Ahead of its 2021 Integrity Icon Award, Accountability Lab Nigeria has pruned down over one thousand entries to the last five, while revealing that the number of Nigerians displaying integrity in the public sector is on a steady rise.
Accountability Lab Nigeria has been organizing the integrity icon award in the last four years to celebrate public servants in Nigeria who are displaying integrity in their work and making outstanding contributions to society.
Speaking ahead of this year’s award slated for December 2, during an anti-corruption radio program, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE on RADIO, produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, on Wednesday in Abuja, the Communications Lead at Accountability Lab Nigeria, Prince Chimaraoke Chukwuka said the award is positively impacting on the society and making more Nigerians believe that integrity is possible in the public sector.
Chukwuka who stated that the number of nominations for public servants of integrity has been increasing consistently over the last four years, also disclosed that the critical yardsticks applied in selecting the top five integrity icons out of 1,139 nominees were their frequency of exposure to corruption and the magnitude of the temptation which they were faced with.
He said that in a deliberate bid to encourage honesty among more public servants, the Lab will be recognizing the first 30 nominees but will narrow the award down to the five icons with the strongest stories.
On sustaining the event in future, Chukwuka said Accountability Lab Nigeria is working with government agencies to encourage public servants who are already displaying integrity to stay on that path.
“We are working with ICPC to amplify the stories of people who are doing the right thing and to see how these public servants can internalize values and processes of the integrity icon such that even while the project may not exist, we would have a system within the public service that would allow public servants to drive the process.
For the past icons, we are working with them to see that they are building coalitions within their work environment. It is done through Integrity Innovation Lab, a kind of community meeting that brings together colleagues who are in the same workspace and they talk about issues affecting them as regards corruption and how they can better build an accountable or integrity system within their spaces,” Chukwuka said.
On his part, the Project Officer, Accountability Lab Nigeria, Mnenga Shiiuwa averred that the selection process of the integrity icon award was creating more awareness and making the general public know that there are men and women of integrity working in the public sector.
“By asking the general public to nominate public servants of integrity more awareness is created and citizens are always delighted and encouraged to be part of the campaign.”
Shiiuwa said that the Lab was concentrating on career public servants because of their importance in the management of the public sector and the length of time they have as opposed to the short time a politician has to spend in the office.
“We are specifically dealing with career public servants. Essentially, we don’t bring in politicians because our theory of change believes that career public servants are the policymakers; they are the people who advise the politicians on what to do, and even when policies are developed, they are the people who implement them, they are the people responsible for the movement of files, they are the people responsible for daily running and implementation in the public sector, and so it is believed that when we have the right people in these offices doing things they should be doing, politicians will also be forced to queue in,” He said.
He disclosed that this year’s top five integrity icons are excellent public servants.
The top five 2021 integrity icons are drawn from public servants working in federal government agencies: Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC); a staff of Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers states respectively.
The event is slated to be held in Abuja Nigeria’s capital on December 2, 2021.
Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program used by PRIMORG to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.
The program is supported by the MacArthur Foundation.