President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said he had to jettison the old practice of conducting written and oral examinations in appointing new permanent secretaries.
Speaking at the swearing-in of the new permanent secretaries at the State House in Abuja, the president said in appointing them, he adopted a more rigorous selection process, entailing vigorous screening of candidates’ past records, potential and capacity for holding the office, integrity, honesty and sense of commitment.
He said: “In keeping with the change mantra of this administration, the process for your selection as Permanent Secretaries was a departure from the previous practice of administering written and oral examinations.
“Instead, a more rigorous selection process, entailing vigorous screening of candidates’ past records, potential and capacity for holding the office, integrity, honesty and sense of commitment was adopted.”
Buhari said he believed that the new selection technique would bring to light some of the best, dedicated, patriotic and hardworking civil servants to hold the position.
“It is my hope that your subsequent conduct and performance will not prove this administration wrong,” he added.
Buhari, who urged the newly appointed bureaucrats to view their appointments as an emergency call to duty, asked them to key into his administration’s mantra of change and discharge duties most efficiently and effectively.
He said: “I must, however, sound a note of warning. It is within public domain that ministers as chief executives of their ministries as well as other government officials involved in policy formulation and implementation often complain of the intolerable levels of incompetence, indifference or even suspected sabotage by some of the top echelon of the civil service.
“Even where permanent secretaries, in some instances, are exempted from these accusations, they are still responsible and liable for failing to provide the required leadership, control and direction.
“This administration will not condone any excesses, indifference, incompetence, and corrupt practices in any form.
“Permanent secretaries are therefore advised to note these words of caution and disseminate them to all civil servants accordingly.”
The president said he considered permanent secretaries and all other civil servants as an indispensable reservoir of experience, expertise and loyalty, adding: “I therefore, consider the service as a dependable ally in my quest to change this country for the better.”
According to him, if Nigeria has to realise its full potentials for greatness, its civil service must first understand and accept the “change mantra” of his administration.
He promised to give all the necessary support, protection and encouragement to the civil service to do its work saying: “I have great faith in the ability and quality of the Nigerian civil service to provide stability and the desired change.”