From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Country Director, Accountability Lab Nigeria (ALN), Friday Odeh, has dispelled claims that majority of the civil servants are corrupt.
Odeh spoke recently in Abuja at the 5th edition of the Integrity Icon Awards Ceremony where 5 civil servants; Musa Agono, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps; Adigwe Esther, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps; Musa Ibrahim Kirfi, Corporate Affairs Commission; Emem Ette, Ministry of Justice; and Gladys Ita Ekpo, Raw Materials Research Development Commission, were awarded for being upright.
The event was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Luminate Group.
According to him, ALN would consistently change the negative narrative by showcasing Nigerians from tthe public and private sectors who have remained upright even the midst of corruption.
“We embarked on a journey to rewrite the common narrative ‘that everyone in the public service is corrupt and to inspire a new generation of public servants who embody the virtues of integrity and accountability in their service.
“Today we can say that through the lives of these living legends whom we call integrity icons, we are gradually changing that narrative and inspiring a new generation who take Integrity and accountability as their new creed.
“Beyond this, we applaud the new hope we see through the stories of these men and women and the inspiration they give to the younger generation.
“We would not stop at just celebrating them today or making celebrities out of them but go a bit further to help transform them into trendsetters within their various organizations through a series of team-building events, making them Integrity ambassadors helping to win colleagues over to becoming people of integrity and building a clique of integrity champions through coalitions within their work environment.
“This would in turn increase the number of men and women who stand for integrity and can help resist corruption in the workplace.”
He also disclosed that, “today marks the 5th edition of the Integrity Icon awards ceremony in Nigeria and over the years we have seen the campaign led by citizens, nominating men and women of integrity year after year revealing the many strengths in character shown by these inspiring public servants.
“Our partnership with the media has helped greatly in amplifying the stories of ‘good-doers’ in the public service as we believe that the media plays an important role in shaping the perception and norms of a society.
“We employ other media agencies to support campaigns like the integrity icon to give some hope and encouragement to other Nigerians who are doing the right thing in their various states or offices and oftentimes feel discouraged thinking that they are all alone in the fight for a society where the right thing is done irrespective of who is watching.”