A closer look at our system and those in positions of authority can make one argue that we are indeed a different set of people. There is something wrong with us, as a people, in this part of the world that urges most of us to build and maintain the path of perdition. There is something in our genetic make-up that wired us for deception and confusion. We don’t just play the game of pantomime; with a passion, we love a state of all motion, no movement.
We can be busy doing nothing, and can spend a fortune to pull people down. Oftentimes, regardless of age and status, our actions tend towards falsification and eradication of due process for selfish gains. And when we benefit from the rot, we care less about aggrandizement and bastardization but will rather aid and defend the rape with all sorts of arguments. Some people can sugarcoat evil and call vices virtues in anticipation of favour even where there is none. But no man can give what he lacks. We don’t just put red tapes for those coming after us, but we can shamelessly destroy the bridges after using them.
As long as our bread is buttered and served hot, every other person can die of hunger and go to hell. In pursuit of selfish ambitions but more for the love of evil, our professors profess nonsense and the lawyers defend illegality. In a bid to make billions, some people can waste millions of souls without blinking an eye. We play dirty politics and glorify it. It can be quite funny seeing what people do when power is entrusted to them.
It smacks of wickedness the extent they can go, abusing what they should protect and preserve. In sheer display of ingratitude, the “man of power” can play God but as many did, ended up as scraggy mad dogs. The abuse of office starts with having shallow knowledge of power and the true essence for its possession. This becomes worse when someone is promoted above his ability. Left unchecked, such abuse can metamorphose into intoxication with a transient state of euphoria. This is the genesis of bad governance and psychopathy in power. Like cancer, it can metastasize and deteriorate fast, leading to a painful destruction where one smells and rots before death.
But with fiscal responsibility things can be done positively differently and abuse can be minimized or eliminated. However, there seems to be a dearth, if not absence, of fiscal responsibility in this part of the world as power seems to make people idiotic and moronic, losing every sense of responsibility.
What is fiscal responsibility? Fiscal relates to the management of government taxes and revenues. Derived from the Latin word fiscus, it means “basket” or “treasury.” In ancient Rome, fiscus was the term for the treasury controlled by the emperor, where the money was literally stored in baskets and was collected primarily in the form of revenue from the provinces.” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fiscal) “Fiscal responsibility or fiscal sustainability is at the core of good governance; it is all about translating democratic practices into the fiscal arena, to manage resources in a way that meets the needs of present and future generations, to create wealth and ensure that it is retained for the good of the society.” (“Fiscal Responsibility Commission – Promoting Fiscal Responsibility” https://fiscalresponsibility.ng)
Probity is ‘strict adherence to a code of ethics based on undeviating honesty, especially in commercial (monetary) matters and beyond legal requirements.’ (Businessdictionary.com 2015) With this definition, one may look at Financial Probity as all of the procedures, processes and systems that a business may put in place to minimise risks concerning any transactions involving money. This may include purchasing, staff payments, contracts and dealings with customers. To do this, there should be a probity check. The Northern Territory Government describes a probity check as an investigation into an organisation’s (or persons) background to determine their ‘fitness to undertake a specified activity for which authorisation is required. Probity checks investigate the previous history and activities of organisations and individuals, especially but not only in respect of financial records and legal involvements.’ (Northern Territory Government 2015, ‘Probity Checks’)
“Probity is integral when dealing with large organisations, especially those that hold Government contracts, and when receiving public money to fund their organisation. Organisations receiving public money, such as grants and donations, must be able to assure the funding bodies and community that they can be trusted. Probity should also be considered when you are deciding on partnership arrangements.”
Probity principles may include among others: accountability, which is, being able to explain the way duties are performed, how decisions were made, how money was spent. It involves maintaining good records that leave an audit trail.
There should be transparency which is the willingness to be able to explain any decisions made and being confident that the reasons for those decisions are ethical. ‘Transparent processes minimise the opportunity for and risk of, fraud and corruption.’ (Council of SocialService 2011)
Probity involves impartiality which will ensure that all processes (dealing with people, recruitment, dealing with other organisations) must be honest, fair and free from bias. Of utmost importance is confidentiality. The privacy and confidentiality of any materials or matters that one deals with must be maintained. This may include personal information collected from members or customers and from staff. The materials must be stored securely to protect the rights, interests and reputation for confidentiality issues is a serious business which its breach may lead to litigation.
It follows that fiscal responsibility and financial probity should remain integral parts of governance. They will make a government responsible and responsive, guarding against abuse and promoting good governance through meaningful policy thrust and result-oriented programmes based on accountability for sustainability.
However, to make simple things complex and create problems where none existed, some people for whatever reasons have chosen and taken the part of ignominy and destroyed what they were to protect and preserve. Out of the intoxication of power but more in a sheer display of stupidity of ignorance, some people in positions of authority have ended up eroding public confidence by destroying what they should defend. They lie, steal, maim and kill in the name of power.
Whatever the case, if the process is wrong, the outcome will never be right – and every wrong process with its associated outcome should be resisted, else it becomes a norm and a reference for abuse. Where mistakes are made and the errors are acknowledged, the honourable path should be followed with corrections made.
It is the way of the primitive mind, in an attempt for selfish gains, to always abuse privileges and turn around to blame another person for the woes.
In what they could perceive as act of heroism, a group of idiots would gather for a rape only to turn around to become complaints, complaining for peaceful resolution that may never happen otherwise they beat their chests in accomplishment of premeditated goals. Don’t fall for the ploy.
Until people are held responsible for their actions even years after leaving office, things will not change and improve for the better. It pays to be accountable.
When a process is violated and a procedure is abused, the best option would be to cancel the exercise and its associated outcome to avoid litigation that might lead to other things. When it is inevitable to dance naked and fight for one’s right, there is no length one cannot transverse to prove that leniency is not weakness. There will always be consequences.
Prevention is better than treatment so if reversing a policy is the best approach to keep and maintain a cordial relationship, a wise person should do it rather than flexing up muscles and ending up fragmenting the system. Except death, there is nothing without alternatives.
Nothing can be more rewarding in public office than transparency and being transparent. It gives confidence and equips for boldness. It is the best legacy anyone can leave for posterity.
Be responsible. Life after office can be funny at the extreme.
Livy-Elcon Emereonye writes from Lagos, Nigeria.