Poor leadership and lack of integrity have been identified as major causes why corruption is taking a great toll on the development of Nigeria.
Retired Director of Mobilization at National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Chief Anthony Ani, stated this on Thursday in Abuja at a Radio Town Hall Meeting against corruption organized by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG), with the support of MacArthur Foundation.
Ani, while harping on the causes of low level of integrity in public service, said that lack of leadership towards integrity and loss of value by the Nigerian society were also part of reasons the public sector continues to underperform.
He also noted that flawed mode of appointment, promotions, ethics and religious factors were responsible for 70 percent of low rate of integrity and corruption in Nigeria’s public sector.
Ani therefore admonished parents to be the first in instilling integrity in their children, while calling Nigerians to prioritize the character and integrity of any person who wants to become a leader in the country.
In his words; “If we get the right people with high levels of integrity in leadership, it is going to move down the line because those who are under any leader are watching and seeing the character of the leader.
“If we are going to increase the level of integrity in our society and organizations, we have to look at who is the leader, what is the character of the leader and what level of integrity does this person have that you are appointing to lead others,” he said.
In his own comments, the Director of Publications, Nigerian Pilot Newspapers, Chuks Ohuegbe lamented that lack of accountability has eroded every facet of Nigeria’s economy from the appointment of personnel to the management of resources, adding that the primary effect of the rot is that livelihood of the citizens is at the lowest ebb.
Ohuegbe stated that legislators in states and at the federal level have failed in holding the executive arm of the government accountable, consequently the nation is now struggling with its set goals.
He said; “In the past ten years, we have hardly implemented 40% of our budget and nobody is asking questions. Every state has a legislator that has to keep an eye on the executive arm and their spending, but it is never done.
“The governors have pocketed the members of the state assemblies and here at the national, people play party politics. The media has to do more in holding government at all levels accountable and the nation needs more campaigns from Non-Governmental Organizations,” Ohuegbe stressed.
He also identified poor implementation of the law as a hindrance to bringing corrupt elements to book, while describing Nigeria’s judicial process as too slow and prone to being circumvented.
On his part, the Executive Director, African Centre for Entrepreneurship and Information Development, James Ugochukwu said; “organs of government like SERVICOM are not doing enough to promote accountability in the public sector and lack of effective oversight on the part of the Federal Government have emboldened public servants to steal from Nigeria.”
Ugochukwu called for persons of integrity to be celebrated but, however, blamed citizens for failing to hold leaders accountable and urged Nigerians to ensure credible election holds, which will in turn usher in a credible leader of integrity.
Speaking in turn, celebrated 2018 Integrity Icon awardee and Deputy Director at NYSC, Kehinde Aremu revealed that his upbringing was instrumental to the person he had become today, adding that he also expected that many public servants would have loved to be like him but fear being vilified by their contemporaries.
According to Aremu, impunity is a major enhancer of corruption in the public sector, hence called on the federal government to do more against corruption in public service.
He said that NYSC was putting modalities on ground to institutionalize probity and support against extortion and other forms of corruption.
The PRIMORG’s Town Hall Meeting Against Corruption series is aimed at calling on public and government attention to specific issues of corruption in Nigeria.