By: Mohamed A. Kabba, Public Education Officer, ACC
I often see Integrity as the divine conception of the heart, and when whole-heartedly imbibed, it can inspire the human soul to stand upright for that which is right no matter our thought processes, feelings and actions.
From the above, I am triggered to ask the following questions: Have we ever used our inner sense of sight to ponder over the word “Integrity?” Or have we seen it as that moral obligation which every soul must possess? Or have we seen it as the light that can redirect our future path of hope to success and authority over poverty? Or have we checked our interpersonal relationship with the country’s national yields from which everyone survives? Certainly not. Why is it so?
It is my conviction that our empathy and self-abnegation for humanity and love for country is at war with the tangled webs of greed, speed and the creed of self-glorification. Our collective failure of individual responsibility to willingly accept and practice integrity has often and again resulted in “the shameful and ruthless manners for the making of money, fame and for prestige, when you neither think nor care about wisdom and truth and the improvement of your soul,” Socrates in his wisdom asserted.
Today, we live in a country where our self-consciousness for integrity does not take precedence, neither have we resolute the country’s interest first, while for a split second realizing significantly the consequences of what corruption and its spillover effects can do to the present and future generations of Sierra Leone.
The Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., believes that the survival and effectiveness of the 5th Generation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) depends largely on the principles of integrity, probity and justice. These fundamental principles, he averred, can lead to the successful attainment of more gains and wins in the fight against corruption. The questions that will be answered include: “What can Sierra Leoneans do? What can the President do? What can Parliamentarians do? What can the Judiciary do? What can Civil Society, the Media, the Private Sector and all other people do to support the fight against Corruption? This surely boils down to integrity as the center-piece of hope, success and authority over poverty.
The Benefits of Integrity
Sierra Leoneans–old or young, able or physically challenged, literate or illiterate, religious or not, employed or unemployed, from east, west, north or south- have the moral obligation to cultivate integrity. This will help guide our day-to-day activities while taking some time to introspect and choose the path of attaining our set goals which should not be at the expense of the masses and the resources of the State.
A successful person is not someone who only amasses an incredible amount of wealth, but someone who lives by set principles in life and does not get disillusioned by the wealth so much to indulge in rogue practices. A truly successful life is striking the right balance between a professional and the life of “geda-geda.”.
There are many benefits of imbibing the principle of integrity and they may include:
· It enhances the effective and efficient delivery of public goods and services. The presence of integrity can lead to self-satisfaction, while ensuring to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.
· Integrity can lead to a balanced life; a person who has integrity can make the right decisions in a public office and has nothing to fear and can live life to the fullest.
· Increased credibility among colleagues: when a person stands by what is right at the workplace, his colleagues can confide in him, leading to increase credibility and cooperation, making it conducive for the team to work towards their goals.
The moral reasoning behind integrity is to enable us to do the right thing at the right time at the right place. This mantra, if followed religiously, will not only lead to an enriched life style, both socially and personally, but also a productive life that perhaps every professional would desire.
Crucially, where there is love for country devoid of greed, self-centeredness and the use of party color as vanguard to break law and order, our desperate ambitions would be strangled by the values of integrity, Reggae legend Joseph Hills once professed.
Imbibing the values of integrity can help us to rewrite the wrongs of this golden land, thus rejuvenating our spirits to build her image as this will further lead Sierra Leone to better bilateral and multilateral ties, trade and foreign investments.
All these would live an indelible ink on the sands of time, thus placing our generation on the better side of history. And for those who continuously embark on plundering the riches and wealth through corrupt means, I re-echo the words of former President of the United States, Barack H. Obama and say to you that, you are on the wrong side of history and your people will surely judge you on what you built.
So, it is time for us all to imbibe integrity as it is the only emancipator that can redeem our souls from the perpetual scourge of corruption. Together, we can make a difference.