The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, OFR, has charged Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of public agencies to develop the confidence and courage not to indulge in corruption even in the face of intimidation to compromise their integrity while discharging their official duties.
The Chairman gave this charge during a two-day anti-corruption training for norm and behaviour change organised for Chief Executive Officers of public agencies by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN), the training arm of the ICPC.
Professor Owasanoye noted that some of the excuses being given for indulging in corrupt practices were intimidations from external quarters, saying however that if one was not complicit, “the external forces will have nothing to hold on to or use against you.”
The ICPC boss also reminded the CEOs that the role and responsibility of a public servant was very critical in giving out information on what is going on as far as diminishing corruption in the system was concerned.
“One of the key things we need to look at is, what will be the consequences of the failure to act, to play our role or refusing to be an island of integrity. We need to look at what role we play in diminishing corruption in the system. We have to develop the confidence and courage to stand up to intimidation to compromise”.
He added that globally, the law and order approach alone has been discovered not to be enough to lead to social transformation and cure issues of corruption, hence, the Commission had been working in collaboration with stakeholders and other partners like MacArthur Foundation to design programmes around behavioural change.
“It is also interesting to know that the focus of our project and our approach is also in-line with the anti-corruption strategy of the country which also recognises the need for ethical orientation, and I think that nobody will deny that Nigeria is crying for ethical orientation in every aspects of our lives and not just in politics,” the Chairman said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Provost of the Anti-Corruption Academy, Professor Olatunde Babawale, stated that the training was organised in furtherance of the corruption prevention mandate of the ICPC in helping to build capacity in other aspects of the fight against corruption.
“In recognition of the importance of leadership in ensuring that corruption is diminished in the public sector, this present experience and knowledge sharing session is designed to support the CEOs of public agencies to understand how social norms are a double-edged sword that can either enhance or prevent corruption.’
“At the end of this session, CEOs should enjoy the benefit of being better placed to prevent corruption in their organisations and to prevent themselves from stepping on avoidable banana peels. The CEOs participating in this session should also leave with more heightened awareness of issues and principles that will strengthen their capacity to initiate and implement corruption prevention arrangements in their agencies,” he explained.