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Traditional, religious leaders ask to promote behavioural change

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The Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Tuesday in Akure admonished traditional and religious leader as well as civil society groups to promote behavioural change to curb corruption in the country.

Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, ICPC, who was represented by AIG Olugbenga Adeyanju (Rtd.), a member of the commission board, gave the admonition
at a sensitisation dialogue with traditional rulers, religious leaders and community-based civil society groups.

The sensitisation dialogue was on “Behavioural Change National Ethics and Integrity Policy(NEIP), Constituency & Executive Projects Tracking Initiative (CEPTI)“.

Owasanoye explained that it had become imperative for traditional and religious leaders and other stakeholders to initiate and sustain behavioural change among the people.

According to him, one will be shocked to realise the extent to which corruption has shortchanged all of us, especially the ordinary people.

“I believe this realisation will underscore why every core value of ethics and integrity policy should be imbibed, practised and upheld by all.

“You as leaders should deepen your partnership with the ICPC in diminishing corruption and using your good offices in promoting ethics, values and behavioural change and building a better Nigeria for all of us.

“As religious leaders, you, our pastors and Imams, are not only spirituals guides but also moral compasses by which we measure the positive growth or otherwise of the society.

“You have followership, you have influence and command respect. Use these to bring about an enduring positive behavioural change among our people.

“Nigerians are good people, let not the actions and attitude of a few bad eggs among us give us all a bad name,” he said.

The ICPC chairman called on all the stakeholders to organise events in their collective desire to enthrone a Nigeria glowing with integrity, transparency and accountability in all spheres.

Earlier, Mr Kupolati Kayode, Resident Anti-Corruption Commissioner (RACC) in Ondo State, had said that the dialogue was aimed at enthroning behavioral change and socio-economic rebirth in the society.

Kayode, who said that ICPC could not do the work effectively without the cooperation and inputs of all stakeholders, said the sensitisation would help in spreading the anti-corruption message and also improve service delivery to Nigeria and Nigerians.

“The people who perpetrate these acts are not aliens, they are our sons and daughters, followers, legislators, civil servants and contractors.

“The commission, therefore, needs your full support in the onerous fight against corruption in our nation by joining hands with the ICPC in this fight,” he said.

The Deji of Akure Kingdom, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade, who is also State Chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers, was represented by the Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom, Oba Victor Kiladejo.

He expressed appreciation to the ICPC for the initiative, saying it would go a long way to achieve the desired results.

Ogunlade implored the commission and government to always carry the traditional institution along in order to stem corruption in the society.

“In our respective communities, there is need for us tocome together so that traditional institutions will be proactive by working hand-in-hand with the government to fight corruption in the society,” he said.

One of the participants, Alhaji Yusuf Agbesinga, the Imam of Gaga Muslim Community in Akure, also called on the commission to create more awareness to tackle the menace of corruption.

He said both the leaders and the led were corrupt.

“If we want corruption to be reduced in our society, our government needs to engage more youths by employing them while both the parents and guardians should teach their children and wards the way of God,” he said.

Also, Mr Olumuyiwa Olawolu, Are Agbe-Asaga of Ondo State, implored government to include traditionalists among those administering the oath of allegiance for office holders so that they could take the oath through “ogun and others traditional gods.

“If we do this, I am sure corruption will become a thing of the past in the country.

“If we want to fight and curb corruption, we must involve traditionalists while our leaders and office holders take oath of office through ogun, sango and others,” he said. (NAN)

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