National Development: Lack of accountability major challenge, says Odeh
*As five public servants receive integrity icons award
The Country Director, of Accountability Lab Nigeria, Friday Odeh, has blamed the challenges bedevilling economic and national development on a lack of accountability and integrity.
The Accountability Lab boss also awarded five public servants Integrity Icons of the Year 2022 as part of his commitment to promoting integrity in the Nigerian public service sector space.
Odeh who stated this at the 6th edition of the Integrity Icon Awards, which was held recently in Abuja, stated that lack of integrity, which leads to corruption, inequality and insecurity, remains a serious challenge targeted at destroying the country.
He said that Nigeria needs to build strong institutions that can stand on their mandates to carry out the course for which they were established.
He further explained that Integrity Icon is a national campaign led by Accountability Lab Nigeria with support from Luminate Froup, Ford and MacArthur Foundations with the aim of celebrating and encouraging honest civil servants who demonstrate exemplary integrity in the course of discharging their duties.
Odeh said: “If you look at what is happening in election campaigns, none of the political candidates has put accountability at the forefront of their campaign, which is a big problem for us because it is now going back to show that we are having the same circle back and forth in lack of accountability in our community.
“The top five public servants that perform fantastically every year are rewarded. We have seen the DG of a procurement agency in Gombe State, which has moved the revenue from about N400,000 to N1.2 billion.
“Those are the kind of inspirational stories we want because they are beginning to tackle corrupt practices that happen in those kinds of sectors like contracting which is the foremost corrupt practice in Nigeria happening in almost every sector.
“But when you find people like that doing the right thing, we can save more money, we can ensure that quality service is delivered to citizens.”
In his remarks, former Statistician-General, Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Yemi Kale, said: “If you have integrity in selecting who you are putting in different places, Nigeria will move forward, but when you put wrong people in the wrong places, the country will keep moving back.
“I don’t think we are there yet; we still have a lot to do but I believe that some progress has been made in certain areas. In some other areas, we have moved backwards, in some other areas we have not moved at all.
“It depends on what you are looking at. Overall, we will say we have moved into the positive but it is not as much as we should have moved by now.
“In terms of my office, everybody has noticed that office has continued to work diligently in upholding the integrity that we tried to put in the system and to maintain the trust of the general public, which is important.”
Also, one of the Integrity Icon 2022 awardees, Mrs Mwalin Abdu from the Ministry of Justice, Gombe State, stated that she won the award through an advocate of gender-based violence.
“Because of my background, I handle a lot of cases of sexual and domestic violence.