By Bennett Oghifo
I ntegrity is critical to Nigeriaâ€™s socio-economic development, Tunde Ogunsakin, Assistant Inspector General of Police (Rtd) has said. Ogunsakin, who was the Chief Host/Chairman at the Nigerian Association of Christian Journalists (NACJ) awards night, held at the Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos, recently, said â€œIf things are done in the right way, the propensity to advance socially and economically will be enhanced and incidences of fraud will be minimal.
â€œWe should demand from our leaders, high standard of propriety and services, good conscience, which are common enemies of want, disease, and poverty, which are the enemies of the common man.â€
He said the Nigerian people expect more dedication and transparency from their leaders to fight the scourge of want and divisiveness, saying that the incidence of mass poverty permeated the Nigerian society.
Ogunsakin advised everybody who intends to pursue integrity to â€œstrive to be the same person in front of the crowd as you are behind the scene. As the pressure is on, what is inside always comes out. It is at the point of crises that the true self comes out.â€
According to Ogunsakin, â€œYou can get to the top without integrity, in fact you can get there faster, but you canâ€™t stay at the top long without integrity.â€
AIG Ogunsakin, who was the Integrity Man of the Year 2013/2014, stated that NACJ award was a platform through which personalities who have distinguished themselves by showing high level of integrity are celebrated.
He said it was heartwarming that the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari was being honoured with â€œIntegrity Woman of the Year 2018â€, adding â€œwherever you find a great man you will find a great woman standing behind him.
â€œIt is, therefore, not surprising that our mother, Mrs. Aisha Buhari is standing behind His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, a man who both nationally and internationally is recognised as a man of integrity in all areas.â€
He said the NACJ also found other Nigerians worthy of receiving the award, listing some of them: Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari; and Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere.
Other recipients included: Senator Ben Murray-Bruce; Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, former governor of Abia State; Mrs. Usiholo, Esele Judith of NNPC-NAPIMS; Mrs. Christianah Abosede Akindolie, Founder of Chritianah Fate Foundation; Felix Chidi Idiga, MD/CEO JAFAC Group; Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah; Mr. Babatunde Wilkey, CEO, Meat Embassy; Comptroller Nike Oladuni of Nigerian Customs Service, among others.
Welcoming awardees and guests to the well-attended event, the Secretary General of NACJ, Mr. Charles Okhai said, â€œThe association is not a Christian body for Christians. We are Christians who are journalists that are pledging to promote the nation called Nigeria. So, we donâ€™t have religious divides.â€
He said the association does not give awards as core responsibility but that theirs was a crusade of sorts. â€œWe are making a statement that somebody is watching you somewhere. We specifically give this award to leaders who have been able to demonstrate that spirit of integrity. We donâ€™t claim that our recipients are perfect people- far from it- in fact there is no perfect man on this earth; no man is infallible.â€
He said, â€œWe give the award to people who have been able to show that sense of integrity, give them the award to further encourage them.â€
According to him, it would be difficult to curb corruption through arrests because â€œwe believe that corruption stems from human character and mindset. So, what we are trying to do is touch our mindset, so that when you are conscious of it, then it will just be your way of life.â€