What most people refer to as public administration is the implementation of government policies, these include; the planning, organizing, directing and government operations control. No matter the system of government practiced in a country, public administration is a permanent feature; this shows its importance in the day-to-day running of the government of any state.
Public administration in Nigeria can be traced to the pre-colonial era. However, it’s evolution as a field of practice can be traced to the British indirect system of administration created in the 1990s.The British officials dominated and controlled the Nigeria administrative machinery until 1960; country’s independence. Nigeria as a multi-ethnic nation has experienced different forms of government and administrative reforms that had continued to affect the evolution of public service up to date. Nigeria as of today operates a centralized Federal government made up of 36 states and 774 local governments that consist of multi-ethnic and multi-religious groups,[diversity]. As stated earlier, the origin of public administration in Nigeria dates back to the pre-colonial era; this period, the three main regions, ”Northern, Eastern and Western” had traditional mechanisms for administering themselves. British colonialists under the control of Lord Lugard; administratively united Northern and Southern protectorates including the Lagos colony in 1914 as part of the colonial service, dominated by the Europeans whom themselves invested the executive, judiciary and legislative powers and later traditional .
By 1946, to eliminate problems arising from the implementation of a centralized budgetary system, the three regional governance structures referred to earlier were created along with a revenue commission. These regions in turn created their civil service following the adoption of a federal system in 1954 and the creation of a Public service commission at the center.
At independence, the civil service bestowed on Nigeria by the British lacked accountability and transparency because it was narrowly structured for the successful of financial and material resources needed in Britain. By 1963, Nigeria adopted a new constitution and proclaimed herself the Federal Republic. The heterogeneous nature of the country during the early post-independence, public administration paved way for various kinds of local governance practiced by the different governments; both civilian and military although the civil service that emerged after independence became more involved in formulating and executing public programs, also economic development policies.
Most of the socio-economic problems in the country during the 1960s may have been as a result of a weak Federal government and strong Regional government. The regional crises were a major reason for the military to take over the government in 1966. Public administration, after it has been broken down from regional to state level and then to local government as we have them today; had been facing lots of difficulties, which in turn has impeded its growth and improvement. These problems include: bribery and corruption, the paucity of training, rigidity and red tapes, inefficient leadership and poor remuneration; These problems are impediments to the growth of public administration in Nigeria, which has return taken a toll on national development, ‘As the saying goes ”a good public administration” is a light to national development’.
Conclusively, the state of decay in which the Nigerian public service exists is straddling development. In other for development to come! There is need for rearrangement of the public service in Nigeria in the following manners; ‘effective leadership, empowering anti-corruption institutions, human capital development, improved salaries/welfare, introduction and improvement of modern technology (ICT), mitigation of crimes and insecurities among others’.