By Adeola Badru
The Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offenses (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye on Tuesday, said corruption is the greatest obstacle to development and an existential threat to unity.
He said, it also destroys ethical and moral values, compromises security, justice ad rule of law, deprives citizens of economic, social and constitutional right.
The ICPC boss, stated this in Ibadan, while, speaking at a training workshop organized for management and staff of the Oyo State Anti-Corruption Agency (OYACA), held at the Premier Hotel, Ibadan.
Delivering a lecture on the topic: “Leading with the Integrity: Pointers for Corruption Free- Agency, the ICPC Chairman said, corruption was endemic in Nigeria and could not be eradicated by ICPC and EFCC alone, while urging members of OYACA not to use their offices as an opportunity to make more money, saying that doing so would tarnish their image and that of the agency.
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Mr Owasanoye called on officials of OYACA not to compromise or act at liberty to break the law, saying it was one of the problems destroying the country.
“People that will come to you are very influential, be courageous, determined and don’t disappoint the agency.”
“Corruption is the greatest obstacle to development and an existential threat to unity. It destroys ethical and moral values, compromises security, justice ad rule of law, deprives citizens of an economic, social and constitutional right.”
“Leadership competence ad corruption impactful to development in mutually reinforcing ways.”
“Leadership vacuum in Nigeria is caused by the corrupt and violent atmosphere for leadership emergence.”
Owasanoye, however, proffered pointers for leading by example which are, having no expectations of reward or gratitude for a work done, focussing on basic needs of office and of life and not for vanities.
“Be courageous and ready to speak truth to power,” he said
While declaring the workshop open, Governor ‘Seyi Makinde, who was represented at the event by the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, said no provision in the OYACA laws would go against the dictates of the federal laws, as the case between the Ondo State and the Attorney-General of the Federation was the watershed for the creation of the State anti-corruption laws.
He indicated that the law that established the State Anti-Corruption Agency (OYACA) was inconsistency with the federal laws that gave birth to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offenses (ICPC) and other federal agencies established to fight graft.
He hinted that OYACA became imperative because many cases were brought in the open when the present administration came on board and personnel of the state was required to make court appearances at Abuja and other parts of the country, which he said was expensive and the fight had to be domesticated because corruption has become endemic in the society.
Gov. Makinde, therefore, called for the passage of the whistle-blower laws by the House of Assembly, which he said, would make investigation and prosecution of cases of corruption speedy and seamless.
“The constitutional competence of the State to fight corruption rested squarely in the provision of the law and there exists no provision in OYACA laws that tie the hands of any federal anti-corruption agency.”
“OYACA law is consistent with the fundamental objectives of the federal laws, which are instruments created to fight graft and block loopholes where public resources are stolen or mismanaged.”
“We appreciate the ICPC for this collaboration to stem the tide of graft in our society and cause a lot of loss to the government and the people of the State, there is also the urgent need to pass the whistle-blower bill into law to aid the speed and smoothness of investigation and prosecution.”
He charged the OYACA to be resolute in advancing the course of fighting graft and mismanagement of public resources, saying the work is tough and there would be many enemies against the agency.
“Corruption is so systemic and endemic that I am persuaded that it is pertinent that States can also work in fighting this scourge, the need for the fight to end corruption cannot be over-emphasized because corruption is debilitating to progress and advancement of the State and Nigeria as a whole.”
“This work is a tough nut to crack, you are not going to have many friends, but what do you care, if your interest is to serve the State and the people?’” he asked.
The Chairman, OYACA, Hon. Justice Eni Esan in her address of welcome appreciated the extension of hands of support from the Anti-corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN), a sub-agency under the ICPC, located at Keffi, Nasarawa State.
She exuded joy at the collaboration, geared towards training board members and staff of the agency and urged the trainees to make good use of the content of the workshop in order to enhance capacity of the personnel.
She appreciated Governor Makinde for reposing huge confidence in the agency and board members to win the fight against corruption in the state.
Apart from the ICPC Chairman, Prof. Boloaji Owasanoye who spoke on the topic ‘Leading with Integrity to Achieve a Corrupt-Free Agency’, other facilitators include Prof. Sola Akinrinade, who spoke on ‘Building Stakeholder Support for Anti-Corruption and Partnering with other ACAs’.
Other facilitators include Prof. Olatunde Babawale, Dr. Bala Mohammed, Barr. Akeem Lawal fsi, Mr Richard Bello, as well as Mrs. Olubunmi Akinriande.
Also present at the workshop were top management members of Oyo State Ministry of Justice and OYACA, led by the Secretary of the board, Alhaji Ibrahim Oyemonla Tijani.
Oyo State Anti-corruption Agency (OYACA) board was inaugurated on the 24th of December, 2020 by Governor Seyi Makinde with the mandate for members to work towards putting a stop to acts of misuse of public resources through investigation of cases of corruption and eventual prosecution.
The training was a result of collaboration between OYACA and the ICPC.