Honourable Justice of the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, Hon. Justice Olubunmi Oyewole has said that robust ethics regime in the country will help substantially in preventing corrupt practices.
He stated this yesterday while delivering the 33rd convocation lecture of Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, titled: “Ethical Values, Good Governance and Nation Building.”
According to him, ethics which denotes moral principles that governs a person’s behaviour can only work alongside trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship which is not common among Nigerians today.
“Our reality as a nation is that where regulations exist, we work round them and break them with impunity and would rather blame everyone but ourselves. We want a different fruit from the seed we sow but unyielding is the law of nature, whatsoever a man soweth, that he shall reap and in multiples too.”
On good governance, the lecturer said one of the ways to think about good governance is through outcomes. “Since governments carry out with goals like the provision of public goods to its citizens, there is no better way to think about good governance other than through deliverables which are precisely the one demanded by citizens, like security, health, education, water, the enforcement of contracts, protection to the environment and their ability to vote and get paid fair wages.”
Justice Oyewole at the lecture said for Nigeria to achieve good governance, it must possess the eight characteristics of participation, consensus, oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law.
He therefore said that for the country’s nation building efforts to come to fruition, ethical values and good governance must be imbibed.
“Each time we discuss the problems of this nation, we discuss nothing else, be it among elites on flights or the masses in buses, we always discuss our problems. We are never tired of doing so. But it invariably ends in the usual way; God will help us or its only God that can help us.”
The lecturer enjoined Nigerians to move away from the usual suspects, the ruling political elites and examine themselves.
“I am sure no one will place the ‘sex for marks scandal’ in the academic world with politicians. A compromised academic reward system does not accord with the ethical values and certainly does not accord with good governance.”
Good governance according to him is responsive to the present and future needs of the organisation, exercises prudence in policy-setting and decision-making and that the best interests of all stakeholders are taken into account which the present government needs to imbibe for nation building.
Pointing out that nation building is the duty of all;Oyewolesaid public service in government ministries, agencies and departments including government educational institutions need to be understood that it is service to help and it is in helping that they rule. “Public service is therefore public helping, providing help to your fellow human beings at your work station.
“Work means our activity that is, by our thinking and deeds in our daily lives on earth, our deeds include our speech, not only our actions and includes our thoughts.
“We need to demonstrate recognition and appreciation for service and this should be beyond the symbolic recognition dished out to the political and business elites.”
The lecturer said Abuja could be tourist friendly with little street corner monuments and notes on notable contributors to nationhood. “Monuments and memorials on our streets to educate and create a sense of history. Naming orerecting without citations are not enough.
“Our various institutions need to honour and perpetuate the service of key personalities like Adebo, Ayida, Udoji, Moguno should not be strange to civil servants in our land.”
Oyewole said the perpetual conflicts between the nation’s uniform personnel and the ordinary citizens could be minimized if not eliminated by an attitude change. “The enormous sacrifice of these patriots could be better appreciated.
“The nation has fought several battles including the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, heroes of this war are both living and deceased, we must demonstrate our appreciation in various ways, be it in scholarships and automatic job placements for wards or in soft lines of credits to survivors.
“The Nigerian Police must come up especially for mention, love flowing from us to them for the thankless service and sacrifices daily made could go a long way in solving our security challenges.
“What we need is to never give up on us. We are not here by chance or accident. Our primary duty is to ennoble our society to make it much better place than we met it. Whether we are in some leadership position or wherever we have been placed for service,” he reiterated.
Present at the lecture include the President, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, Mazi Nnamdi Okwuadigbo, Rector of the College, Engr Femi Omokungbe, the chairman of council of the college, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) among others.