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In Nigeria, the beginning of reforms may be traced back to the time when the country was under colonial control. In point of fact, the colonial authority made a number of initiatives between the years 1941 and 1947 to revamp and restructure the Nigeria Civil Service (Anifowose 2020). Reforms range from those that are quite broad in scope to those that are extremely limited. In point of fact, “every administration in Nigeria from the beginning placed the topic of administrative reform on its agenda,” according to one source. (Obasi, 2020). The process of reform may be divided into a number of different stages, beginning with the recognition of a problem and continuing through their execution and assessment. To reform, on the other hand, is to improve anything by making changes to it, whether it be a system, an organization, or a law; or to make a modification that can be made to a social system, organization, or anything else in order to improve or fix it. [From the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 7th edition, published in 2005]. This indicates that “reforms” have the intention of transforming, restoring, rebuilding, amending, improving, removing deficiencies from, redressing, and bringing a better way of life into existence. According to what it seems to imply, it suggests that the reforms of the civil service were/are designed to modify, alter, and repair the service, as well as make it better regardless of what the existing issue may have been in any particular age or time (Obasi, 2020).

From the time before independence till after it, Nigeria has carried out a variety of administrative reforms. On October 1, 1960, Nigeria became a fully independent nation after adopting a constitution that called for a parliamentary form of government and granted a significant degree of autonomy to each of the country’s three regions. This event is significant in the country’s history. Since that time, numerous commissions have been established to investigate and make recommendations regarding the reform of the civil service. These commissions include the Tudor Davies commission in 1945, the Harragin commission in 1946, the Gorsuch commission in 1954, the Mbanefo commission in 1959, the Morgan commission in 1963, the Adebo commission in 1971, and the Udoji commission between 1972 and 1974. (Maduabum , 2019). The adoption of a new constitution in 1979 that was based on the one used in the United States marked a significant turning point. In 1985, a commission led by Dotun Philips made an effort to restructure the public service system. The 1988 Civil Service Reorganization Decree that was proclaimed by General Ibrahim Babangida had a significant influence on the organization of the Civil Service in previous years as well as the efficiency with which it operated.

After decades of military dictatorship, on May 29, 1999, Olusegun Obasanjo began a process of slow and methodical reform and reorganization of the 1999 Civil Service. This process began after decades of military administration. Despite this, the civil service continues to be seen as being unmoving and ineffective, and the efforts that have been made in the past by committees have had little to no impact.

The efficiency implications that the civil service reforms in Nigeria had brought to the service from the time before independence up till the present day are the primary subject of this research.

On the other hand, the focus would be placed on the changes that Olusegun Obasanjo has implemented since 1999. This is due to the fact that the reform that took place in 1999 was the first civilian reform that took place following a lengthy period of military rule.


The history of Nigeria demonstrates that it is a multi-ethnic society, which is distinguished by distinct values, ethics, customs, and attitudes towards politics. This is shown by the fact that there are over 250 recognized ethnic groups in the country. Because of the diversity that exists throughout the nation, the research will center on and investigate the inefficiency with which the public sector responds in a timely and efficient manner to the objectives it has set for itself (Obasi, 2020).

In addition, from the time of the colonial era right up to the present day, the civil service has had to deal with a variety of challenges on a daily basis. These challenges include the following:

Inadequate Remuneration: In practice, this indicates that not only should government servants be sufficiently compensated, but also that their wages should be consistent. Given the country’s current precarious financial state and the country’s skyrocketing cost of living, the salary that is now being offered in the Nigerian public sector has become drastically insufficient (Maduabum ,2019).

Contrary to the Weberian merit standards that were hypothesized, it has been alleged that recruitment into the public service is based on considerations other than competence and merit. The federal character policy is the most apparent example of such a factor.

Misapplication of Rules/Over-Rigidity in Applying Rules Due to the hierarchical design of the Nigerian public service, which is in accordance with the Weberian model, authority is concentrated at the top. Misapplication of Rules and Over-Rigidity in Applying Rules Even officers in the management cadre are not permitted to take the initiative on any problems that are brought to their attention by their subordinates. Right from below, there is a fear of taking action, which is why buck passing is the norm in the civil service. Since most matters are eventually always referred to the highest authority in the ministry or department for action or decision, this is because there is a fear of taking action right from below.

It will be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain the best performance from employees in a service that is characterized by fear of loss of job. According to Weber, the ideal type of bureaucracy is characterized by a career system in which there is security of tenure. “civil servants as a whole regard their greatest benefit as being job security and pensions.”


The general objectives of the study  is to evaluate the factors responsible for the civil service reforms in Nigeria. The specific objectives are as follows:

i.          To find out the factors responsible for the civil service reform in Nigeria.

ii.        To examine the effect of the civil service reform on the workers .

iii.      To analyze the challenges of the government in carrying out the civil service reform.


The following question have been prepared for the study:

i.          What are the factors responsible for the civil service reform in Nigeria?

ii.        What is the effect of the civil service reform on the workers?

iii.      What are  the challenges of the government in carrying out the civil service reform?


The intent of this study is to examine the centrality of the civil service to the realization of the objectives of the public policy in Nigeria. It is also undertaken in order to eradicate existing problems and also, this study will serve as a form of reference to further studies in the social sciences and management disciplines.

The study will be significant to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.


The study will find out the factors responsible for the civil service reform in Nigeria. The study will also examine the effect of the civil service reform on the workers . lastly, the study will analyze the challenges of the government in carrying out the civil service reform. Hence this study is delimited to the civil service commission Abuja.


Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.


Civil service : a term designating the civil administrative personnel of the public authorities.

Civil service reform : a package of policy measures and, like any other measures reforms it has set goals which it aims at achieving. The institution of reform measures in administrative machinery presupposes the existence of some administrative deficiencies.


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