THE Civil Service is the administrative arm of government.
It provides the technocrats whose duty it is to back the political appointees with the expertise to execute their duties.
Civil servants are consequently supposed to be insulated from political control; hence their being under the administrative supervision of the Office of the Head of Civil Service, previously known as Establishment Secretariat.
The reason is, civil servants are expected to discharge their responsibilities with efficiency and dedication, no matter which political party is in office.
Put simply, civil servants are supposed to be neutral. Thus, the law does not permit them to dabble in partisan politics.
Their loyalty to the government in power should be unflinching; they are to offer all the needed assistance and expert advice to the ministers on the policies and programmes they initiate, and ensure their successful implementation.
The question, however, is, “has that been the case?”
At one time or the other, we have seen top civil servants not only attending political functions, but openly associating with the political parties.
This, The Times believes, they do to protect their positions.
There have also been instances when some civil servants have sought nomination by political parties to contest parliamentary elections even when at post.
This practice has greatly compromised their neutrality.
As a result, every new government attempts to shuffle the top hierarchy of the Ministries, and brings in people who owe allegiance to the party.
While we support the advice of the Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Limuna Muniru, to civil servants to be neutral, we dare point it out that this will be possible only if the country’s political leadership commit themselves to ensuring the neutrality of the Civil Service.
When the personnel feel secure in their positions, they would not seek to please parties in power by sycophantically aligning themselves with them.
Civil servants should, therefore, be assured of their security, so that the sanctity and neutrality of the Civil Service could be guaranteed.