced into the Nigerian political and administrative landscape the principle of federal character (Ugoh and Ukpere, 2012).

Federal character principle sought to give opportunities in education and employment, usually at the point of entry, to disadvantaged groups and areas to enable them compete and catch up with more advanced areas and sectors of the nation (Fajana, Owoyemi, Elegbede and Gbajumo- Sheriff, 2011). Hence, this study will investigate the effect of Federal Character Principle and The Sustenance of Civil Service Ethos in Nigeria with a special reference to the Federal Ministry of Environment.


1.2 Statement Of The Problem:

The civil service is expected to be productive, progressive and enterprising; hence the need to employ well educated, skilled and experienced people. However, political factors in the Federal Civil Service in Nigeria with the administrative ethos of merit and political doctrine of federal character as a recruitment policy that is not necessarily directed towards better service delivery of the civil service, has negatively affected the employee performance in the civil service.

Moreso, it is instructive to note that ethnic, regional, and religious cleavages in Nigerian society are made more problematic by systematic and overlapping patterns of inequalities that correspond to the cleavages. These inequalities are caused by a complex range of factors, including history, geography, cultural orientation, religious affiliation, natural resource endowments, current government policies, and past colonial policies (Okolo, 2014).

By this economic inequalities are another feature of Nigerian national life. Starting from the colonial period, there has been a structurally embedded pattern of educational inequalities which persist to this day (Fajana and et al., 2011).

Kwanashie (2002) put that Fear has been constant in every tension and confrontation in political Nigeria. Not the physical fear of violence, not the spiritual fear of retribution, but the psychological fear of discrimination, of domination. He further submit that it is the fear of not getting one’s fair share, one’s dessert. In light of all these, section 14, Sub-section 3, of the 1979 Constitution of Nigeria stated that, ‘the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that government or in any of its agencies’. It is against this backdrop that this research seeks to investigate the nexus between Federal Character Principle and the Sustenance of Civil Service Ethos in Nigeria with a reference to the Federal Ministry of Environment (Kwanashie, 2002; 6774).


1.3 Objectives Of The Study:

The major objective of this study is to examine the effect of Federal Character on the Sustenance of Civil Service Ethos in Nigeria.

While other specific objectives are:

  1. To examine the effects of federal character on sustenance of civil service ethos in Nigeria.
  2. To determine the influence of federal character principle on service delivery of the civil service.
  3. To assess the roles of federal character principle on national integration.
  4. To identify the challenges confronting the implementation of federal character principle in the country.

1.4 Research Questions:

This research work shall be guided by the following research questions:

  1. Is there any significant relationship between the federal character principle and sustenance of civil service ethos in Nigeria?
  2. What are the impacts of federal character principle on service delivery of the civil service?
  3. What are the roles of federal character principle in ensuring national integration?
  4. How can the current problems and challenges confronting the implementation of federal character principle in the country be identified?

1.5 Research Hypotheses:

The under mentioned hypotheses will be tested in the course of the research study;

  1. There is no significant relationship between federal character principle and sustenance of civil service ethos in Nigeria.
  2. There is no significant relationship between federal character principle and service delivery of the civil service.
  3. Recruitment in the Nigerian Federal Environment Ministry is not based on the federal character principle.
  4. Federal character principle does not promote national unity in the country.

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