Corruption is a huge obstacle to Development, Ethical Values – ICPC Chairman

Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), has stated that corruption remains a major impediment to Nigeria’s progress and ethical principles.

Prof. Owasanoye made the announcement as a guest speaker at the Harvest Fields International’s Annual Making a Difference Leadership Seminar, which was hosted at the Events Centre on Agidingbi Road in Lagos.

The ICPC Chairman emphasized in his lecture, “Corruption and Integrity: Making the Difference Leadership Series,” that skewed procurement practices harm infrastructure development.

He said, “Corruption is the greatest obstacle to development and an existential threat to unity. It affects everyone and everything negatively and gravely.

“In the minimum, corruption destroys ethical and moral values; compromises security, justice and rule of law; deprives citizens of economic, social and constitutional rights; breeds distrust, mistrust, unemployment, violence; breeds poverty as it diverts resources from poverty reduction projects; hinders effective resource allocation and deployment, and fuels ethnic distrust and conflicts due to unjust resource allocation.”

The ICPC chief, on the other hand, outlined several corruption and integrity red flags that public-sector officials should be aware of or avoid. Public procurement, contract splitting, fiscal management skill, abuse of office or authority, and dissociation from reality are just a few of them.

He cited asset recovery from corrupt individuals as a critical tactic in the battle against corruption.

“It has become important to recover assets from corrupt individuals in order to prevent them from using funds taken from the public coffers. Our efforts are focused on recovering stolen assets and resources that will be utilised to aid the country’s growth.

“Millions of Nigerians suffering denial of basic social services and lack of infrastructures such as hospitals, schools, water and employment will receive succour when stolen assets are recovered from looters.”

In his advice to the seminar participants on how to make a difference in leadership while avoiding corrupt tendencies, the ICPC Chairman referenced various scripture verses.

The suggestions include: lowering expectations of reward or gratitude (Luke 17:10); having options and reminding oneself that he or she is not the only one who can do it (1 Kings 19:10); focusing on basic needs rather than the frills of life (1 Tim 6:8); ignoring praise singers who exaggerate someone’s importance to the system (John 6:25-26); foregoing a privilege or entitlement when in doubt (1 Cor. 6:12); conceding benefits to others

The Host and Senior Pastor of City Harvest Church, Rev. Abraham Akinola, noted earlier in his welcome remarks that the 2022 Leadership Seminar is aimed at creating a better society and delivering redemption for the country.

“It has been a long journey. This is the 16th Edition and is creating a better society. We shouldn’t be overwhelmed by our numerous challenges; we have Nigerians who have faced the challenges of our society and our guest speaker is one of them.

“We need to exert the influence of Christ more in our life and attitude to enable us preserve our nation. We, particularly, need the character of Christ in our life, choice of words, dress code and attitude in order to influence a change in our society,” Rev. Akinola said.

Prof. Assisi Asobie, past President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and Mr. Babajide Otitoju, Lead Researcher, TVC News, were among the other speakers at the Leadership Seminar.

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