The visionary Governor of Abia State and Scholar In Governance, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu has approved and declared open A Two Day Special Workshop On Anti-corruption organized by his government for selected Civil and Public Servants in the State including the Commissioner for Finance, Permanent Secretaries, Local Government Chairmen and some management staff in Finance & Supply Departments of government on the theme “Governance & Corruption.”
While declaring the Workshop open at the Dr. Michael Okpara Auditorium Umuahia, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu informed that the Workshop would deepen the efforts of his administration in fighting corruption.
He said that the forum would equally among other things make financial administrators to see themselves as Partners in achieving a corruption-free society as well as deepen government’s struggle towards stamping out corruption in public institutions.
According to the Governor “the desire to mount this Workshop came as a result of the fact that each and everyone of us here and indeed all Nigerians will acknowledge the effort of the present administration since 2015 to stem the tide of corruption both in public and private sector.
Despite this effort, the negative perception in terms of corruption index about Nigeria both locally and internationally has not changed much.Therefore, it queries and questions our strategy for engagement and our fight against corruption and it is as a result of the need to bridge this gap and find a lasting solution that we thought it wise to tweak the strategy a little bit”
Governor Ikpeazu further maintained that “it is only through an interaction like this that the operators in the various sub national government and the watchdog in terms of fight against corruption, chief among which is the EFCC, that they will have this kind of handshake that will begin to understand each other very very well.”
The special Workshop was another effort of the Okezie Ikpeazu led administration towards providing a forum for Accounting Officers and other financial Administrators of government to be exposed to the global best practices in financial management.
The Workshop equally re-enlightened the concerned officials on the processes, procedures and rules that guide public finance and procurements with a view to ensuring that they do not run foul of the law. This is very crucial because as an administration with zero tolerance to corruption, it would be an embarrassment for any government official; public or civil servant to act in a compromising way capable of tarnishing the image of Abia State by defrauding the State government despite the continuous efforts of the government to nip financial corruption from the bud.
In fact, the importance the Governor attached to the just concluded workshop made him to direct the State Head of Service, Sir Onyii Wamah and his Chief of Staff, Prof. ACB Agbazuere to ensure that all concerned public officers attended the workshop while those who refused to participate or treated the Workshop with laxity are sanctioned.
Even the Facilitator of the Workshop and Chief of Staff to the Governor, Prof. ACB Agbazuere did not mince words in emphasizing that the Workshop was aimed at inculcating in the financial managers of the State on global accounting standard and prudent management of resources.
Given the import of the Workshop, the key note speaker and Executive Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Abdulrasheed Bawa, who spoke through the Commission’s Director of Operations Abdukareem Chukkol identified the fact that the fight against corruption and improved transparency and accountability in governance should not be left for the federal government alone but everybody, including the public functionaries.
The EFCC boss did not only express the readiness of EFCC to assist State governments to enhance accountability and good governance but lauded Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for organizing the Workshop which he described as key in driving good governance.
It is imperative to inform that such papers as “Nature and Consequences of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission”, “Ridding Governance of Corruption: The Roles, Achievements and Challenges of Courts in Handling Corruption Cases”, “Managing Corruption in Governance: Theoretical and Conceptual Dimensions”, “Stemming Corruption Through Pre-Emptive Enlightenment Campaign: The Roles of Information Dissemination And Public Orientation”, “Delineating and Enforcing Ethical Boundaries in Governance: Roles of Anti-Corruption Institutions and Professional Bodies”, “Typologies and Disguises of Corruption and Financial Crimes: Reflections on Government Revenue Leakages and Sundry Public Service Scams” and “Anti-Corruption Measures (Laws Agencies): Analysis of Performance and Prospects” were extensively presented by Experts in various fields of Academics and Public Service, with the intention of drawing attention of Public and Civil Servants to the devastating effects of corruption and need for attitudinal change for a better society.
Organizing the Workshop on anti-corruption for Stakeholders and Civil Servants in the financial sector across the State is a welcome development.
There is therefore need for all hands to be on deck and join the Abia State government and the anti-graft agency, the EFCC in curbing all forms of financial and economic crimes as well as coordinate domestic efforts in the fight against money laundering across the globe.
The Workshop among other things made financial administrators to see themselves as Partners in progress in the efforts to stamp out corruption in public institutions as well as left the participants better informed on how to join government in the fight to stem corruption and fight headlong in the public and private sectors.
In a Communique at the end of the Workshop, Participants noted that corruption undermines government businesses, economic activities, peoples’ well-being and possesses grave obstacles to social and economic development and urged everyone to adopt a paradigm shift from the mantra of “my story must change” to “change begins with me”. Of course the positive change must begin from all of us.
Truly, Abia State believes in transparency and accountability and it takes a responsive and people centric leadership to take critical steps to update the citizens with relevant laws through programmes like workshops such as organized by the government. Indeed, the theme of the workshop “Governance and Corruption” is apt hence, the Governor deserves to be commended for his thoughtfulness, initiative and foresight in convoking the workshop which it is believed has meet up with the aim of the seminar which is educating financial managers and Accounting Officers as well as ensuring that they act in tandem with international best practices and the law.
Also to be appreciated is the leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for adopting sensitization and education of citizens as a means of eradicating corruption and ensuring good governance across the nation and of course, the resource persons who were available to deliver various papers with a view to ensuring that the public servants and all workers of government in charge of managing government finances in Abia are once again retrained.
Credit equally goes to the State Head of Service, Sir Onyii Wamah whose heartbeat is to restore the glory of the civil service through capacity building, Training and Cetraining of Civil and Public Servants in the State for optimal performance.
The Two Day Special Workshop On Anti-corruption was equally needful for financial managers and Accounting Officers in the respective Ministries Departments and Agencies as well as Local Government Areas across the State to re-establish the culture of integrity and honesty in other to win the war against corruption.
Part of the lyrics of the Abia State Civil Service Anthem states thus “we are committed to service, loyalty and excellence with competence, upholding honesty and integrity in our service to God and man”. So, the public and civil servants in the State are expected to live up to expectations and serve with sincerity, honestly, transparency and fear of God. With the outcome of the Workshop, corruption would be reduced if not eradicated among the managers of government finances in the State.