From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Institute of Public Administration of Nigeria (IPAN) has neutralized the believe that its members in public service are responsible for high cases of corruption and financial mismanagement in the public service system.
The Institute said that its members have, rather, been on the forefront of fight against corruption, professionalism, accountability and transparency, leading the increased credibility and trust in public service system.
IPAN Registrar, Akin Olufowose, told journalists at the opening ceremony of the annual conference of the the Institute in Abuja, that IPAN has been at the driver’s seat of public service reform.
The Registrar said: “IPAN don’t hesitate to discipline any members found to have been involved in financial corruption or any other form of corruption, even before such person is presented to the court. In addition to that, we publish the person’s name as a dishonored member.
“We constantly remind our registered members of the burden of the image of the Institute which they represent, encouraging them always eschew any form of corruption in their dealings with the public.”
Olufowose lamented that IPAN members, particularly those in the public service system are working under serious fear because of the personal interest of some political office holders which, most often, run contrary to the established rules of engagement.
He said: “We always encourage our members to show high level of integrity and professionalism in their service to the public because we realized that low level of professionalism and poor interest have been responsible the poor services being receive at public sector.
“We have consistently asked that political office holders give our members the opportunity to work freely in line with established rules of engagement, while our members give proper advice to the government on public administrative systems.”
Keynote Speaker, Dr. Ukertor Gabriel, in a paper titled “Public Administrator: The crisis of professionalism, integrity and good governance”, observed that the institutional mechanism for controlling public administration in Nigeria are either weak or disregarded.
This, he said, has led to a crisis of professionalism and integrity which has consequently affected good governance. “Embezzlement, over invoicing and kick backs on contract, breach of due process, bribery and ghost employees are common in the system,” he said.
He added: “Family and tribal connection often overrule institutional rules and laws. Besides, not only in primordial interest reflecting in official employment of bureaucrats as opposed to merit and professionalism, but also in most situations, citizens are forced to pay bribe to get service delivery or obtain government contracts.”