Civic Education

How to Improve the public service

Structure of Public Service

Public servants could be grouped into the following classes:

  1. Administrative Class:

This comprises of the most senior civil servants who organize and coordinate the activities of the ministries. They execute high-level administrative work, advice ministers in formulation and implementation of policies and serve as communication link between the minister and other civil servants.

Recruitment to this class is based on university education and very competitive written examinations and interviews conducted by the civil service commission. In this class are directors-general, other directors, deputy directors, assistant directors, etc.

  1. Executive Class:

The executive class implements the general policies and programmes of the government on a daily basis. They supervise and control the activities of their subordinates and help to collect facts that aid in making policy decisions.

This class comprises of executive officers, senior executive officers and senior technical officers who are recruited after possessing professional diplomas and certificates as well as G.C.E. A-level or its equivalent.

  1. The Professional Class:

This class of officers are recruited as a result of their specialized training, skills, scientific and technical knowledge. The professional class includes lawyers, medical doctors, engineers, architects, accountants and teachers.

They offer professional advice on the technical policies of the government and supervise sensitive projects undertaken by the government. Recruitment into this class is based on professional or university education.

  1. The Clerical Class:

This class of workers include typists, clerical officers, clerical assistants and secretaries who help staff in the other classes to carry out their functions. Their job involves keeping records, movement of files, preparation of data and vouchers and payment of claims. They are holders of secondary school certificates and G.C.E Oliver or equivalent professional certificates e.g.  in typing.

  1. The Auxiliary Class:

The categories of workers in this class include cleaners, drivers, painters, messengers, porters and gardeners. This work involves manual labour, while the qualification for entry is the first leaving school certificate.

The Civil service reforms of 1988 introduced some modifications to the traditional structure of the service, which include the following:

  1. It abolished the post of permanent secretary and replaced it with that of director-general who was a political appointee.
  2. The distinction between the executive and administrative classes was removed.
  3. Civil servants were to serve in the ministries for which they were primarily qualified.
  4. The minister was the chief executive and accounting officer of his ministry.

Function of Code of Conduct Bureau

  1. Receive declarations by public officers made under paragraph 12 of part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 constitution.
  2. Examine the declarations in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct or any law.
  3. Retain custody of such declarations and make them available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria on such terms and conditions as the national assembly may prescribe.
  4. Ensure compliance with and, where appropriate, enforce the provisions of the Code of Conduct or any law relating thereto.
  5. Receive complaints about non-compliance with or breach of the Code of Conduct or any law in relation thereto, investigate the complaint and, where appropriate, refer such matters to the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
  6. Appoint, promote, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over the staff of the Code of Conduct Bureau in accordance with the provisions of an Act of the National Assembly enacted in that behalf.
  7. Carry out such other functions as may be conferred upon it by the National Assembly.

Function of Public Complaint Commission

The Public Complaint Commission (also known as Ombudsman) is the institution established to investigate and deal with cases of maladministration, injustice, corruption and unfair treatment by public officers or public authorities against citizens. This body which is also known as the public complaints commission was first introduced in Sweden in 1809 and has since been established in many other countries including Nigeria. The ombudsman was established in October 1975 by the military administration of General Muritala Mohammed. Other bodies that perform similar functions are Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

Discussing Shortcoming of Public Service

1) Poor Condition of Service: The public servants do not earn good salaries and they lack many motivational incentives that will make them work harder.

2) Bribery and Corruption: Some public servants no longer do their official duty, rather they are looking forward to being bribed before doing their duties.

3) Tribalism: Some high ranking officials favour only people from their ethnic group.

4) Political Instability: Frequent change in government results in constant change of top officials of the public service like Head of Service and Director General.

5) Over-Staffing: The public service is over-staffed with people who are not willing to work and whose ideas are outdated.

6) Lack of Qualified Personnel: Many intelligent and qualified professionals and technical staff prefer to seek job opportunities in the private sector.

7) Inadequate Training Facilities: Workers need to be trained and re-trained but the necessary facilities for the training are not available.

8) Red-tapism or Bureaucracy: This refers to excessive use of formalities in the public service which hinders effectiveness.


  1. What are the classes of public servants?
  2. What is the function of the code of conduct bureau?
  3. What is the function of the Public compliant commission?
  4. What are the shortcomings of the Public service?

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