It is absurd. It is fully an absurdity and it is against the rules and regulations of the civil service. Irrespective of the government in power, the civil service is a continuum and for people in this system to display a preference for one candidate or aspirant to another is the beginning of the absurdity I am referring to. I believe the Head of Service will address this.
I know there is a continuous circulation of circulars on such matters within the Civil Service but recently, these circulars seem to be a little bit muted. It should be clear to all civil servants that there is a difference between the core civil service and the politician or political office holder.
The core civil servant has a fixed tenure which is protected by law to such an extent that, a civil servant cannot be fired without proper procedure being followed. This was designed to ensure that no one is victimised for adhering to the rules of the service.
The loyalty of the civil servant is to the state and not just the occupant of an office at a particular moment in time. To see a civil servant either at the federal or the state level interpreting this to mean partisanship; is taking loyalty to another level.
This is different from participating in politics to the extent that the constitution allows the civil servant as a free citizen. We expect our civil servants to serve government irrespective of the party in power. • Kayode Ajulo (Senior Partner, Castle of Law Chambers)
I don’t think it is right. I think government officials should not dabble in that for now. It may not be against the law but when you look at it morally, I think, public servants should not do that.
If they start wearing President Buhari’s campaign badges at the federal level, government functionaries at the state and local government levels will take a cue and replicate the same for governors and chairmen of local government areas. If government officials at the state level start to wear the present governor’s campaign paraphernalia to public functions you can only imagine how it will look like. It is not proper; it only goes to show the level to which some Nigerians have taken sycophancy. Public functions are meant to show what the government is doing to the electorate.
If the electorate out of their own volition decide to show appreciation for what a President, Governor or any elected person is doing in terms of service delivery and they display the person’s portrait or campaign material there is nothing wrong but I don’t think it is proper for public servants to do so because they serve government irrespective of who is in power.
I must also say that nobody should force public officials to wear badges for the President or any other elected official for that matter.
Government functionaries/public officials should concentrate on their jobs; they should leave politics for the politicians. • Mr. Kola Shittu (Former member of the House of Representatives from Kwara State)
I think wearing of badges with people’s posters and images, in the form of T-shirts or whatever has become the norm in Nigeria. Even today, some people who wear such things are not doing it because they want to, they are doing it because they are trying to curry favour or maybe they are trying to run away from one thing or the other. This is so because many people are not very sure of what could happen if they do not “show loyalty” to certain camps.
People wearing Buhari’s badges may be doing so out of fear. They are doing simply because they want to “belong.” Ask most of these people why are they wearing these badges, they may not have any reasonable answer to give. I think it is simply an act of sycophancy. You know things are very difficult; things are tight, everywhere is tight. People are looking for a little way where they can make small money for their families. Some people are doing that while some are using these to settle scores with other people.
There is a saying that “Once you declare for APC, EFCC will not run after you.” I don’t know how far this is true. There are a lot of reasons attached to wearing these badges.
I heard of people wearing T-shirts and hanging pictures of the politicians they support to functions, this has sadly become the norm in certain areas over the years. Politicians do it for the sake of identification.
Some may want to be identified; they want to be seen to loyal or to be close to the government of the day. There are also some people who are wearing these things genuinely because they want to promote somebody that has done something good. Like I will say, if I wear Godswill Akpabio’s T-shirt or whatever today, I’m doing it because I saw what he did.
He did one or two things to affect me. The salary I earn today, he approved it for me and a couple of things I have benefitted from him while he served as governor of Akwa Ibom State. •Dr. Gloria Inyang (Lecturer, Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha Nsit)
Though the timetable of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the 2019 elections is out, campaigns have not officially started. So, I don’t think that it is proper for anyone to start campaigns now. But if INEC gives the go ahead for political campaigns to commence, there is nothing wrong if government officials wear Buhari’s campaign badges.
Most government appointees are politicians, who would want to express their support for the President. I don’t think anything stops them from wearing badges to campaign for Mr. President. It will only be wrong if INEC had not approved that campaigns should begin. Government officials ought to set the standard for others to follow.
But if it is civil servants, of course, they are not expected to wear the President’s or any other politician’s badges, doing so would be against the rules. Civil servants are supposed to be neutral; they ought not to pay allegiance to any political party or any candidate. Their allegiance is to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not to any political office holder, although they have the right to vote, they cannot openly campaign for a candidate especially when they are on duty.
The implication is that by the time they declare allegiance to one political party and that party loses, there is the risk of political instability in government when a new party takes over. • Eric Omare (Factional President, Ijaw Youth Council)
If they like, let them wear Buhari’s image on their dresses that will not make Nigerians vote for him again. There is hunger in the land, there is poverty and people are tired. People want something genuine that will make things better for this country. So, whether they are putting on Buhari’s badges does not really matter.
There were people who wore (former President Goodluck) Jonathan’s badges, so, all these things do not mean anything.
I think there are more fundamental issues facing the country now than whether you are forcing or encouraging civil servants to wear your badges.
There are the issues such as: fuel scarcity, the possibility of an increase in the price of fuel, unstable power supply, addressing pensioners’ entitlements in different states of the country and the issue of the depreciation of the naira.
These are very serious issues. Moreover, there is the troubling issue of insecurity in the country which has reached another level with the atrocities being committed by herdsmen.
I do not think these are issues that can be swept under the carpet by the wearing of Buhari’s badges.
Let the Federal Government not be deceived by civil servants who are looking for one favour or the other. That does not translate into support or votes. •Chief Dan Orbih (Edo State Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party)
Compiled by: Success Nwogu, Etim Ekpimah, Chukwudi Akasike and Alexander Okere