Good Ethics and Values, Most Formidable Weapons Against Corruption – ICPC Boss

The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, OFR has identified good ethics and values as the most formidable weapons in the fight against corruption.

The ICPC Boss stated this at a public lecture and presentation of a compendium to mark the end of the tenure of Dr. Momodu Sikiru Olukayode as Registrar of Yaba College of Technology (YabaTech) held at the College premises in Lagos recently.

Professor Owasanoye, who also noted that good ethics and values are veritable building blocks for development, appreciated some higher institutions of learning like Yabatech for their invaluable contributions to building individuals and communities.

The ICPC Boss, who was represented at the event by the Director Systems Study and Review Department, Barrister Abbia Udofia, explained that a balance of Law and Ethics was needed to sustain any society. 

According to him, “Law alone cannot sustain any society. The law regulates the behaviour and actions, and inactions of individuals, entities, and the society itself. The law presents the structure and mechanisms for controlling the behaviour of individuals, including public officials. The law ensures accountability, compliance, or adherence. Ethics, on the other hand, examines the morality and basis of conduct and decision-making. It probes questions such as the rightness, acceptability, and justness of an action. The gradient, gradation or shades of ethics determine how far or decent and developed society would be”.

While opining on the approaches to reforming the public service, the ICPC Chairman observed that responsible conduct by public officials and transparent and accountable use or deployment of public resources would gravitate to the changes demanded by international best practices and the promotion of good governance.  

Speaking on the initiatives of the Commission that engender the promotion of good governance, Prof. Owasanoye said preventive measures such as systems study and review and corruption risk assessment have helped to identify vulnerabilities in public systems and suggest ways to mitigate or eliminate them.  

He listed other initiatives of the Commission that foster good ethics and values as; the National Values Curriculum, National Ethics & Integrity Policy (NEIP), the Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard (EICS), Anti-Corruption and Transparency Units (ACTUs) as well as the Constituency and Executive Project Tracking initiative, amongst others.

Furthermore, he stated that ethical leadership was highly fundamental to building and sustaining any ethical culture as it provides vision and leads by example.

“To sustain ethical culture and good governance, leaders must forge ethical environments; mentor subordinates; ignite and nourish creativity; innovation; firmness; fairness; respect; diligence and hard work. It also involves inspiring, rewarding, recognizing, and sanctioning subordinates as appropriate. He added.

Owasanoye stated that criminalising ethical breaches is very important in fostering ethical values in public office, saying civic responsibilities such as paying taxes, responsiveness to distress calls, reporting corrupt practices and other crimes were all ethical and moral obligations that build the ethical environment and climate permissible for good governance and enabling businesses, commerce, infrastructure, investments, and tourism.