ICPC Tasks Monarchs, Others to Promote Ethical Values, Behavioural Change

Fidelis David in Akure

The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practice and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof Bolaji Owasanoye (SAN) yesterday  charged traditional rulers, religious leaders and community-based Civil Society Groups to  deepen their partnership with ICPC in diminishing corruption and  promoting ethics values and behaviour change and building a better Nigeria for all.

The ICPC boss stated this at a one-day sensitisation dialogue with traditional rulers, religious leaders and civil society organisations on the national ethics and integrity policy, constituency and executive tracking initiative for positive  behavioural change, held in Akure the Ondo State capital.

Prof Owasanoye said as character moulders and champions of integrity and national development, traditional rulers, religious leaders and community based civil society organisations,  all play crucial roles in the development of  various communities, hence the need to seek their cooperation.

Owasanoye, represented by a board member of the commission, AIG Olugbenga Adeyanju (rtd) said: “The design and implementation of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy (NEIP) identifies and recognises you as critical stakeholders if the promotion of the policy is to be successful. As traditional rulers, you are royal fathers, custodians of traditional norms and values that project your communities and people as responsible people. As religious leaders, you our Pastors and Imams are not only spiritual guides but also moral compasses by which we measure the positive growth or otherwise of the society.

“As players in the civil society community, you are leaders in your own right with the task of standing as the voice of the voiceless to call attention of relevant authorities to the plight and conditions of the ordinary people of our rural communities. It is clear from all indications that you all form critical groups of those who are closest to the people at the grassroots and wield a great deal of influence in initiating and sustaining behavioural change amongst the people.

“After his Excellency president Muhammadu Buhari launched the National Ethics and Integrity Policy (NEIP) in September 2020, the first critical stakeholders the ICPC and its collaborating partners met with in the course of promoting the policy and canvassing their buy-in to enable a nationwide success in its promotion, was the National Council of Traditional Rulers at its meeting in the historic city of Kano. At that meeting I recall informing the council that the ICPC and its partners were going to ensure the campaign to sensitize various stakeholders on the NEIP was going to be continuous and will be at the National and sub-national levels.

“In keeping with that promise, throughout the year 2021, starting with the FCT we engaged all identified stakeholders in the project including traditional rulers, religious leaders, CSOs, NGOs, Youth Organisations, Women Groups, Professional Associations, Civil Servants and the media amongst others together at once to hold conversations on the best way to promote the policy. We took this to all other geo-political zones of the country thereafter. I must say the cooperation received from stakeholders was encouraging”, he stressed.

According to the ICPC chairman, the commission with the support of the MacArthur Foundation is engaging  stakeholders on how to promote behavioural change across the six geo-political zones and the FCT and to address areas of specific contributions expected from them as role models, nation builders, socio-economic and development influencers.

“So far in this present phase of the dialogue with this important stakeholder group, we have held this dialogue in fourteen states. This same dialogue holding today in Ondo State is also taking place with your colleagues in five other states of the federation, including the FCT, while that of Anambra State comes up on the 29” of September 2022.

In the course of the presentations and conversations that will be held here today, you will listen to revelations from the Constituency and Executive Project Tracking Initiative embarked upon by the ICPC since 2019 that perhaps will shock you, as you realise the extent to which corruption has short-changed all of us, especially the ordinary people of this country.

He enjoined the leaders to influence, use their  knowledge to bring about enduring positive behavioural change amongst their people, stressing that Nigerians are good people, thus shouldn’t allow the actions and attitude of a few bad eggs give the country bad name.

In his address,  the Resident Anti-Corruption Commissioner, ICPC, Ondo State, Mr Kupolati Kayode, said the dialogue was aimed at enthroning behavioral change and socioeconomic rebirth in the society, stressing that the role of Traditional rulers, Religious leaders and the CSOs is key in driving behavioral change and good governance in Nigeria.

“The Commission  needs your full support in the onerous fight against corruption in our nation. The people who perpetrate these acts are not aliens, they are our sons and daughters, followers, legislators, civil servants and contractors.

“A sensitisation of this nature with strategic stakeholders such as the MDAs CSOs and Religious/Traditional leaders will certainly help in spreading the anti-corruption message and also improve service delivery to Nigeria and Nigerians”, Kupolati added.

Earlier, the state Chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers and Deji of Akure kingdom, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade, represented by the Osemawe of Ondo kingdom, Oba Victor Kiladejo, thanked the ICPC for the initiative, charging them to always carry traditional institution along in order to stem the trend of corruption in the society.

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