For the fight against corruption to be effective, Nigeria should be ready to treat corrupt people as social lepers, while proceeds of corruption should also be seen as loot from crime. This was the submission of the President, Women Arise and Campaign for Democracy (CD), Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, during the Inauguration Ceremony of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission/Anti-Corruption Transparency and Monitoring Unit (ICPC/ACTU), FUNAAB Chapter, held on campus, recently.

Delivering a lecture titled, Eliminating Corruption in the University System, the United States of America Secretary of States’ International Woman of Courage Awardee, defined corruption as an inducement to do wrong by bribery or any unlawful means adding that this cankerworm had bedeviled every sector of the Nigerian society, Universities inclusive.

The Human Rights Activist reinstated that the Berlin-based Transparency International, in its 2011 annual Corruption Perception Index Report rated Nigeria, 143rd out of 183 nations, showing that the menace, though a global phenomenon, had assumed an alarming proportion in the country. Dr. Okei-Odumakin described education as a service that significantly contributed to national development, while adding that the essence of University education was to produce high-level manpower and leaders that would act as a catalyst for national development.
The Human Rights Activist expressed support for adequate funding of the University system since underfunding was the precursor to corruption. “The University must be the change agent in the society to liberate the down trodden. ASUU and other Union bodies must be ready to act as checks and balances to the administrators of the ivory towers, and by extension, the leaders in the country”, as she charged the academic community to design a workable model for the eradication of corruption in its entirety because “as scholars, we are and must continue to be change agents for the national development which we so crave for”.

Dr. Okei-Odumakin had earlier highlighted the various ills of corruption perpetuated in the University system to include fraudulent admission processes, admission and accommodation racketeering, financial fraud, examination malpractices and sex/cash for marks. Others are plagiarism, stifling of staff and student unionism, cultism and academic gangsterism. She added that corruption thrived in the nation because the opportunity cost for stealing was positive in the sense that alleged corrupt persons were always celebrated.

The President of Women Arise advocated that sanctions against corruption and corrupt practices should be adequately and dutifully followed to the letter, to serve as a deterrent for offenders. She recommended that success should not be measured by the amount of ill-gotten wealth that someone had. She advised that all schools – private and public, reputed for manufacturing high percentages of passes in external examinations – should be monitored by anti-corruption bodies while the issue of special centres for examinations should be abolished as they were found to be grounds for examination malpractices.

The Vice-Chancellor and Chairman of the occasion, Professor Olusola Oyewole, challenged the conscience of the nation and the entire University community in general saying “let us build a better country than what we have now”. He disclosed that FUNAAB had zero tolerance for any form of financial misconduct or corruption, while admission into the University was strictly based on merit, as students were required to prove themselves worthy in character and academics, before they graduate from the University. He hoped that her lecture would further spur the University to keep the fight against corruption alive.

The Head, ICPC Oyo/Ogun States Office, Mr. Olusesan Olukile, who disclosed that the occasion was the sixth edition of the forum of ACTU Chairman and Secretaries in Federal Government Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), said ACTU was one of the reaching-out strategies of the commission to curb corrupt practices in Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with a view to promoting integrity in the public service.He commended the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, whose intolerance for corruption had made the occasion a reality and the commitment of Dr. Abiodun Amusan, Chairman of the local ACTU and his members, stating that corruption in the University system should be an issue of great concern to every Nigerian. According to him, the story-line of University education was bedeviled with anti-societal norms and values that are detrimental to any achievable goals of a great nation. Mr. Olukile also called on all the relevant stakeholders to join hands with the ICPC/ACTU at ensuring the future of the upcoming generation was not mortgaged.

In his appreciation address, the Chairman of FUNAAB ICPC-ACTU, Dr. Abiodun Amusan, expressed gratitude to the University Management for the confidence reposed in the committee members, to run the anti-corruption responsibility of the University, as he assured that collectively, they would fight against corruption. Dr. Amusan advocated for true independent for ICPC to carry out its duties and the shifting of the prosecution of corruption cases from the conventional courts to Special Anti-Corruption tribunals with maximum period of 90 days, to dispose investigated cases as was the practice with Electoral Petition tribunals, stressing that it was only then that Nigeria would cease to be a fertile ground, where corruption flourished.

Principal Officers of the University and all members of ICPC/ACTU FUNAAB Chapter were inaugurated at the colourful ceremony.