By Hassan Salihu
Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, has been honoured with the national medal of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR). The award conferred on him is in appreciation of his effective leadership, which has reinforced the purpose of ICPC’s formation and added visibility to its statutory functions.
The aptness of appointing Professor Owasanoye in February, 2019, as the fourth Chairman of the Commission, enjoyed the commendation of notable Nigerians. As the head of Nigeria’s principal anti-corruption agency, his pragmatic leadership style, which is one of the most important aspects determining the overall success of the ICPC, has been adjudged to be a game-changer of special worth.
The leadership style of ICPC Chairman is with a perfect touch, combining knowledge and experience to bring to bear the futuristic rich vision of making ICPC the most effective anti-graft agency in Nigeria. He is a leader with a clear understanding of the complexity of endemic corruption and the infamy it has caused us.
Under his leadership, ICPC has been consistently craving positive results with the provision of excellent welfarism to its staff. The Chairman’s engagement with the Board, management and all staff of the Commission has been remarkable and effectively marked by superior managerial skills, patriotic sacrifice, dedication to duty and high performance.
This exceptional strategic approach to leadership is of broad significance, which has positively changed the narrative in the national anti-corruption crusade through demonstrable commitment to groundbreaking initiatives, technological innovations and programmes. That being so, ICPC is hopeful of better years ahead with this solid foundation built by the ICPC fourth Board.
The steadiness of qualitative results in ICPC’s sensitisation and mass mobilisation of Nigerians against corruption, have farfetched prestige, good perception and admiration of the general public. The Commission’s net achievements under Professor Owasanoye have been perceived by numerous public commentators and analysts to have changed the wrong perception about the Commission’s performance.
Today, it’s operations have been focused and tactfully employing international best practices in the delivery of its statutory functions. The new image built under the fourth Chairman has been attracting the recognition and supports of several high government functionaries and notable international development partners. Evidently, worthy of attention newspapers editorials have been written by credible national media outfits in favour of ICPC.
The uncommon bravery of the ICPÇ’s leadership has reinvigorated the Commission’s enforcement of its mandate, as “untouchables” have been investigated, prosecuted and their assets seized with funds recovered.
Today, large sums of funds have been restrained from stealing, saved and recovered in cash and assets for the Federal Government through distinctive display of courage. Thus, colossal larcenies and atrocious robberies of the nation’s commonwealth have been facing the brick-wall solidly built through numerous corruption prevention interventions, such as System Study and Review, Constituency and Executive Projects Tracking Initiative, Illicit Financial Flows, Risk Assessments etc.
Professor Owasanoye, SAN, OFR, began his career with the University of Lagos in 1986 as an Assistant Lecturer and later transferred his service to the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) in 1991. In 2001, he was promoted to the rank of Professor of Law with a record of over 100 publications and 10 published books.
Before his appointment as Chairman of ICPC, he had stints at various international institutions, including the Royal Institute of Public Administration in the UK and the International Law Institute, Washington, USA. Owasanoye has presented many papers at United Nations events on the need for the rights of children to be upheld in all the nations of the world.
In addition to this national honour of OFR, the ICPC boss had won several national and international awards, including the University of Lagos Scholarship Award (1986/1987), UN Institute for Training and Research Fellowship Award (1991, 1994), US Information Service International Visitors Award (1991), British Council Fellowship Award (1992) and Senior Special Fellowship, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (2001).
Owasanoye, who hails from Ondo state, could be best remembered in the sands of time as an epitome of integrity that personifies uprightness, patriotism and selflessness in the anti-corruption national service.
*Salihu, writes from the ICPC Headquarters Abuja
13th October, 2022.