Politicians are popularly perceived to be the biggest problem and challenge in the nation’s progress. But Charles Omole says this is a wrong perception, adding that the biggest challenge are the civil servants, not politicians.
Omole, an international legal scholar and consultant said this on Saturday during The Platform, a programme facilitated and hosted by the Senior Pastor of Covenant Nation, Poju Oyemade.
He noted that civil servants play a huge role in bringing about change in the country and wield power even more than a Federal Minister.
“Many people in Nigeria feel the biggest problem we have is the politicians. What if I tell you that is not true? Do you know what the biggest problem we have in Nigeria? The biggest challenge we have to change this country is in our civil service.
“Those who know how Civil Service works know that they can grind any system to a halt,” Omole said.
He lamented that many Civil servants are against innovation and modernisation.
“Many of them oppose modernisation. They oppose innovation. They like things being done manually. I wonder why? How many of you know that constitutionally, no federal minister in this country can sign a contract to give you job? How many of you understand that? It is the Permanent Secretary that does that.
“So how can a Minister steal without the Civil Service? In fact many times, it is the Civil Servants that teach the novice Minster how to do it,” he said.
The 2021 edition of The Platform is currently being held in Iganmu, Lagos, with the theme – ‘Is Devolution Of Powers The Solution To Nigeria’s Problem?’
But Omole cannot absolve the politicians who steal at the high profile level being the chief executives and chief accounting officers of the ministries. The difference is that they cannot commit malfeasance singlehandedly, without the collaboration of key ministerial staff like the permanent secretary and accountant general.
However, the civil servants are equally as corrupt. Because they ultimately execute or supervise government plans, polices and projects, they know best how to cut corners, how to pin down contractors to dance to their apron strings. They approve uncompleted jobs or shoddy jobs of substandard value for the sake of brown envelopes.