APC Chairman urges civil servants to lead fight against corruption



The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, on Friday urged civil servants to lead the fight against all forms of corruption.

Odigie-Oyegun said this in Abuja in an address he delivered at the end of year dinner organised for the Council of Retired Federal Permanent Secretaries (CORFEPS).

Odigie-Oyegun, whose address was entitled: “The Role of Nigeria’s Civil Service in this Era of Change”, said that the civil service plays a key role in curbing political corruption.

He, however, said that before the civil service could function as a formidable anti-corruption machinery, it must reform, self-regulate and wean the entire structure of bad eggs, to correct its negative public perception.

“The prevailing public perception of the civil service is that of a hotbed of corruption, ineptitude and mediocrity.

‘’For decades, Nigerians have defined the civil service by a host of negative stereotypes.

“For instance, the official who will not treat a file until his/her palms are greased; the permanent secretary under whose watch public funds were pilfered and so on.

“The notion in the national consciousness must be addressed by the civil service.

‘’In so doing, the service will not only effectively function as an anti-corruption machine, but also attract public support in playing this crucial role.

“In tackling the rot from within, organisations like the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), will have to play and continue to play a key role.

“The anti-corruption and transparency monitoring units established by the ICPC in ministries, department s and agencies, should serve as watchdogs and whistle-blowers.’’

The APC stalwart said that civil servants had a role to play in the smooth transition of any government.

He said that if they failed, this could cause mistakes in policies, which could have damaging and lasting effects.

“A highly competent and professional civil service is the greatest vehicle for change; and it is heart-warming that President Muhammadu Buhari not only recognises this but also has repeatedly affirmed it.

“Every effort must, therefore, be made to ensure the re-establishment of the set of values that are vital to propel the public sector and guide it to function more efficiently and effectively.

He described the set values ‘’as the administrative machinery for the delivery of social service’’.

CORFEPS Chairman in the FCT, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, told newsmen after the event that the civil service, in his day, was more controlled and disciplined.

“Now, politics has infiltrated the service, thereby making it more corrupt,’’ he said.

CORFEPS immediate past Secretary, Dr Edet Ekelendu, who left the service in 2000, urged all civil servants to always work with the fear of God.

This, he said, was necessary for them to uphold government efforts at delivering dividends of democracy to the people.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that eight-year-old council, aims to harness the experiences of retired permanent secretaries to assist working colleagues for greater productivity.

More than 40 retired permanent secretaries attended the event with their spouses.

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