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 Nigeria was colonized just like other developing Nations. The colonized nations inherited the Civil Service model of their colonizers. The history of Nigerian Civil Service dates back to pre-independent era.  Before Nigerian independence, both the executive and the civil Service in Nigeria were essentially colonial institutions dominated by imperial officer…(Dike,1985:1). Ancient civilization shows that even before the colonial era, Civil Service had existed in various empires.  

 It was recorded that the ancient Chinese Empire during the Han Dynasty, 202 BC, recognized the need to have a permanent body of officials to implement government decisions (Chukwu, 2002:1). The same ancient Chinese in 219 AD, workout  a system of classification  of men into nine grades – according to their ability, knowledge, experience, character, etc. This system of classification was officially adopted for selection of men for government service, and the officer appointed to administer the  

 system was “Chung Cheng” – a forerunner of our present day civil service. It follows then that the Civil Service that followed  the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria in 1914 was the colonial imposed alien civil service. The higher positions in civil service were held by the British expatriates. Their values were in conflict with the values of the natives (Adebayo, 1992:93). The British imposed a unified alien civil service without giving much thought to it’s impact on the Nigerian traditional communities with their conflicting values, intents, norms and authority structure. 

 The man objective of British imposed unified alien civil service were maintenance of law and order and mobilization of local resources in order to make colonial administration financially self-sufficient as well as fulfilling the British dual mandate (Chukwu, 2002:26).  Hence the civil service was structured consisted of few  ministries (including ministry of health) and departments. The head of the public service was the Governor General, who was accountable to the British Colonial secretary Co-ordinated the entire service here in Nigeria. 

 Following changes in the constitutional development in Nigeria, Author Richards constitution of 1947 formalized the division of the country into three regions viz: Northern; Eastern and Western regions, and by 1954 Nigeria became a federation with regional civil service. The senior service was essentially European while the junior service was basically African. However, by 1954, there was Nigerianization of the civil service and consequently Northernization policy.  

 This Nigerianization of the civil service commenced in the south while the North preferred expatriates and some ambiting southern administrative officers. The regionalization brought about the decentralization that led to the creation of various civil service organization in Nigeria. The rapid Nigernization of the civil service and the executive council brought new conceptions of the role of the civil service, such that functions differ among the regions (Dike, 1985:2).  

 The system of administration that emerged on independence was British in character/prototype. The country fought civil war six (6) years after independence and  that was quickly followed by another six years of oil boom which brought about extreme materialism. This gave rise to great indiscipline, corruption and a total contempt for order, honour and excellence within the whole society, including the civil service. 

 Civil service is structured into ministries and departments to help achieve some social and economic benefits, good health condition, etc for Nigerians. For instance, Ministry of Health is responsible for health matters. Likewise other ministries are responsible for issues relating to their ministries. This was facilitated  with the creation of states by military government, especially in 1996, when Ebonyi state was created. Ministry of health, just like other ministry, is uses by Ebonyi State government to improve the health standard of the people within its jurisdiction. 


 1.2     statement of the problem 

 There has been consistent low productivity in the civil service since Nigeria became independence. However, this has become more pronounced after the civil war, which lasted from 1966 to 1970. The end of the war period was subsequently followed by a period of oil boom. The oil boom added more money to the pockets of members of the society including the civil servants, and this gave rise to extreme materialism.  

 The desire for material acquisition gave rise to great indiscipline, corruption and total neglect of order, honour and excellence within the society including the civil service. Since most civil servants were concerned with how to acquire material wealth, they no longer cared much about putting in their best in the service (ie, their personal interest surpassed the organizational objective). Many workers engaged in other types of economic roles outside the constitutional civil service function for which they are monthly paid.  

 This type of behaviour on the part of civil servants affected productivity terribly and has led to its continued decline. The federal character and the quota system of employment in the civil service have not been well applied. This become common in Ebonyi State when the state was created in 1996, and due to backwardness of most Ebonyians in education led to the recruitment of less qualified workers/personnel into Ebonyi state ministry of health, even in other ministries and parastatals.  

 There were cases where people were employed and placed in positions they could not cope with. This type of system has only helped to reduce productivity in the service. The recruitment in the civil service have been influenced by patronage and political factors. The loyalties, commitment and actions of public officials are often guided and shaped by their primordial loyalties rather than the requirements of impartial professionalism. 

 The pursuance of higher education certificate for promotion in office, while in service, has brought about what we know today as Ghost workers”. This set of workers go to work only on pay day. This attitude affects productivity of the civil service negatively. There is also problem of ow motivation in the civil service. Some motivational approaches that could have increased workers performances, which in-turn would lead to higher productivity, are neglected by the top management.  

 Physiological benefits like prompt commendation of brilliant performance of work, delegation of duty based on proved ability, consultation with subordinates, security of tenure are lacking. Some people are complaining that the standard of primary health care and general health services are low. Executives in the government departments are accused of performing below expectations.  

 Government and its ministry of health, which is responsible for health services, has consistently come under attack by the public for failing to meet up with its functions or performing below standard. Hospitals has been accursed of shortage of drugs which can only be found in private clinics. Civil service is still weighed down by these problems above, and the problems are common in every civil service unit.  

 The condition of service in Ministry of Health is similar to other civil service units in the sense that the employees in all the civil service units or departments work in civil capacity. For some years now, there have been consistent public outcry about low productivity in the civil service. It is in the view of these problems that the following research question are formed: 

  •  What is the level of productivity in the civil service? 
  •  What are the causes of low productivity in the civil service? 
  •  What are the factors that can improve productivity in the civil service? 

 To achieve a successful result, the researcher has decided to carryout a case study in the Ebonyi state Ministry of Health, which is a civil service unit. 


          The objective of this study include: 

  •  To determine the level of productivity in the civil service. 
  •  To find out the causes of low productivity in the civil service. 
  •  To determine the possible factors that can enhance productivity in the civil service. 
  •  To know the effort of government in ensuring high productivity in the civil service. 

 For some-times now, there has been great public concerns over the low productivity in the civil service. This research, therefore, aims at looking into this problem of low productivity with a view of finding out the causes and how they could be checked so as to improve the productivity of civil service in general. 

 The findings of this work, if applied, will make civil service to be a good high productivity center, which will in-turn lead to an improved welfare of the people. 

 It will help government in policy formulation to fight those factors that bring about low productivity. 

 It will equally help others, who may wish to research on the same or related  subject matter. 

 1.5     HYPOTHESIS 

          This is tentative  generalization whose validity remains to be tested. It help to delimit the direction of search for evidence , thus, concentrates or sharpens the search rather than beating about the bush. 

 H1:    (a)     The productivity of civil service is low. 

  •  The influence of labour union contributes to low productivity in the civil service. 
  •  Negative attitude of workers towards government work is one of the major causes of low productivity in the civil service. 
  •  Low productivity in the civil service can be revamped through government policy/action. 

 1.6     SCOPE OF STUDY: 

          This study is an in-depth study on the performance of Ebonyi State Ministry of Health from 1996, when Ebonyi State was created, to the year 2005, when this research is carried out. 

          This study covers Ebonyi State Ministry of Health, and will also be relevant to other ministries (state or Federal) in Nigeria because, they all work in civil capacity. 


 For one to carryout a research of this nature would always require adequate provision of finance and accurate information. The inadequacy of these factors affected this research in the following way: 

 FINANCE:  This has always been a major factor in any type of project. This is true in the sense that one has to make some trips from one place to another in search of research information. Unfortunately, the cost of transportation has risen greatly these days making it difficult for the to travel to all the places he would have get much information. 

 TIME FACTOR:  This is another constraint that made it difficult for the researcher to go out for search of adequate information for this work. 


 At the time questionnaires were distributed to some members of staff of the Ministry of Health, some staff felt reluctant to receive them on the pretence that they were too busy with office work.. Some workers even complained that because they were civil servants, they could not answer every question. 

 The researcher, however, told them that the research work was purely an academic exercise, moreover there was no way a respondent could be identified after supplying answers to questions. In this way, many of them felt free and collected the questionnaires. While there were others who still maintained that they were too busy with office work and did not have time to fill the questionnaires. 


 All the questionnaires distributed to workers could not be collected back. Some staff misplaced theirs and could not find them to deliver to the researcher.  These lost questionnaires could have supplied more information had they been seen. 


 This is ideas and principles on which this research is based, that is, the idea which support this work. 

 This research adopted two theories for improving productivity  viz: scientific management theory, and management by objective (MBO). 


 The scientific management theory propounded by Fredrick Winslow Toylor in 19… is one of the oldest studies of workers behaviour. Through his theory he developed ideas of scientific selection of the best person for the job, and training the worker thoroughly in the task and procedure to the followed as well as industrial motivation which have formed the basis of today’s reward system in civil service. It is his assumption that the workers can be economically motivated by higher ways based on his level of production; and his assumptions about people were: 

  •  That people try to satisfy only economic need at work 
  •  That the sole reward workers need is money. 
  •  That emotional needs do not enter the picture. 

 He concluded that the workers would be motivated by higher salaries, and the chance for advancement is conditioned by continuous and efficient  performance in a mechanically pre-determined manner. The idea of this theory is that employment into civil service work should maintain efficient selection process because, the performance of any ministry is largely depends on the quality of its staff. That efficient selection process, training and induction of new employees, with the current minimum wage, will improve work performances and consequently enhance  productivity in the ministries. 


 MBO was advocated by Peter Drunker, for the purpose of organizational objectives. According to him, employees are motivated when management integrates their goals into the organizational goals through MBO. Management by objective is the process by which top executives and their subordinates participate jointly in setting objectives and monitoring the progress achieving those objectives. 

 This  theory is on the ground that, if civil servants are involved in making ministerial decision, and as well their initiative are recognized irrespective of their positions or levels in the ministry or departments, it is capable of motivating them to put their in best in the civil service job. This theory is a motivational tool to the civil servants in the sense that their recognition will make them feel that the ministry see them as being important to the organization. Therefore, MBO technique makes civil servants to contribute their initiatives and participate with their whole-heart  in the performance of civil service work. 


 CIVIL SERVICE: Civil service is the service of the federal or state in a civil capacity, thus, it is institutional instrument used by government to implement its policies and programmes, and such instrument enjoys continuity  of existence and it is not partisans of any political party. 

 PRODUCTIVITY: It is a measure of the efficiency of organizational transformation process of converting inputs into outputs. It can also seen as the ratio of a firm’s total output to input. 

 CIVIL SERVANTS: This are people who are employed by the civil service commission to carry out government businesses in civil capacity. That is, they are the civil service employees. 

 FEDERAL CHARACTER PRINCIPLE: It is system of employment of civil servants in a manner that reflects the federal nature of the country, which, if judiciously applied, makes sure that all segments of the federation are adequately represented in the federal service. 

 NIGERIANISATION: This is the process of devolution of administrative power to indigenous civil servants. That is, a process of transforming colonial civil service into Nigerian own. 

 Northernization: It is an exclusive and extreme regional policy by the northern regional government to ensure northern civil service due to fear of southern domination. 

 EXECUTIVE: This refers to senior officers or staff of the Civil service whose primary function is that of implementation of government policies. 

 OIL BOOM: It is an excessive demand of oil product. That is, period when Nigerian crude oil was selling well, thus, attracting huge foreign currency for the country. 

 MATERIALISM: This is a system of acquiring huge material wealth so as to be recognized in the society. 

 MOTIVATION:  It is an engineering  force that induces or compel a person to behave in a particular way. Thus, it is a system whereby employees are given moral and material incentives in order to make them increase their performances in the discharge of their functions 


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