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SGF seeks effective corporate governance to halt unprofessional conducts

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Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha has urged state governments and organisations that are yet to imbibe the tenets of corporate governance to do so as soon as possible to halt appetite for unprofessional conducts in public and private sectors.

Mustapha stated this in Abuja at the 2nd annual national governance conference organised by the Association of Corporate Governance Professionals of Nigeria (ACGPN).

According to the SGF, who was represented by a director in the SGF office, Jamiu Abukareem opined that effective cooperation in regulating trade governance and business would diminish threats to the nations common survival.

While admitting that regulation alone was not enough, he stressed the need for large-scale acceptance of the principles.

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He added: “Legislation and sanctions for infringements alone cannot always ensure that wise attitudes are translated into lasting action. The issue is more complex, and there is always a need for human, technical and economic resources to study and assess the best options for the implementation of corporate governance principles across the country.”

Mustapha, who argued that good governance was always a contentious topic, noted that the way public institutions manage public affairs and resources was something that draws controversy and criticism.

His words: “As public officials, employers and employees, we have the duty of protecting not only our integrity but also that of the government. We owe it to the Nigerian people to have integrity. It means we cannot be bribed, bought, swayed, coerced, or made to do something that does not adhere to the highest moral standards.

“Integrity, also known as moral uprightness and strong adherence to honesty and fairness, is closely linked to ethics. Integrity also refers to wholeness and completeness. When a person commits something unethical, in a sense he or she also loses his or her wholeness. There is damage already done to a person’s character.

“As much as possible, we would want to maintain our integrity. We cannot afford to do something that would damage it. Some people may think that they maintain their integrity by keeping their wrongdoings a secret. Exposed or not, however, they have already damaged their integrity. After all, integrity involves doing the right thing even if nobody sees you.

“Our government may be measured by the history of its words and actions. This is how our people gauge our integrity. I hope all of us here will be part of the best moments of our government’s history – moments that champion integrity instead of destroying it. That is a challenge that I hope all of us will be eager to accept.

“We always hear the phrase ‘public office is a public trust’. Working in government is different because we are not only looking out for ourselves or for our organization. Our focus is delivering services for the benefit of our main clientele – the Nigerian people. We are primarily here to serve, and not to be served.

“Needless to say, we will always be answerable to our own actions. When that time comes, I hope we will be able to account for what we have done truthfully and straightforwardly.”

He said that the web of corruption has different layers, many tentacles, and may spread like a virus if not contained.

“If we all do our little part, however, we create opportunities to nip corrupt practices in the bud. People say it is a hopeless case, but I say it is a work in progress. Let us not be disheartened by criticism. Instead, let us take our jobs seriously, and be responsible and accountable.

“Key to accountability is ethics, and has been defined in a variety of ways. In general, it is identified as “the branch of philosophy that deals with issues of right and wrong in human affairs”. Ethics also “refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtue.”

In his welcome address, ACGPN President, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, said if public and private sectors adhere to the principles of cooperate governance, Nigeria could achieve its goal faster and less expensive.

He noted that poor cooperate governance was ailing Nigeria, saying the nation’s accountability level was below the international standard.

On her part, Head of Service of the Federation (HOS), Winifred Oyo-Ita, who blamed failure in the banking sector on weak cooperate governance, said Nigeria must prioritize ICT for proper realization of cooperate governance.

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