Authority: Sources of authority in the Nigerian Civil service

Authority is a broad concept and means different things to different scholars. But according to the civil service hand book authority is defined as the power given to a body or person or office holder by a superior to ensure that some definite objective is achieved. This means that whenever there is a task to accomplish or a goal to achieve and office holder or a person is assigned and given the power to achieve that.

Sources of authority in the civil service

  1. Constitution: a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed. In the case of Nigeria everything that must be done is to be done in line with the letters and the spirit of the Nigerian constitution. All rules and laws takes their bearing from the Constitution and what ever authority that is not in line with the Constitution must be jettisoned. The Constitution is the number one source through which a civil servant or a public officer can generate authority to operate.
  1. Public service Rule (PSR): The PSR Is a document that directs the activities and engagement of civil servants. Magbodelo (2020) sees PSR as a guide book that provides the operational framework,
    the regulatory principles and a charter of rights, privileges and duties of all public servants while detailing what sanctions erring conducts could attract. The PSR states in details areas covering recruitment, service and retirement. It is one of the sources through which civil servants can incure authority to act, rebuke or advice in order to achieve the objective of the civil service.
  2. Financial regulations: Finance is one thing the civil servant and the service cannot do without and there are always regulations to how public funds can be received, recorded and expended. Obasi 2015 defined financial regulations as a document , which provides the framework by which government’s finance and accounting procedures are regulated. The financial regulation is one important document that civil servants both those directly in accounts and any other department should consult constantly for authority to act.
  3. Circular letters: Wikipedia defined a circular letter is a written document that is addressed for circulation to a group of people. It is usually formal and official. It may be for a closed group or general distribution. Intermittently the Federal civil service commission, the office of the head of service or other relevant agencies release circular letters clarifying or giving instructions or directives concerning a certain matter; this circular letters convey authorities to certain official to act.
  4. Official Gazzettes: this is an official periodic publication that Contains vital notices to the Nigerian public servant. They could also mean list of recruited or promoted members of a certain extra ministerial department. This also is a major source through which a public servant can rely on to advise, direct and take action.


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