Honour for Citizen Josephine Ugwu

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It is not all the time that Nigerians get to hear of honest people in their midst. In fact, honesty is a world that rarely comes up in any conversation among Nigerians. There is a pervading belief that to succeed in the Nigerian society, one must embrace dishonesty as a way of life. Moreso, society will taunt and frown at anyone seen as meek, diligent and ill -disposed to corruption and other fraudulent practices.
This negative attitude at building civic ethos that edify honesty and patriotism is a consequence of the obscene display of wealth by an immoral few whose means of livelihood are not only opaque but also questionable. In fact, a general notion is that honesty does not pay in Nigeria, that only fools and anyone willing to be a dreg of the society would toe the path of honour in the midst of such monumental national perversion.
That is why we are joining millions of Nigerians in congratulating Ms. Josephine Ugwu, who was recently honoured for honesty with ‘Citizens Responsibility Recognition’ award by the Federal Government.
Ms. Ugwu, a cleaner working for a concessionaire with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Patviliki Industrial Cleaning was celebrated for returning N12million found at the Lagos Airport toilet. Such display of honesty has continued to be a topic of discussions across the country.
Reason for the interest is that her action is very rare among Nigerians, especially when Ms. Ugwu’s salary is a miserly N7, 800 per month in comparison with the jumbo sum she returned. It is even more bewildering that she did so out of good conscience and patriotism without prompting from anyone.
It would be recalled that not long ago, a taxi driver in Abuja returned large sums of money found in his vehicle. In recognition for such patriotic act, he was also honoured by the Federal Government.
We are therefore calling on Nigerians to emulate such good examples of character and discipline in their daily lives, as that would help restore the country’s image, especially among foreigners who erroneously believe that Nigeria is home to only crooks and fraudsters. It is left to the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to leverage on this patriotic act and educate Nigerians on the need to be honest while going about their daily callings.
Sadly, Nigeria’s lack of development in spite of the munificent revenue from crude oil sales in the past 57 years is traceable to the culture of dishonesty pervading all facets of national life.
The monumental corruption, especially among the political elite and top government functionaries is responsible for the lack of patriotism and even willingness of ordinary Nigerian to engage in all manner of shenanigans to get rich quick. The action of Ms. Ugwu therefore serves to underline the fact that good name is more than filthy riches. We are calling on the Federal Government to go further by offering her a permanent employment. That would go a long way in encouraging others to emulate her example.

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