Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HoS) Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan has ordered all civil servants to steer clear of partisan politics and by extension from engaging in the 2023 general election.She cited provisions of the Public Service Rules (PSR), which she noted do not allow civil servants to engage in partisan politics.
She made the clarification via a circular HCSF/479/11/19, dated May 5, 2022.The elucidation came about after her office was inundated with requests for clarification on the provision of the PSR vis-à-vis the Supreme Court Judgment as it relates to participation of civil servants in partisan politics.
The HoS referred all civil servants to the legal opinion of the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami on the matter, wherein he asserted in his letter, Ref. No.SGF/PS/HCSF/210/1l dated November 26, 2018, inter alia, that: “neither the 1999 Constitution nor the Supreme Court has authorised civil servants to engage in partisan politics.
The provisions of Rules 030422 and 030423 of the Public Service Rules (2008 Edition) were not nullified by the Supreme Court, hence, they remain in force and binding on all civil servants seeking to participate in nomination exercises or party primaries”.Malami also asserted that the provisions of Rules 030402 (g), 030422 and 030423 of the PSR (2008 Edition) should be enforced, noting the attention of civil servants should be drawn to the fact that the Supreme Court judgment in INEC vs Musa did not set aside or nullify these provisions of the PSR, hence, they must be complied with by any civil servant who wishes to seek nomination or participation in party primary elections.
The circular subsequently noted that in the overall best interest of neutrality, harmony, integrity and development of the civil service, all civil servants were strongly advised to be guided by the provisions of PSR and the legal opinion of the Attorney General of the Federation Minister of Justice on the subject.
She urged that the contents of the circular that was copied the Chief of Staff to the President, all serving ministers and ministers of state, the National Security Adviser, permanent secretaries, Chairman EFCC, among others, should be given the widest circulation for the compliance of all concerned.