By Bukar Bolori
Former Governor of the central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Muhammadu Sanusi II, has asked civil servants to be loyal to the country and not to politicians.
He gave the advice on Wednesday in Abuja at the closing ceremony of the AIG Public Leaders Programme class of 2021.
The event was organised by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation in partnership with Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation and the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.
He said that his late father, Aminu Sanusi, as a Permanent Secretary in the Ministtry of Foreign Affairs refused to nominate any worker of the ministry for sack during the military administration of late Head of States Gen. Murtala Muhammed and Olusegun Obasanjo.
“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 he was invited to Dordan Barrack 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 has no reason to retire them,” Sanusi said.
He also said that, when his father was ordered to go back and bring a list, he requested that he will do a list on the condition that his name should 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 said.
At the event, each of the participant 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.
Speaking at the event, Chairman of the foundation, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, said the foundation’s mission of driving public sector transformation, and the role that partnerships like those with the Blavatnik School of Government and the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation played in actualising that mission.
On her part, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan expressed her pleasure in witnessing the new crop of public sector leaders being developed through the AIG Public Leaders Programme.