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The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission (ICPC) today in Asaba held a sensitization seminar on anti-corruption issues in tertiary institutions in Delta State, an event in which the ICPC Commissioner for Edo and Delta State, Mr. Olukile Olusesan decried the poor response attitude of the leaderships of the universities and Provosts of the polytechnic and colleges of education in the state to the Commission’s request to send their students to the seminar.
Speaking at the Tertiary Institutions Forum, in preparation for the formal inauguration of the Vanguard Against Corruption held in the Press Centre, Government House, Asaba, Mr. Olusesan expressed displeasure at the response and near scanty attendance at the event by students.
He said: “I wrote to all the vice chancellors and provosts of all tertiary institutions in Delta State. Let me register my appreciation particularly to the management of the institutions that came, particularly to the authorities of Michael and Cecilia Ibru University for sending their representatives. Your university is one of the best universities in Delta state.”
While pointing out that the presence of students present is a value addition to the collective actions that ICPC envisages against corruption, Olusesan explained that the Vanguard Against Corruption initiative was the product of a University System study and Review done by ICPC in 2012, he said a three volume pilot study of some selected universities revealed corruption and corrupt practices including sexual harassment.
He said: “The summary of the degree of corruption in our university institutions is encapsulated in the ICPC Chairman, Barrister Ekpo Nta’s speech at the maiden press conference/media luncheon where the system study report was presented, I quote: ‘Evidence has shown that a wide range of corrupt related practices have become rampant in the higher education system with devastating consequences not on the systems and individuals but on the larger society as well’.
“Therefore, there is need for multi-stakeholder platforms to address this monster called corruption. There is need for student’s unionism to raise awareness about integrity issues. There is need for collective actions to foster an integrity culture and change social attitudes and behaviour among the next generation to combat the culture of corruption. There is need for students to harness their unionism to make their collective voice heard, demand change and possibly exert pressure in a lawful manner.
“ICPC in her wisdom initiate Vanguard Against Corruption in all tertiary institutions to meaningfully engage the students in the fight against corruption,” Mr. Olusesan said.
He told the students that after today’s seminar, they are to return to their various institutions to form the Vanguard, which will comprise of student volunteers with passion to actualize the objectives.
“You will elect your members of executives and inform us officially. Therefore, there shall be a tripartite agreement of the Commission, the management of your institution and the students for a convenient date when the Commission shall inaugurate the Vanguard officially,” Olusesan said.
Prof. (Mrs) Ahbor Ighoroje, in her lecture entitled ‘Mobilising students Union Against Corruption’ explained that corruption is simply the lack of integrity or honesty, which is also lack of moral soundness or moral pervasion said the vice has systematically and gradually infiltrated individuals, the families, the society and the nation in general. They are reflected in all the vices such as bribery, abuse of office and power, nepotism and tribalism, stealing and illegal enrichment, examination malpractices, sexual harassment among many others.
“Corruption is manifested because of the wrong attitudes exhibited by the individuals, attitudes which emanate from the wrong mindset,” Prof. Ighoroje stated.