I’m seriously conflicted. Under normal circumstances, I’ll focus on the contents of this (now famous) letter because it shows what happen when you ignore quality and merit to hire unqualified people because they are the brothers, sisters, sons, daughter or girlfriend of the rich, the powerful, connected and political elites. You will end up bringing embarrassment and shame to yourself.
But for the sake of our youth I’m more interested in its purpose and implications.
Instead of us discussing that the queried young man has broken the law, and advice our people, especially the youth, that they could lose their jobs by being in the civil service and engaging on partisan politics we are wasting precious time on this atrocious and shameful letter. This gentleman is not supposed to be the secretary of NARTO or NURTW. But we need to look beyond it.
First, let’s read contents of this letter:
Works and Housing of Department
Toro Local Government
You would recall that you were invited before the Senior Management Committee held on 31st May, 2017 at he Local Government Council Chamber, you allerged participated in partisant politics in social media supporting Dogara’s faction. You were fully confessed in hashiness and your even informed the management that you would continue your activities in partisant politics in social media since the handset is belong to you and nobody bought it you and let the Management continue withholding your salary.
2. In view of that therefore, I am directed to write and serve you with a quiry letter to explain withing 48 hours on receint of this letter why disciplinary action should not be taken against you as par Local Government staff regulation chapter v part 1 section 60 sub-section (a) and (9) refers.
FOR: CHAIRMAN CARETAKER COMMITTEE
Notwithstanding the contents of this letter and the terrible image it portrays of the Nigerian system in general and our education in particular, if you are a civil servant, do not openly declare for a politician, political party or engage in partisan politics, even if your appointment was facilitated by a politician. We have rules against that. Avoid wahala, please.
For social and academic purposes, you can run commentary and as Nigerian you can criticize, support or explain policies and actions, but be careful not to cross the line. Otherwise, they will come after you with reasons and relevant parts of our Public Service Rules. All we can do sign petitions on social media on your behalf. And the politicians will still win.
The problem we have is, most of us will not read, inquire or research about what to and what not to as members of an organization. They will not obtain and study any rules or policy manual affecting them. These politicians have people who will read and translate to them what these documents say and will use them against you. You can show preference for people, ideologies, but try not to link it to political party.
It is a tough and complex situation to go through. That is why we must access copies of all relevant documents that affect us and know the implication of our actions. Go back and read contents of your employment and promotion letters, and your acceptance. There is nothing as terrible as a feeling of helplessness; that time you are shown proof that you crossed a line you don’t know existed.
I’m not a lawyer and will not pretend to know the law. I can also not be of much help beyond this write-up. But if you are civil servant or aspiring to be one and you still engage in social and political commentary you need people with legal knowledge to also help you understand all the implications of your actions before (and not after) you screw yourself up. Do that, so you will not fall prey of these ruthless politicians. They will harm you.
For avoidance of doubt, I want our young current civil servants and aspiring civil servants to read this excerpts of Nigeria’s Public Service Rules (2008):
In our Public Service Rules (PSR), Chapter 3, Section 4, Subsection 2, “ENGAGING IN PARTISAN POLITICAL ACTIVITIES” is listed number 7 on a list of 23 SERIOUS ACTS OF MISCONDUCT by civil servants (Ref: PSR 030402g).
See also, the following:
PSR 030421 – (i)
Except in pursuance of his/her official duties, no officer shall, without the express permission of his/her Permanent Secretary/Head of Extra-Ministerial Office, whether on duty or on leave of absence:
(a) Act as the editor or take part directly or indirectly in the management of or in any way make financial contribution to any newspaper, magazine or journal except the following: departmental or staff magazine; professional journal; (iii) Publication of voluntary organization.
(b) Contribute to, whether anonymously or otherwise, or publish in any newspaper, magazine or periodical, or otherwise publish, cause to be published in any manner anything which may reasonably be regarded as of a political or administrative nature;
(c) Speak in public or broadcast on any matter which may reasonably be regarded as of a political or administrative nature;
(d) Allow himself/herself to be interviewed or express any opinion for publication on any question of a political or administrative nature or on matters affecting the administration, public policy, defence or military resources of the Federation or any other country.
PSR 030421 – (ii)
(a) In considering whether or not permission for the proposed publication is to be granted, the Permanent Secretary/Head of Extra-Ministerial Office shall have regard to the interest of the Government and the public, and may, if he/she considers it necessary, seek the opinion of other appropriate Permanent Secretaries/Heads of Extra-Ministerial Offices.
(b) On the submission to the Permanent Secretary/Head of Extra-Ministerial Office of a brief outline of the scope of the proposed publication and the method of the treatment to be applied thereto, the Permanent Secretary/Head of Extra-Ministerial Office, may give a provisional permission for the proposed publication; provided that not final permission thereof shall be granted unless a full and complete manuscript thereof shall have been submitted to the Permanent Secretary/Head of Extra-Ministerial Office, and he/she is satisfied that the proposed publication is not against the interest of the Government or the public.
PSR 030421 – (iii)
(iii) Nothing in this Rule shall be deemed to prevent an officer from publishing in his own name, by writing, speech or broadcast, matters relating to a subject of general interest which does not contain a criticism of any officer. Minister, official and Ministerial statements or actions, or which can be regarded as of a political or administrative
nature; provided that in so publishing any matter compiled with Government sanction from official records, he/she gives prominence to a disclaimer of Government responsibility for its accuracy.
030422 – No officer shall, without express permission of the Government, whether on duty or leave of absence:
a) Hold any office, paid or unpaid, permanent or temporary, in any political organization;
(b) Offer himself or herself or nominate anyone else as a candidate for any elective public office including membership of a Local Government Council, State or National Assembly.
(c) Indicate publicly his support of or opposition to any party, candidate or policy;
(d) Engage in canvassing in support of political candidates;
(e) Nothing in this rule- shall be deemed to prevent an officer from voting at an election.