Public Sector Corruption: Integrity Icon, Igbolo Heaps Blame On Nigerian Leaders

 A celebrated Integrity Icon, and the Head of Sociology department at the University of Abuja, Dr. Magdalene Igbolo, has attributed the pervasive corruption and under-development of the Nigerian society to the failure of past and the present crop of leaders.

The varsity don, who Accountability Lab Nigeria recognized in 2017 for exhibiting honesty and discipline while working as a university lecturer for nearly two decades, is optimistic that despite the depreciation of values and integrity in society, there is hope that the tide of corruption will be turned in Nigeria’s education sector and public service at large.

Igbolo made this known, appearing on an anti-corruption radio programme, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, Wednesday in Abuja.

Speaking on the topic, “Entrenching Culture of Integrity and Accountability In Nigeria,” Igbolo averred that the impact of corruption in Nigeria, which is directly rubbing it from developing at the same pace as other countries, is a factor of leadership.

2017 Integrity Icon, Dr. Magdalene Igbolo

She lamented Nigeria’s inability to actualize its potential over the years was due to poor leadership and lack of integrity, complaining that countries in the same class as Nigeria in the 1960s are now lending money to Africa’s most populous nation.

“I have heard many things that happened in the 1980s, how wonderful this country used to be, how naira was so strong, how the education system was so good, and many other things, I mean, Nigeria was working.

“Post civil war, Nigeria was considered a developing nation because of the available indices, so at what point did we derail that the other ‘developing countries of those days have now gone way beyond, such that we are now going back to them to ask for help.

“I believe it’s a failure of leadership which has continued even till today. We are not even doing anything to get it right. We are still turning around in circles,” She stressed.

Igbolo lauded Accountability Lab Nigeria for bringing her acts of integrity to the public glare in 2017, noting that the Integrity Icon Nigeria project, which focuses on men and women of integrity in the public service, is essential because of the rate at which standards are compromised in the public sector.

Presenters interacting with guests during the radio program.

She disclosed that being an upright person has been effortless for her because of her upbringing, adding that, as much as the number of persons of integrity may be minimal in the public sector, there is hope corruption will reduce over time.

Her words: “We have a society where everything is collapsing. That I sit here and that we have had integrity icons means that there is hope. It means there are people within their spaces who are still trying to do something to be people of integrity.

“Within the space where I work, a lot of them like me, for students to come up to you to tell you, I like you a lot, I like what you’re doing, you’re different from all other lecturers, I want to be like you, that gives me a lot of encouragement.”

Prince Chimaroke Chukwuka

On his part, Communications Officer at Accountability Lab Nigeria, Prince Chimaroke Chukwuka, said the Nigerian society of today is a reflection of a lack of integrity.

Chukwuka stressed that Nigeria faltered in entrenching the culture of integrity in the people’s lives by leadership failure at the home front and religious centers.

“We failed ourselves as a nation to the point where parents and guardians refused to correct their children as they grew up. When they brought stolen items home when they got money, they didn’t know how the money came about. They didn’t ask questions. Instead, they were applauded.

“We failed leadership at home, the next place leadership failed was within our religious centers because our religious leaders stopped talking when they discovered that people were bringing big donations and did not question where the resources were coming from.”

According to Chukwuka, the integrity icon project is a global campaign, and it hopes to identify, connect and celebrate honest government officials. He added that What the integrity icon project has done since its inception in 2017 is to “rewrite that narrative that everyone in the public sector is corrupt, and we thank God that in 2017, we found people like Dr. Magdalene Igbolo, Dr. Yemi Kale, and a number of these great public servants who within their space have a personal commitment to never compromise on integrity”.

Integrity Icon, and the Head of Sociology department at the University of Abuja, Dr. Magdalene Igbolo (2nd left); Prince Chimaroke Chukwuka, Communications Officer, Accountability Lab Nigeria; Media and Research Officer, PRIMORG, Esther Bassey (left) and Communications Officer, PRIMORG, Chidozie Ogbonnaya (right).

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *