President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday swore in his new Political Adviser, Prof. Rufai Alkali.
Jonathan charged him to be mindful of provocative utterances capable of undermining the peace and unity of the country.
The president told Alkali that “your appointment is key because you are the chief spokesperson of the president on political issues, and when one listens to some of the comments that we politicians make, sometimes could be terrible and does not portray the character of good politics.
“We are supposed to be nation builders. Even though it is extremely difficult to agree that a politician could be a statesman because we tend to be partisan, but at least in our utterances we should give Nigerians hope that this country will be together and that we must unite and we must collectively forge ahead to develop our country.”
Jonathan said he was optimistic that in his conduct, utterances, actions and inactions, Alkali would portray good character, a character that politicians and young people would use as role models.”
While congratulating his new political adviser, Jonathan urged the appointee not to disappoint him and all Nigerians.
“As the political adviser, you are like the group managing director to Mr. President on political issues. You are not new; you took us round the whole country during our 2011 campaigns. So, you are already a well-known person. You have worked as a member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). You are a very mature person,” the president said.
While swearing-in three permanent secretaries and one member of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Simon Etim, Jonathan charged them to wield the big sticks to ensure discipline when the need arises in the civil service.
“What people complain about these days is the lowering of academic standards that consequently lowers the quality of the service. I believe you have the courage to discipline people under you whose conduct do not reflect what is expected of a good public officer.
“One of the key problems we have in the service is that unlike in those days when people were given queries, these days the impunity is so high that nobody queries anybody.
“In a system where you don’t have queries that means that there is no quality control. In a factory producing any good, if there is no quality control, definitely the product will lack the desired quality.
“So as permanent secretaries, you must have the courage to query your directors, deputy and assistant directors if you think they have done things that deserve queries.
“If you need to refer to the Federal Civil Service Commission guidelines, you should do so because without discipline as a nation, we cannot go anywhere,” he said
On the Civil Service Commission, the president said it was “key and we want to change the mentality in this country that a young Nigerian must know somebody in power before he can get a job.
“The present civil service commission is doing very well and I believe you are joining them to also imbibe the culture that people who are qualified for employment should get it irrespective of who they know.
“No matter how highly placed you are as the president, the vice-president, members of the National Assembly, we were voted by all Nigerians. So we all owe all Nigerians our service and of course we must make sure that whatever is available in this country goes to everybody irrespective who he knows.
“That is the key and that is the message and the key component of our transformation agenda,” the president added.