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Osinbajo blames civil servants for Nigeria’s underdevelopment

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says a highly capable and professional bureaucracy is essential for national development, saying if policies fail, the bureaucracy is responsible.

“Very often, we hear people say that Nigeria’s problem is not plans and policies, but rather that of a lack of implementation,” he noted. “The subtext of such comments is simple: the bureaucracy is the key; if it works, everything works; if it fails, plans and policies are hardly worth the paper they are written on; the bureaucracy literarily holds the future of the nation in its hands.”

Mr Osinbajo urged Nigerian civil servants to facilitate the operations of the private sector and non-governmental organisations by providing an enabling environment.

The vice president communicated this in a lecture he delivered on Thursday at the Leadership Enhancement and Development Programme (LEAD-P) organised by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation in Abuja.

The vice president spoke on ‘Strategic Leadership – The Essential Skills’.

He added, “A highly capable and professional bureaucracy is essential for successful development. Given the roles and responsibilities of the civil service, namely, to design and implement policy, regulate economic activity, and provide public goods, including infrastructure and social services.”

He added that the capacity, professionalism and integrity of a country’s civil service were vital for its general development.

“The role of government agencies as licensors, regulators, and revenue generators only makes sense when operators understand that the bigger picture is to provide the most auspicious environment for the private and non-government sectors to operate,” stated the vice president. “Everything that happens in the public service has an impact on the lives, livelihoods and the future of our country.”

He argued that “great economies and great nations, prosperity and abundance of nations and communities are created by men and not spirits.”

Mr Osinbajo further mentioned that countries like Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Brazil, China and India had well-developed and professional civil service.