Leadership by example key to discipline, integrity in public service, says Chief of Staff to President


The Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, has charged Directorate cadre officers to lead by example, conduct themselves well and discharge their duties in ways that enhance the work of their superiors in the Public Service, says Abiodun Oladunjoye, Director (Information) at the presidency.

Speaking, Tuesday, at the opening of a two – day workshop with the theme: Code of Ethics and a Practical Guide on how to Complete an Asset Declaration Form, organised by the State House management in conjunction with the Code of Conduct Bureau at the State House Auditorium, Professor Gambari said: “I want to say a few words because of the importance of the subject matter of the workshop, the Code of Conduct in the Public Service and some elements of it especially, assets declaration.

“Mr President attaches great importance to probity in the Public Service. In the previous administration as Head of the Military Government between 1984 and 1985, of which I was privileged to be one of his ministers, the emphasis was on diagnosing some of the ills of Nigerian society and he identified indiscipline as one of those ills. And indiscipline in the Public Service is even more dangerous for the stability and development of any country.

“With that antecedent, he decided he would return to democratic rule and run for President of this country because of his passion to address some of the root causes of our problem as a nation.

“He contested four times, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 until he was elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019. Why I am using this emphasis is because of his consistency in the diagnosis of the biggest problems drawing us back as a nation and preventing us from realizing our true potentials as indiscipline and corruption. He therefore made anti-corruption one of the three major pillars of his message to Nigerians.

“Those challenges are; addressing the insecurity of our nation, growing the economy and the anti-corruption fight. Of all these three pillars, the root of success is really successfully addressing the issue of corruption in the private as well as the public sectors and reinstating commitments to transparency, and accountability in the public service.”

He explained that the President’s commitment earned him recognition by former President Barack Obama and the title of Anti-Corruption Champion in Africa by the African Union. 

“The reason why I am going into these details is to show you leadership by example and now that you are directors, you will play a very pivotal role in the Public Service of this country.

“Your personal commitment to transparency, equity and integrity is very pivotal to the health of the public service.”

He urged them to use all they learn at the workshop to “help this administration, this President to really achieve one of the principal goals of his administration.”

 The Permanent Secretary of the State House, Tijjani Umar, in his remarks said that as Public servants, “whatever it is that we do on a day to day basis, in our offices, on those small desks will all add up and contribute to either we are transparent and accountable or not.

“We have tried to establish an administration that has tried the very best to establish transparency and accountability in doing things here.”

He observed that the legacy of the nation’s founding fathers was being eroded by indiscipline.

“I think the very base of public service has been watered down now. Transparency and accountability is everything. Our forebears who established the tradition of the service have handed over to us service in the public interest and lead with personal examples of utmost openness and transparency and it was public knowledge that they left no assets amassed in the course of their public life.

“The only assets you will leave that is  important is that of character, because character is everything. Therefore, we must imbibe honesty, transparency and serving the country in an altruistic manner for the sake of the public and for the sake of God,” he said.

The representative of the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Mr Ibrahim Musa, reiterated the importance of completing the Assets Declaration Form for every public officer, saying that the organisation is a creation of the Nigerian constitution and the body would put the participants through its elements during the workshop in order not to run foul of the law.