Building Integrity Is Tantamount to Building the Nation

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INTEGRITY is a word that makes an individual to be viewed in a positive way. Cambridge Dictionary gives us this meaning: Moral soundness; honesty; freedom from corrupting influence or motive.

People of integrity are more needed in a society like ours that is filled with people without remorse for immoral and dishonest acts.

Nowadays in Liberian democracy, the ordinary people are filled with uncertainties as to who is appointed to a public position to head them. This is because many who had served did not do much to impact them, but used their offices to enrich themselves at the expense of the people.

From the second term of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration to the first year of the first term of George Weah, reports in the media have been rife with alleged incidences of corruption.

Besides siphoning public funds, many public officials and civil servants have become adaptable to going to work late and leaving early, abandoning work under false pretenses, and signing in attendance books without working.

For a very long time in this country, people who engage in corrupt practices have been celebrated by the public; while those who try to walk the straight-and-narrow way are lampooned (mocked, derided, laughed at).  As a result, the mindset of dishonesty and insincerity in public places is so entrenched that Liberians hardly trust one another in anything.  And all too often public officials just know that they are expected to seize any opportunity to enrich themselves.

There are, however, still some Liberians whom society can rely on and one of such persons is James Dorbor Jallah, the Executive Director of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC), who just received the Integrity Idol Award for being the most trusted public servant with integrity for the year 2018.

The Integrity Idol Award was initiated by the Accountability Lab Liberia with support from the British Embassy.  It is meant to celebrate public servants whose positive impact has brought some transformation to an institution in terms of trust and reliability.

Jallah’s forthrightness and integrity came to public attention in 2012 when he headed the entrance committee that marked test papers for candidates who sat the University of Liberia’s entrance.

Candidates seeking enrollment at this state-run university were so adaptable to bribing entrance committee members to make their way through without merit. But Dorbor Jallah shifted the paradigm so that, of the over 2,000 candidates who sat the entrance that year, only 162 passed under condition.

Dorbor’s straightforwardness in determining successful candidates in the entrance examination set the basis for the public to believe that not many Liberian students were entering the University of Liberia the right way.

It was based on this record that he got promotion to serve as an Executive Director for the PPCC, an integrity institution where bidding for public procurement is carried out.

We believe that more of the likes of James Dorbor Jallah are here and can make a positive and substantive change by applying their integrity in public and private institutions to make our society better.

The Daily Observer encourages Mr. Jallah and others who think and act like him to always hold up their principles of integrity and morality in public service.

Besides the praises from men and women for those who choose the straight-and-narrow way, the good LORD ascribes significance and blessings to people of integrity.

In the book of Proverbs in the Holy Bible, King Solomon tells us: A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold (Proverbs 22:1).  Additionally, the prophet Samuel tells us, “Obedience is better than sacrifice and to heed, than the fat of rams.”

Having integrity is building trust in people for you, and it is a consistent reputation over time that builds respect. We laud Mr. Jallah for his well-deserved award. We pray that more and more Liberians will take note of this selfless and upright young man and see reason to build integrity and self-respect in themselves, which will propel us, Liberians, toward patriotism that propels us onward to national development.

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