The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission has tasked winners of its 20th Anniversary National Essay and Music Competition to be role models and agents of integrity in the fight against corruption.
The chairman of the commission, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, stated this in Abuja on Wednesday at the presentation of awards to four winners in music and essay categories from Niger, Plateau and the FCT.
Owasanoye, who was represented by Abdullahi MaiKano, a board member of the commission, congratulated the winners of the keenly contested competitions.
“As stated earlier, ICPC does not organise competitions for the fun of it.
“The importance of these competitions is to reduce corruption by inculcating sound moral values in young Nigerians to grow up as good citizens; citizens who believe in honesty,” he said.
According to him, the competitions will also help to motivate public officials to develop zero tolerance for corruption and see why they should imbibe honesty, hard work rather collecting bribes.
He expressed optimism that the awardees would not only keep up the good work that made them winners among thousands of other contestants, but strive to become role models in the society.
Speaking to journalists, Simon Joseph, from Government Secondary School, Jikwoyi, who emerged 4th in the essay competition, senior category, described the award as a motivation for him to do more.
“I wrote on the topic: ‘The role of the youth in the fight against corruption’ and my dream is to see a better Nigeria free of corruption,” he said.
Joseph urged students to shun the many evils of corruption and to be truthful at all times.
Another winner, Philippa Bulus, from Plateau, one of the finalists in the music category, said that corruption had to do with everybody and not just with public officers alone.
“Corruption has to do with all of us and not just our leaders or people holding public offices.
“If we play our parts by saying the right thing at all time, then we can eliminate corruption completely.
“When we hear corruption, the first thing that comes to our mind is our public leaders. But corruption begins with the Keke riders and traders selling in the market.
“For example, if you buy N30 tomatoes and sell it N100; to me, it’s corruption,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that for the essay competition, a total of 1,114 scripts were received online through a dedicated portal.
After sifting the entries, 679 met the basic criteria set for the competition and were marked by the West African Examination Council.
NAN also reports that for the music category, a total of 895 entries were received online and a panel of eight pre-judges shortlisted 100.
A three-member panel, made up of three popular musicians, further reduced the 100 entries to 10 finalists.