To The New Generation Of Public Officers Edith C. Yassin


Before you become a public office holder, you must realise that the people or citizens are your employers.


They have a right to ask you questions and comment on your actions or inactions. It is a given.


Thereafter, it is up to you, as a public office holder to conduct and portray yourself the way you want to be seen and perceived.

In many developed countries, image management is a thriving industry with intellectuals and technocrats as drivers.


In Nigeria, public office holders see themselves as demigods and not accountable to the citizens. In recent times a commissioner in Kogi state has been accused of beating and sexually abusing a lady for commenting about his life style via social media.


Many ignorant people said she deserved what she got for not minding her business. Governance social contract however, tells us that every public servant is the citizens’ business. It is only when citizens hold public officials to account that a developed nation is birthed.


Accountability, transparency and information sharing are tools that shape reality and perception.


If as a public office holder you shun all opportunities to interact with citizens, act aloof and believe you owe allegiance only to your primary desk, even when you are aware of negative perceptions, then you have no one to blame but yourself.


As more citizens become aware of their role in governance and democracy, the charade of many charlatans and sycophants as media aides will come to an end.


The biggest public relations stunt of all is results. When citizens have constant and affordable electricity, taps that run, safe public schools, accessible healthcare, easy transportation and trusted security, no one needs tell them that public office holders are working.


Even Nazis who ran concentration camps had family and friends who saw their loving humane sides. The world though, knows them as murderous evil men. These are facts of life. Actions and inactions have consequences. They were to all intent and purposes public officers.


When you hold public office, trust has to be earned. It cannot be conjured. Once you step up for public office be ready for scrutiny and more, it comes with the job. Do not pretend otherwise.


Citizens worry daily about basic needs that are yet to be met in this 21st century. They care little about you, unless you hold their commonwealth in trust.


Public office is not an opportunity to enrich yourself, family and friends. It is a chance to serve your community, your country, selflessly.

So that when you depart, your good works will be too glaring to be denied.






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