The Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, have identified corruption as a major threat to Nigeria’s socio-economic growth, public trust and rule of law.
Governor Akeredolu and Prof Owasanoye made this known on Thursday in Akure, Ondo State, at the commissioning of the anti-graft agency’s prototype State Office Building by the governor.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Princess Catherine Oladunni Odu, advocated collective efforts between the Federal Government and the sub-nationals to mitigate the spread of corruption across every sector of the economy.
“It goes without saying that corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of our national lives and it, therefore, requires collective efforts to mitigate its spread across every sector,” Akeredolu said.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that corruption is yet a general malaise in Nigeria, thus undermining public trust in our institutions, hampering adherence to the rule of law and limiting socio-economic and political advancements.”
He also emphasised the need for all Nigerians to come together in order to continue to stem the pervasiveness of corruption in the country.
He further expressed the determination of the state government to reduce corruption to the barest minimum as well as provide support to the ICPC to achieve its mandate.
In addition, the governor counselled on the need to embrace a preventive approach in the fight against corruption, particularly in carrying out more awareness campaigns, seminars and time-to-time interactive engagement of state and non-state actors to drive anti-corruption policies in the state.
“This approach will lead to swift and efficient handling of corruption cases,” Gov. Akeredolu added.
In his welcome address, the ICPC Chairman stated that corruption poses a great impediment to the socio-economic growth and development of any nation.
“Corruption does not only blight the country’s reputation among the comity of nations, but also impedes the flow of foreign direct investments and a challenge to national security.
“At the sub-national level, corruption is responsible for the challenges of meeting the primary obligation of government to citizens which is the security and wellbeing of the people,” he said.
Prof Owasanoye assured that the Commission would offer support to states in tackling corruption.
“The Commission will support the Ondo State Government and any other state to deal with the hydra-headed monster, particularly in prevention, leveraging our systems study and review and corruption risk assessment tools to identify all vulnerabilities to corruption within the systems, and implementing corruption prone procedures that aid and facilitate fraud and exploitation of the system by unscrupulous public and civil servants and their private sector allies,” he added.
The ICPC boss disclosed that the Commission had also embarked on several initiatives that focus on combating the menace of corruption, thereby entrenching transparency and accountability in public systems to ensure that the benefits of good governance cascade to the grassroots.
According to him, the Commission’s Constituency and Executive Project Tracking Initiative (CEPTi) has demonstrated the imperative of citizen participation, open governance and inclusivity in the implementation of the country’s budget as it affects the people, as well as the need for transparent procurement processes that should engender value for money.
“Our National Ethics & Integrity Policy (NEIP) initiative driven in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency, and the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, is geared towards addressing the decline of national values. The NEIP speaks to seven Core Values: Human Dignity, Voice and Participation, Patriotism, Personal Responsibility, Integrity, National Unity, and Professionalism.
“It will ensure national cohesion, law and order, security, and safety of person and property, freedoms and duties as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he stated.