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FG should unify policies for good governance

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Disjointed policies and implementations weaken the enforcement of ethical norms.

The federal government of Nigeria has been urged by the Accountability Lab Nigeria, a global translocal network, to integrate the Nigerian Code of Conduct for Public Servants with the National Ethics and Integrity Policy. This would ensure that every public servant in the nation upholds the highest standards of transparency, honesty, and responsibility. Friday Odeh, the Country Director of the organisation, expressed dissatisfaction with the disjointed policies and implementations and stated that these oftentimes weaken the enforcement of ethical norms in government, which is necessary in order to prevent waste and abuse.

In a discussion with journalists, Odeh stated that harmonisation of both policies and cooperation between the government, the private sector, and organisations representing civil society to carry out them was not merely an opportunity but a moral obligation. According to him, there had been a need for public servants to instil the appropriate habits that would enable them to refrain from acts of misappropriation of public funds and to ensure that they exhibited the right behaviours and were doing what was appropriate in public service.

National Ethics and Integrity Policy should be applicable to everybody.

Although he acknowledged that the Code of Conduct Bureau, along with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC), could do more to uphold their respective mandates as well as duties, he maintained that the National Ethics and Integrity Policy be applied uniformly so that no one, regardless of their status in society, would be immune to its provisions. The requirement for suitable ethical standards and conduct in corporate and governmental transactions is still a significant impediment to Nigeria efforts to achieve sustainable development.

Improving public trust and finding a solution to this problem requires ethical governance. This policy brief provides a strategic view of the need to align the code of conduct with the ethics and integrity policy to promote ethics and integrity in Nigeria. These regulations have significant impacts on how government officials and citizens behave. Nigeria could promote accountability, honesty, and good governance by combining the best features of both policies. This brief stresses how these policies work together and points out the areas that could be better, and suggests a way to make their integration more seamless in the future to boost public trust.

Ineffective leadership and weak enforcement are two main obstacles.

Ehi Idakwo, who works for the Programs Learning of Accountability Lab, pointed out that ineffective leadership and weak enforcement are two of the obstacles that stand in the way of an efficient application of the ethical standards that have been established by organisations like the Code of Conduct Bureau as well as the Code of Conduct Tribunal. She emphasised the importance of incorporating the Code of Conduct for Public Servants along with the National Ethics and Integrity Policy in order to address these concerns effectively.

Ethics guidelines and conflict resolution processes are also laid out in the conduct for government workers. The Ethics and Integrity Policy, on the other hand, emphasises the basic values that drive ethical behaviour and accountability. By combining these several conceptual frameworks, a more holistic strategy can be developed, with the goal of fostering a culture of ethics and integrity throughout the entire society. This integration has the potential to change the behaviour of public staff and society’s norms, emphasising accountability, ethical values, and open governance.

A healthier environment will be promoted while solving current problems.

Lastly, Mnenga Shiiwua, who works as a Programs Officer for Accountability Lab Nigeria, pointed out that the proposed measures provide Nigeria with an opportunity to not only address the country’s current problems, which range from massive corruption in politics to harmful social norms, but also to lay the groundwork for a future in which ethical behaviour guides decisions, draws in investments, promotes trust, and helps foster a healthy economy while additionally improving the country’s standing in the international community.

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