Your Time is not your own: The Price of Public Service!

by Rev. Uche Dr. Obodoechina

Public servants are strictly those men and women in our public offices and departments at the local, state, and federal government levels. They are workers of the government working in the various ministries, departments, units and parastatals etc. They are vested with the responsibility for the common good.

In summary, public services are for the provision of the common good. In a loose sense of the word, public service has to do with general services rendered to the public. It is the service rendered by all in service of all. It is that services upon which the life of the entire society depends.

In other words, any job done at any place by' anybody for the proper functioning of the society could be termed public service in the extended sense of the concept. In this sense, we are all responsible for one another. No one person's job or services is said to be of no significance. They are all important without which the society lacks.

But our attention is focused on those carrier public services paid for by the government at all levels of its operation. It is about those occupying the big and small places in government establishments vested with the duties of ensuring order, continuity and bureaucracy in the service.

The operations of the various ministries and agencies of the government in our country for the purposes of the common good, leaves a lot of bitter taste in the mouth. It is horrible to visit most public offices in Nigeria. Things appear as if there are no operating guidelines. People seem to have no sense of direction and duty.

The public service rules and regulations seem not to be in function. People come in and go away. There is certainly too much of movement without a corresponding result in actual work done. The recklessness in most of our public offices and the corresponding dereliction of duty makes our public services largely unproductive.

Yet each staff of the establishments would want to be paid at the end of the month. It does not matter whether one has produced one's salary or not. It is important that men and women who have the privilege of serving the public in such capacities be aware of the nobility of their services to the people.

Let them remember that their time is not their own. It is the time of service to the people. It is only when one has served and done one's duty to the public, that one has one' own time. A good number of our public servants have stolen not only time for work but also goods belonging to the public and appropriated same as their individual properties.

Yet they are ever in need. Is it not yet clear to us that we cannot continue to cheat the public and prosper at our individual levels always? There is always a god that keeps record of our conducts. It is good to know that we shall never be satisfied with having acquired this or that without an inner sense of satisfaction with what belongs to us legitimately.

Look at the thieves that continue to steal, they are never satisfied. Look at the politicians who empty our national treasury into their leaking pockets; they will forever seek more. Their pockets will forever be leaking. And so the way out of the labyrinth is to be contented with what belongs to you.

The god of the public goods and services will forever ask for what belongs to the public. And again, good and honest servants will forever be rewarded, while punishment and chastisement awaits dubious and dishonest servants!

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