1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Plural and sharply divided societies all over the
world attempt to manage their diversities and divisive tendencies
through one or combination of policy alternatives in the organization
and management of their public services for performance; and Nigeria is
not an exception (Bodunrin, 1989; Ayoade, 2000; Abdullah, 2007). Often
times, these policy alternatives turn out to be delicate arrangements;
but when carefully conceived, crafted and practiced, it provides
opportunity for centre-seeking and centre-fleeing forces to interact
peacefully and co-habit on agreed terms which has been proved to have
enhanced productivity. One of such policy alternatives adopted for the
management of the public service in Nigeria for even representation is
the federal character principle, which was borne out of the need to
ensure even spread of government appointments in all the regions,
states and local government councils in the country (Nzeshi, 2012).
Nigeria is a federal society comprising 36 states
structure with a population of more than 150 million people and has
more than 250 ethnic groups, which necessitate an arrangement that
could accommodate people from the different segments of the country in
the public service (Gberevbie, 2012). The notion of federal character
presupposes the existence of a federal society. However, as a federal
state, Nigeria was faced with the challenge of how to imbibe the
principle of federalism in practice. As a result, the quota system was
introduced into the Nigerian public service in 1958 by the government to
ensure equitable representation of the various groups in the country
(Tonwe and Oghator, 2009). To further consolidate on the gains of the
quota system, the Federal Military Government of Generals Murtala
Mohammed and Olusegun Obasanjo in the drafting and approval of the 1979
constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria during the transition
to civilian rule (1976-79) introduced into the Nigerian political and
administrative landscapes the principle of federal character (Ekeh,
1989). Federal character principle sought to give opportunities in
education and employment, usually at the point of entry, to
disadvantaged groups and areas to enable them compete and catch up with
more advanced areas and sectors of the nation (Ekeh, 1989).
In comparing the practice of quota system with
that of the federal character principle, Ekeh (1989) posits that the
latter demands far more than the former in the sense that it switches
emphasis from opportunities to privileges and benefits. He argues that
federal character principle is a legal weapon put in place to regulate
appointments, promotions, security of tenure and severance in every
government department. The reference to the phrase disadvantaged groups
in the area of educational opportunities means that special
consideration should be given to candidates from the Northern provinces
and other areas where educational facilities were more backward than
elsewhere (Gboyega, 1989). The awkward application of the federal
character principle tends to pose challenges to the productivity of the
Nigerian public service through the circumscription of merit. Such
practice of the principle of federal character in personnel procurement
without due regard for merit is more likely to mire efforts at
sustainable development in a society.
The formal adoption of the federal system in
Nigeria, which came into existence with the introduction of the
Lyttleton constitution of 1954, signaled the need for representative
bureaucracy that could address the problem in the composition of the
federal public service anchored on productive service delivery
(Adamolekun, 1989; Ayoade, 2000; Ikelegbe, 2004). Accordingly, Max Weber
(1864-1920) showed the way forward on how to achieve organizational
productivity through the theory of ideal bureaucracy; and it is
doubtful if any modern human organization, whether in public and
private sector can function adequately without adhering to the
principle of rationality in employee procurement and rewards as
postulated by Max Weber (Edigin and Otoghile, 1994; Anyebe, 2004).
The main focus of this research project is the
Federal Civil Service. The Civil Service is a body without which the
business of government would be impossible to operate. The role of the
civil servant is so vital that such personnel is expected to be
productive, progressive and enterprising; hence the need to employ well
educated, skilled and experienced people.
But for political reasons, the Federal Civil Service now combines
the administrative ethics of merit and political doctrine of federal
character as a recruitment policy because of the need for a
The federal character principle was incorporated
as an employment policy having taken into cognizance the impervious and
insistence demand by each ethnic group, no matter how small
numerically, or how poor materially, or how backward educationally for a
fair and dignified place in the Nigeria sum.
For some time now, the Federal Civil Service has come under
criticism because its performance and productivity left much to be
desired. Many attribute its unproductive and inefficiency to the
adoption of the Federal Character Principle which they believe negates
the administrative ethics of merit system –skill, qualification,
experience through training which are the basic criteria for
efficiency. However, this study seek to examine the relationship
between federal character/quota system and productivity of Nigeria
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The perennial problem of imbalance in our national life had
revolved around other sectors of the economy, the immediate problem
which prompted the research to investigate on is the issues relating to
the allocation of educationally based positions among the federating
units relates to federal character principle which means that all the
geo-political zones will be given equal chance for the appointment and
output-efficiency as it relates to observation of federal character
In the related development, there have been discriminatory
attitudes on many federal institutions in terms of employment into the
Nigerian civil service as there are a specific numbers of candidates to
be taken from each state. There is also a problem of quota system in
the area of employment into the federal civil service, which has
introduced mediocrity in the service.
Consequently, there has been gross misconduct in
the area of employment due to sectional consciences and nepotism from
those in authority in the Ministries and Parastatals. Federal
institutions seem to recruit on nepotism and favoritism without minding
the effect of such practices to the productivity, efficiency of
service delivery and quality of output to the nation. Even when the
federal character principle is observed, the institution will not
consider efficiency of the candidate hence they are relatives and will
not follow the due process thereby cutting corners in the recruitment
exercise. All these problems have been a hydra-headed challenge to the
Federal Character Commission.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the relationship between federal character/quota system and productivity of Nigeria public service.
- To investigate whether certain standard are maintained in
the course of recruitment on quota basis in the country’s civil service.
- To determine the factors militating against productivity in the Nigeria public service.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the relationship between federal character/quota system and productivity of Nigeria public service?
- Are there any certain standard maintained in the course of recruitment on quota basis in the country’s civil service.
- What are the factors militating against productivity in the Nigeria public service?
HO: There is no relationship between federal character/quota system and productivity of Nigeria public service
HA: There is relationship between federal character/quota system and productivity of Nigeria public service
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study of implications of application of Federal Character
Principle for efficiency in the civil service is of immense benefit to
different institutions, especially those institutions that needed
employment related data for their routine activities. From such
research, Federal Civil Service Commission can tell if the character
principle is observed in every batch of recruitments conducted by
different Federal Agencies and whether such recruitment is orderly
conducted through the help of Federal Commission.
Again, by observing the character principle, the federal Bureau of
Statistics can collate and manage data on employment-unemployment
situation and through that ascertain the living conditions of different
age brackets in liaison with National Population Commission that would
give out the population of such age brackets. All these groups will
benefit from a research of this nature because if well managed, because
the result would have relationship with sustainable development with
the help of efficient manpower development.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The scope on the study on federal character/quota system and
productivity of Nigeria public service will cover all the issues of
employment in the Nigerian civil service analyzing the methods of
selection (i.e. the merit system of the federal character/quota system)
considering the effects of both of them on productivity in the federal
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Federal Character: The system of
distributing positions/resources to reflect the ethnic, regional or
sectional differences in Nigeria, irrespective of whether the person
concerned is the most qualified or not.
Civil Service: Refers to the
organization, personnel, practices and procedures essential to
effective performance of the civilian functions entrusted to the
executive branch of government comprising those public servants
appointed on merit on a permanent, contract or temporary basis without
any inferences of political considerations for the purpose of executing
public policy. Thus, the civil service whenever referred to in this
work means federal government employee, organization practices and
procedures directly involved in public administration.
condition which exists when the characteristics and acts of one vested
with public functions are accordance with the desires of one or more
persons to whom the functions have objective and subjective importance.
It therefore carries with it authority and legitimacy as such person
performs has duty on behalf of others.
Quota: A quota is inflexible number
that be reached within a given period of time, regardless of the
methods used or the availability of candidates. Here, there is the
possibility or every tendency that whoever presents himself will be
accepted to fill the gap: thus, the acceptable standard might be lowered
to achieve this aim. That seems to be the fate of the federal
character principle as it is now being applied especially in the
federal civil service, considering the grave imbalance between the
regions or ethnic groups in Nigeria.
National Ideology: A set of concepts,
doctrine, beliefs to which the members of a society are committed and
which identified the national character of the country; ideology
therefore functions to influence and justify certain kinds of
behaviours and claims.
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