Former Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido has called on civil servants in the country to commit their loyalty to Nigeria rather than to politicians. He stated this in Abuja at the closing ceremony of the AIG Public Leaders Programme class of 2021.
Organized by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation in partnership with the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation and the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, the programme brought together a number of participants drawn from diverse fields of study.
He recalled that his late father, Aminu Sanusi, as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to nominate any worker of the ministry for a sack as requested by the military regime of Gen. Murtala Mohammed.
“We all hear about how the Nigerian Civil Service was destroyed in the 1970s because of what was a purge and a massive retrenchment of civil servants, under the Murtala/Obasanjo administration. This is something that everybody talks about.
“And we all blame the political leadership. The question is, was the leadership entirely to blame? My father was appointed Permanent Secretary in this ministry in 1975, in the period of those purges. He was given a list 40 ambassadors to retire before they were due for retirement and he refused.
“He was a civil servant and he was invited to Dodan Barracks to meet the Head of State and the Chief of Staff and he was told every ministry had contributed names and why was his ministry different?
“He replied that his ministry was not different but that he knows the rules of civil service and none of these people to the best of his knowledge was queried and none of them have gone through the same process and that he had no reason to retire them,” he recalled.
He also said that, when his father was ordered to go back and bring a list, he requested that he will do so on the condition that his name would be number one on the list.
“No one was retrenched from the ministry and my father was not sacked. If every Permanent Secretary has done that, would there have been a purge?” he asked.
Each of the 49 participants was awarded a scholarship worth £11,500 by the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation, bringing the total to £563,500, to attend the programme delivered in partnership with the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.
Chairman of the foundation, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, said the foundation’s mission of driving public sector transformation is borne of the need to have a revamped public service for the good of Nigeria and her people.
Also speaking, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan thanked the participants and the AIG foundation and pledged the readiness of the Office of the Head of Service to partner with a value-driven agency or firm in the interest of the nation.