It hurts whenever we are made to confront the inevitable in most government offices in Nigeria. I was served with a fair share of service ill-treatment in one of our government office. And it was not a funny experience.
Along with other Nigerians that came to receive service in that agency, we were disdainfully treated. To say the least, we were literally discarded like the piece of rags that have long outlived their usefulness.
While we made our ways out of the door like wounded soldiers, my gaze fell on the fading emblem of SERVICOM which was posted conspicuously on the notice board. And then I reasoned; where is SERVICOM when all these service wounds were inflicted upon us?
I know that Nigerians can easily relate with my experience. The service experiences we have in our public institutions are generally demeaning and pitiable.
Pitiable because most Nigerians have given up on the possibility of any positive change.
Today, it is viewed as an aberration when one complains about these extremely poor public sector services. We are expected to get used to it.
What was SERVICOM created to do?
SERVICOM is an acronym derived from the words SERVICE COMPACT.
Upon discovering the consistent pattern of poor service delivery in Nigeria, SERVICOM was birthed in 2003.
It is a compact between federal government and all its agencies to deliver quality customer service in all engagements with the Nigerian citizens. Its objectives were expressly defined to include:
- To provide quality service to the people
- To set out the entitlement of the citizens
- To ensure good leadership
- To educate the citizens (customers) on their rights
- To empower public officers to be alert to their responsibilities in providing improved efficient, timely and transparent service.
SERVICOM office was also instituted in the presidency, to coordinate the activities nationwide. In the same order, MDAs were all directed to set up SERVICOM units and appoint coordinators.
The state of SERVICOM today
14 years after, one is compelled to ask; where SERVICOM was. What has happened to all SERVICOM units created in all the MDAs? Is SERVICOM office in the Presidency still functional?
These questions need answers if at all the social contract between the citizen and government is still valued.
As what we have today is far cry from our national expectation. The gross dysfunction in the public sector domain has clearly led to sickening service delivery, lack of accountability and disjointed governance framework.
Nigerians want to feel the impact of SERVICOM. How does it respond to bad services? How are erring staff sanctioned? Are MDAs services monitored and rated?
Our journey continues
My only joy was that I did something different yesterday. Before now, I would simply walk away when presented with such bad service. But this time around, I was able to reprimand the erring staff members firmly. And today I am sharing my experience for all to see.
This is what I think the citizenry should adopt. Let’s start speaking against bad public services. That ugly culture is thriving because people are not talking. The social media can help our voices to be heard globally. Nigerians must begin to demand quality service in the public sectors. It is our right.
This is not the time to wait for SERVICOM.