The 2021 Integrity Awards winner, Comrade Ibrahim Musa Kirfi who made the call, said this is one sure way to reduce corruption in the public sector.
Kirfi is Chairman of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) branch.
He made the call at a radio program, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Kirfi, who was recognised as an Integrity Icon by Accountability Lab Nigeria in 2021, asked the federal government to take practical steps to encourage honesty in the public sector, stressing that President Buhari must immediately develop programs to discourage corruption in the public sector if He (Buhari) must make any meaningful achievement in the fight against corruption before the end of his tenure.
Kirfi urged the government to emulate Accountability Lab in naming and faming Nigerians who displayed integrity in the public sector over time and start naming and shaming corrupt public servants. “Recognition of honest and sincere public servants by the government will go a long way; collaboration with civil society organizations will also help.
“There is a community of honest and sincere public servants in Nigeria, like what the Accountability Lab is doing – as they name honest workers, the federal government should emulate them by naming and shaming corrupt public servants.
“There should be the setting up of a merit system of incentives, so that merit, gains, appointments, and promotions will go to sincere workers – this approach will go a long way in fighting corruption,” Kirfi advised.
Kirfi revealed that the reward system and incentive discouraged more public servants from being honest. “You find people that refuse to steal end up living a very miserable life, while those stealing are not. Nobody wants to live a miserable life, and these are things that are making some people think, why won’t I steal while in service so I can have a better life after the service.”
He disclosed that his integrity lifestyle is motivated by the fear of God, parental upbringing, and the leadership training he received over time.
He lamented that Nigerians are glorifying criminals and corruption these days.
Similarly, the Communications Lead at Accountability Lab Nigeria, Prince Chimaroke Chukwuka, called on the Buhari-led administration to strengthen the accountability system in the public sector, noting that the federal government will have to seek more collaborations with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to promote accountability amongst public servants better.
“If the government can strengthen the accountability systems they put in place in the public service, that will help reduce opportunities that exist for corruption to happen.
“The government will need more collaboration with CSOs to promote accountability and encourage honesty among public servants because the citizens may not trust their anti-corruption mechanisms. If the government tomorrow says they want to give awards to outstanding public servants, I bet you and the public may not trust the process. Still, if they collaborate with CSOs, the public will trust it and rapidly begin institutionalizing integrity in the public sector.
Comrade Ibrahim Musa Kirfi was one of the public servants honored as Integrity Icons in 2021 by Accountability Lab Nigeria. The recognition was geared towards celebrating honest government officials to change the narrative around corruption for reform.
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 has the support of the MacArthur Foundation.