Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa Governor Henry Seriake Dickson has admonished the political class to guard against the politicisation of the civil service, in order to ensure effective public service delivery.
Dickson stated this at the swearing in ceremony of the new state Head of Service, Mrs Biobelemoye Charles-Onyeama, in Government House, Yenagoa.
A statement by his Chief press Secretary, Mr Fidelis Soriwei, quoted the governor as having charged the new Head of Service to mobilise the permanent secretaries and workers to operationalise policies and programmes of any government in power.
According to the Governor, his administration has laid the foundation for a result-oriented civil service by carrying out robust public service reforms in the past 8 years.
In his words: “The civil service should not be part of the political fray in the state. The civil service should not be treated as an arm of a political party. It should be apolitical at all times. I charge you to give leadership, mobilise all permanent secretaries and civil servants for every government.”
He noted that when the story of Bayelsa would be written, posterity would be fair to him and his team for repositioning the state civil service, where the virtues of discipline, hardwork and neutrality are upheld.
Governor Dickson urged Mrs Charles-Onyeama to bring her wealth of experience to bear on the implementation of the administration’s reforms.
“I want to urge you and charge you also to lead the civil service in an apolitical manner. I want to use this opportunity to advise that politicians should not politicise the civil service of our state. We have tried to professionalise it, we have tried to inject productivity and discipline. Politicians can have their quarrels and fights, but the worst thing that can happen to any state is when the civil service becomes a part of political battles. And that is why I have tried in these eight years to ensure that at anytime I have had to take decisions concerning the civil service; I do so in a fair manner and also in a manner that will protect the political neutrality.”
Dickson, expressing optimism for a result-oriented civil service under Mrs Charles-Onyema, maintained that his administration would be leaving behind a civil service anchored on discipline.
“We now have a civil service founded on discipline and not a civil service where people go and purchase grade levels and steps at will as it used to be; not a civil service where people will collect salaries without going to work; not a civil service where people have work in three different places.”
Speaking with reporters, the new Head of Service expressed gratitude to the Governor for the appointment and pledged to carry out the mandate given to her.