Nuso Eziechi, a staff of Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has been named the country’s first-ever Integrity Idol for her “honest, responsible and accountable” approach to work and ensuring “standards are upheld despite the challenges”. She beat over 150 nominees from across Nigeria to clinch the award.
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Integrity Idol is a global citizen-run movement that identifies and celebrates ‘upstanding government officials’ which is being spearheaded by Accountability Lab and is supported by the Ford Foundation in Nigeria.
Eziechi was awarded during a public event held in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, on Wednesday, which had in attendance many outstanding Nigerians such as Oby Ezekwesili, co-founder of Transparency International and a former minister of education in Nigeria as well as Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former managing director at the World Bank and former finance minister in Nigeria.
“I am incredibly excited to be honoured as Nigeria’s Integrity Idol,” said Eziechi, who works around HR policies, business strategy alignment, workforce planning, learning and development. “We all have to be integrity idols and do the right a thing, even when no-one is watching. We need to support integrity wherever it exists and be role-models for the next generation of Nigerians.”
Ezekwesili, who keynoted the ceremony, applauded the idea behind the Integrity Idol by Accountability Lab Nigeria. “Integrity Idol is an idea whose time has come. Poor governance is a huge impediment to our development and we have to create a positive conversation around integrity. These Idols have a new moral code and are symbols of the new society we all want to see,” she said.
Also speaking at the event, Okonjo-Iweala said: “We don’t have to wait for something to come from the top- we have to think of ways and means to change things from the bottom. When we think about corruption we usually think of the disincentives and how to punish people. But on the other hand how do we reward those that are doing the right thing? We have to reverse that thinking. That is where the Accountability Lab comes in.”
Now a global initiative, Integrity Idol began in Nepal 4 years ago with the aim of recognizing and inspiring upstanding government officials and has now spread to about 7 countries around the world including Liberia, Mali and South Africa.