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Since former president Obasanjo took over power in 1999, the bureaucratic set up in Nigerian has witnessed a lot of changes, usually labeled ‘reforms’. Before now, the public bureaucracy had however remained basically conservative, despite some structural changes since independence. The central question is, to what extent is the current bureaucratic institution equipped to bring about the desired development?

The above question has been necessitated because Nigerian as a developing country is in urgent need of political, economic, social and educational transformation. Although politics determines largely the nature and direction of this transformation, it is however, through the administrative process and machinery that this desired transformation is brought into reality. In other words, while it is the task of political leadership to determine and shape public policies, it is the task of bureaucratic machineries to implement these policies.

The administrative machinery of the state, technically called the bureaucracy is the instrument for implementing public policies as determined by the government of the day. The bureaucracy of Nigeria was a colonial heritage designed at inception to promote and protect colonial interest. As a bureaucracy designed to maintain law and order necessary for colonial administration and exploitation, it was ill-equipped to advance the national interest of Nigeria (Aaron and Omele, 2003). It is against this background that this paper shall examine if the public bureaucracy in civil service commission has been properly equipped and truly reformed to efficiently and effectively carry out its primary function of implementing development plans of the state, and then ascertain to what extent it has been an agent of development in civil service commission between 1999 and 2007. It will further investigate the structural and human impediments militating against the performance of the bureaucracy in the state.

Bureaucracy forms an important element of the modernization process in many of the economically less developed countries, which have attained national independence. In many countries, the public bureaucracy was an organized body of natives with considerable training and experience in administration. It is usually called upon to assume major responsibilities in the formulation and implementation of National plans for economic development and social change (Dube, 1971).

The general change in political climate, the assumption of power by the political elites, the changing alignments of power and pressure groups and emergence, of new institutional and administrative pattern in civil service commission raised in their wake a series of complex problems for the bureaucracy. In consequences, it has to make some adjustments in its thought- and-work-ways, so as to adapt itself to the new political ethos. On the other hand, in many sensitive areas, it found itself either openly resisting or accepting some of the new elements only theoretically. Thus, with or without the overt acceptance of the new patterns of reforms, it stood for continuity of some of the established norms. In meeting these intricate problems of adjustment, the character of the state bureaucracy is undergoing a rapid change. Since it occupies a pivotal position in policy implication and will possibly continue to do so in the foreseeable future, an understanding of the character and culture of the public bureaucracy is essential to those concerned with the programmes of economic growth and social change in the state.

More fundamentally, the public bureaucracy has remained the only permanent, relatively stable, powerful and influential institution in most of these societies. The conspicuous absence of a strong, credible and numerous coups, crisis, civil wars, political instability and high degree of regime turnover, the bureaucracy has remained the last hope of these societies.

(Onuoha, 1999), the implication of this constant political instability and

rapid regime turnover is the inevitable absence of other mechanism and institutions that would be called upon to take up development responsibilities. This makes the centrality of the bureaucracy in this regard very imperative.

The main task of the public bureaucracy is to formulate and implement national development plans. Such plans are usually implemented through the budgetary system. Planning for national development is an extremely complicated business which involves highly specialized knowledge and developed manipulative skills; the implementation of these plans presupposes deep administrative insights and a keen evaluative perspective. In the contest of the programmes of national development, it is common these days to emphasis the ideas of planning by the experts, but the crucial part is that stage of ‘planning for the people’ and ‘planning with the people’ is not given sufficient emphasis. The acceptance of these stages means successively diminishing functions for the bureaucracy in matters of national planning and developmental administration.

The problem of integrating national development plans, demands knowledge and skills, which perhaps only the bureaucracy possesses. And, as this process of integration acquires greater complexity, the technocrats are drawn into more deeply, for without the utilization of this specialized knowledge, planning for national development would become increasingly difficult, as can be experienced in the case of civil service commission.

Conclusively this study is divided into four main sections one deals with the introduction; statement of the problem; objective of the study; significance; scope of the study; limitations of the study; and definition of terms.

Section two deals with the conceptual framework and review of related empirical research, while section three highlights bureaucratic methodologies and development in civil service commission. Finally, section four which is the last section summaries and brings the work to a logical conclusion.



The main task of this paper is to examine and analyze the relationship existing between the public bureaucracy and national development within the context of the existing democratic institutions, mechanisms and realities in Nigeria. In doing so, we attempt to evaluate the impacts of bureaucracy on, and its implications for national development with a focus on civil service commission.

The structural problems besetting the public bureaucracy in civil service commission as a case study fall roughly into four basic categories, namely: personnel regulation, personnel qualifications, organizational structure and work environment. It is therefore within this purview that we shall examine to ascertain whether the public bureaucracy is actually a potential factor in the state’s development strategies or an agent of affliction in nation building.

The focus shall be on the development of civil service commission and the role of the bureaucracy between 1999 and 2007, the areas to be covered shall include education, agriculture, health public utility and infrastructural development which involves both quantitative improvements in the overall standard of living of the entire population, and the structural changes in the distributive input and output systems of the economy of the state.

The basic problem against this background is the fact that despite the huge resources accruing to the state from the federal allocation, internally generated revenues from the numerous multinational companies and other miscellaneous resources, amounting to about one trillion naira, the state is impoverished and underdeveloped due to the ineptitude of the bureaucrats and lack of political will by the ruling class to improve the overall standard of living of the people. The main questions for this paper shall be:

  1. Is the public bureaucracy an agent of development or underdevelopment in a developing country?
  2. To what extent has the bureaucracy been an agent of development in civil service commission between 1999 and 2007?
  • What are the human and structural impediments militating against the performance of the public bureaucracy in civil service commission?




  1. To what extent is public bureaucracy an output of development or under development in civil service commission?
  2. In which extent does public bureaucracy has been an agent of development in the state between 1999 and 2007?

iii. What are the human and structural impediments militating against the performance of the pubic bureaucracy in the state.



The central objective of this inquiry is to critically evaluate the role of the public bureaucracy in national development. Specifically, the study has been designed to achieve the following specific objectives:

  1. To find out if the public bureaucracy is an output of development or under development in civil service commission.
  2. To ascertain the extent to which the public bureaucracy has been an agent of development in the state between 1999 and 2007.
  • To identify both the human and structural impediments militating against the performance of the public bureaucracy in the state.



The importance of this work rests on its attempt to expose the role of the public bureaucracy in promoting national development, among the civil service commission.

It will contribute and update the literature on issues pertaining to bureaucracy and its organizational structure in creating the necessary conditions and enabling environments that would head to the transformation of the society.

We are now beginning to experience organizational forms and styles which are increasingly departing from the traditional bureaucratic formular. This process of “de-bureaucratization” is an innovation where “Task Forces” and “Commissions of Enquiry” are being created by the governing class as a result of their loss of confidence in the public bureaucracy”. Such innovations are made of organization specifically designed to meet certain situations and with specific goals pertaining to state development. In their operation, hierarchical barriers are deliberately broken and there is no rigidity to rules in achieving their goals. They are also time conscious and devoid of bottlenecks or “redtapism” which characterize the public bureaucracy.

All these are manifestations of a trend in the dissatisfaction of the public bureaucracy, which we believe would serve as convenient starting point for future inquiries in the field of public administrating and public policy analysis.

The research would also be beneficial to policy making and general public especially the federal state and local governments and other international development agencies such as UNDP, USAID,  DFID etc for a more profound and deeper appreciating of the current trends in bureaucratic organizations and its linkages with the objectives of national development. Infact, this will serve as working document for sustainable development to these organizations in particular and the public in general.



This work is centered on bureaucracy and national development with particular reference to civil service commission.




The researcher was limited in several areas which hindered or posed a problem to the writing of the project. The questionnaires distributed by the researcher were not returned on time which some were not answered. Apart from that, finance also posed a problem to the researcher especially in typing and transportation. The researcher also had time constraint because she had limited time to summit the work. Materials were also a problem, encountered by the researcher, because of unavailability of materials like journals, text books etc.



  1. Bureaucracy: This is all those large scale formal organization, such as civil services, the police, academic institutions that uses a system of authority men, materials, office, and method of structures with them to carryout their programmes and achieve their goals.
  2. Public administration: This is concerned with the implementation of governmental policy and is an academic discipline that studies this implementation and prepares civil servants for wiring in public service.
  3. National development: This is the expansion and growth of people in an area of government.
  4. Economy: The relationship between production trade and supply of money in a particular country or region.
  5. Efficiency: The ability of doing something well with no waste of time or money.
  6. Effective: Producing result that is wanted or intended.



            This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concerned with the introduction, which consists of the background of study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, research questions, significance of the study, scope of the study etc. Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter. Chapter three is a research methodology which covers and deals with research design and methods adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of findings. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion and recommendations made of the study.


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