SDEISC ;AN UNTAPPED DIRECTORATE WITH POTENTIALS

SDEISC, AN UNTAPPED DIRECTORATE WITH POTENTIALS
.. By Roseline Etukudo

Created in 2006 as documented in the obsolete Approved Scheme of Service for Local Government Employees in Nigeria, Fourth Revised Edition(2006).
Social Development, Education, Information, Sports and Culture (SDEISC) Directorate was before now a mono department called Adult Education while other Units in today’s SDEISC directorate were simply schedules of duties parcelled under the “General Services” of the Administration department.

The creation of the Social Development, Education, Information, Sports and Culture Directorate in 2006 shrank the scope of “General Services ” attached to Administration Directorate as many of its duties were now transferred to the newly amalgamated units in SDEISC.

Unlike other directorates (as documented in the Approved Scheme of Service For Local Government Employees Fourth Edition 2006) SDEISC’s nomenclature is structured to reflect the individual units that make up the Directorate. The stringing of five units at a stretch awards it the burden of the department with the longest name whenever it is mentioned.

THE MAKING OF SDEISC

Aside from the Health Department that also has direct duties with the rural dwellers because of the live- saving services its different units render, SDEISC is the next epicenter of the very essence that the third tier of government was created.This department is unique and is community- based. Duties and strength of each unit in the Directorate resonate within and around members and activities of the rural dwellers.

The Adult Education unit , before its merger and subsequent creation of the SDEISC Directorate in 2006, was an autonomous department operational in Local Government Service.
This department was and is still saddled with the responsibility of engaging willing adults members in communities in a systematic and sustained self-educating activities in order to gain new forms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, or values.
The potentials of this unit, if properly utilized, will help reduce the level of illiteracy in the rural community.

The sad reality is that successive administrators have tactically” keep in view” for eternity demands to revive and mobilize this unit for full implementation of their official duties. Rural dwellers who would have had the opportunity of learning have been denied because adult education centres are no longer operational in their communities despite the fact that in the offices at the Local Government councils Secretariats there is abundance of Personnel to perform this duty

Looking through the scheme of service that established Social Welfare, Community Development, Youth and Sports units, it is conspicuous that duties and functions of these threesome are community based as they have more official dealings with rural dwellers.

originally, the strength of these units span beyond the confine of the council Secretariat. These units were designed to interact frequently with the rural dwellers. As important as the duties of these units may be , the deafening neglect these units enjoy in the comity of units in the Local Government service calls for concern.

Social welfare, Community Development, Youth and Sports Units are the most under utilized within the Directorate . Their fates are made worse with the fact that their existence is considered new in the local Government system. As it is common experience whenever something new is created, these units are faced with the challenges of getting their full operational right from the “General Services” grip.

Many administrators collaborate with Administration and General Services Department to usurp the duties of these units. Such duties as the supervising and co-ordinating the activities of voluntary and social organizations., organising of Remembrance Day Celebration and sale of emblems, taking responsibility for activities and organising of Nigeria Children’s Day celebration , coordinating students and youths in the Local Government Area for state and federal functions and advising the local government on social welfare and community Development policies and programmes.
The strangest fact is that the units heads in the Directorate, in most cases, cannot point to an official table let alone an office space alloted to them. This happens in almost all the councils.

The Information Unit being part of SDEISC Directorate is not left out. In most cases, Information Officers in the councils have been reduced to “microphone Information officers ” whose only official duty is to introduce dignitaries at council’s ceremonies while other duties of an information officer in so many councils have been usurped either by the Personal Assistant (PA) to the chairman on media or admin officers.

The woes of SDEISC Directorate are compounded by the fact that fifteen years after its creation , its Headship is still opened to staff of other Directorates such as health and administration as consolation position, the reason being that most of the original staff in the Directorate are low in grade levels and as such are not qualified to be appointed Directors.

Not undermining the capacity of those so far privileged but the inherent fact remains that it would have been better and more productive if the Directorate was left in the hands of core staff just like it is obtained in other directorates.

It is noteworthy that, out of the five units that make up Social Development, Education, Information, Sports and Culture Directorate, only two are entitled to official monthly imprest (Adult Education and Information units). The remaining three are left out.

The composition of SDEISC Directorate has placed it on a disadvantaged radar in the Local Government administration. Despite enormous and demanding duties, SDEISC receives the most pauperized budgetary allocation every financial year across all councils.
Stakeholders in the Local Government Service have done very little to position the Directorate for full actualization of her set duties. This glaring marginalization of Social Development, Education, Information, Sports and Culture (SDEISC) Directorate in the affairs of Local Government administration has automatically relegated it to the background.
The reality is that this has negative psychological effect on staff of these units who would have loved to be engaged to full extent of their duties as documented.

Though its establishment is a little awkward considering the perceived wrong amalgamation of non-related units , the idea behind its creation must have been lofty. If duties of the five units are fully maximized, it would a boost to the local Government system

Stakeholders and authority involved should as a matter of urgency conduct a correctional surgery on SDEISC. It will not be out of place if the Directorate is restructured and repositioned for effective and positive output. Considering the importance of coordinated Information apparatus for good governance in the three tiers of Government , it is advisable that stakeholders meet to revise the already served -out Approved Scheme of Service for Local Government Employees in Nigeria, Fourth Revised Edition (2006) to upgrade information unit to a full fledged Directorate as obtained in the Federal and State level of Government.
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