Transforming Nigeria’s Public Service: A Call for Fairness and Respect

Transforming Nigeria’s Public Service: A Call for Fairness and Respect

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I am writing this piece to shed light on my homeland, Nigeria. My intention is not to cast a negative shadow upon our nation but to inspire a transformation in the attitudes of those involved, ultimately contributing to a brighter future where our citizens can take pride in their country. What we urgently require is a civil service workforce that places the needs of the people at the forefront of their mission.

From both my own encounters and those shared by others, it’s evident that many government employees do not perceive themselves as public servants. Regrettably, they often seem to view their responsibilities as favors they bestow upon the populace. This perspective can lead to unfair treatment of citizens, as was exemplified in my recent experience when renewing my International Passport at the Nigeria High Commission in Johannesburg.

After submitting my biometric data in March, I anticipated receiving my renewed passport in June. To my surprise, a Nigeria High Commission official informed me that it wouldn’t be ready until September because my passport was set to expire in April 2024, even though I had paid for renewal well before its expiration in addition to also paying a special fee for early renewal of passport. Accepting this delay, I contacted the official again in September, only to be told that they couldn’t locate my file. They requested that I return for biometrics and data capture, which was practically impossible as I no longer resided in South Africa.

Upon contacting another official, I received the same disheartening news. The immigration attaché confirmed that my photograph had mysteriously vanished from the system and suggested I apply for a passport in the United States. Notably, had I not taken the initiative to contact these officials, there would have been no communication regarding this issue. No apology or compensation was offered. This situation exemplifies the urgent need for a change in our public service culture.

Nigeria possesses immense potential for improvement, and it must commence with the transformation of our public service. There are no justifiable excuses for treating our citizens unfairly and without the respect they deserve. It’s time for a change, and it starts with our public servants.

Oluwatosin Ijabadeniyi, PhD

Tosin 'Badeniyi, PhD

Tosin 'Badeniyi, PhD

Tosin ‘Badeniyi, a Professor at the Department of Biotechnology and Food Science at Durban University of Technology, South Africa, holds a doctoral degree in Food Science from University of Pretoria South Africa. Since 2001, he has conducted research and lectured internationally in the area of food quality and safety. He is the editor of Food Science and Technology: Trends and Future Prospects and has published numerous scientific publications as well as four inspirational books.

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