Competency Test For Civil Servants: A Welcome Development


The announcement by Stephen Oronsaye, Head of Civil Service of the Federation that senior civil servants would take competency and pre-qualification tests was greeted with rejection by the Association of Senior Civil Servants.

Before the tests were held Monday this week, the senior civil servants filed a suit in court to restrain the authorities from conducting the tests on that day or any other day. The case was expected to be heard by a vacation judge, Justice David Okoronkwo at the Federal High Court today. The association had also directed its members not to sit for the exams.

But many senior civil servants in an apparent defiance of the association’s instruction turned out for the exams that held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. Oronsaye was said to have been pleasantly surprised that a large number of the civil servants turned out.

“It is interesting that while the association was calling on its members not to register for the test, many of them actually turned out to register. Here they are, now writing the test. The truth is that for the level 14 officers who are just taking the test now, we planned for 2,050 but the attendance is more than 1,900 which is impressive,” he said.

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It is our opinion that it is proper for the HOCSF to have conceived the idea of organising the competency tests. They should even have been organised earlier than now. It is common knowledge that the civil service is full of inept workers who do little or nothing and still earn salaries. The salaries of these docile workers gulp billions of naira monthly. We know that there are civil servants who come to the office late and leave work early. These people cannot justify their salaries with their attitude to work.

Given the fact that competency tests are organised to determine who remains in service and who gets promoted, then it is in order. We will also like the office of the HOCSF to extend the tests to civil servants below Level 14. At least, this may be the beginning of the end of the era of putting square pegs in round holes.

Those who are resisting this change are lazy, fixated and want the status quo that does not promote efficiency in the civil service to remain. They may have climbed their way to the top by cutting corners. Nemesis has now caught up with them.

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