By Amarachi Obiego
It’s a very sad, disheartening thing to live in a nation where the pristine value of integrity is not respected – or so it seems. You move around our country today, ask any young chap, what he’d like to do with his life, don’t be shocked that he wants to be a “yahoo boy” or that he already is – and the other half are waiting to be holders of public office so they can embezzle public funds.
As a young Nigerian at the golden age of 30, I cannot count the number of times I’ve been approached by young men in their 20s or 30s, asking me to help them in one way or the other to facilitate a fraudulent deal.
It’s more unfortunate that when you say “NO” because lying, cheating and scamming is incongruent to your innermost core values, you are treated like a pariah – like a person that has leprosy. You’re called names – a fool,' mumu', somebody that can’t take advantages of opportunities in front of him. Even family members that should encourage you on the right path tend to advise public office holders to take the path of least resistance and do what everybody else is doing, as if, simply because many others are doing it, it becomes the right thing to do.
Often we don’t take into account the pains of lack of integrity and the advantages of integrity when we make our choices. But before we deal with that let’s define integrity.
My favourite definition of integrity ever has been John Maxwell’s where he stated that “Integrity is doing what you said you would do, how you promised to do it when you promised to do it.” That pretty much covers the subject, doesn’t it?
When you check Merriam Webster’s, three main definitions attempt to help us understand what integrity is:
1. Firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: incorruptibility.
2. An unimpaired condition: soundness
3. The quality or state of being complete or undivided: completeness
What are the disadvantages of not having integrity?
The Good Book says Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people. In a nation where people lie and steal, someone who is well known to be a liar and a cheat would not be recommended for certain positions of responsibility. It becomes as if his character stinks.
If the impact of corruption in Nigeria was actually told us, it would be hard to imagine because it would be so huge! The financial, material, relationship, time costs of corruption on run Nigeria would run in billions of US dollars – even in the quality of life and in deaths, and how do you begin to quantify this?
What are the advantages then of integrity? For starters here, you have wholeness, completeness, you have no doubts, no fears or worries about having to defend yourself from people that are coming for your head. That would save us all a lot of headaches, and unnecessary stress and diseases. A person who lacks integrity loses all credibility. -HT@AmarachiObiego Click To Tweet When people recognise you as a man of your word, your credibility shoots off, and it has economic and financial benefits – people recommend your business, they say positive things about your country, more people want to trade with you individually, as a corporation or as a nation. People want to associate with you. Even the people who steal and cheat, and then criticise you, pick you from behind to run certain things because they simply trust you in areas where they won’t trust their friends.
After your death, you have Legacy. On the basis of your name and reputation, your children and family members get certain favours or prestige for being your children. People generally assume that since they came from you and were trained by you, you should have instilled same values into them and often they are right.
The Good Book was certainly right when it said, “a good name is better than wealth, and a good father leaves an inheritance for his children.” And when we really come to it, we’ll all agree that the greatest inheritance a father can leave for his children is the strength of his name – his legacy.
Amarachi Obiego is an entrepreneur, consultant, avid reader and writer. An incurable optimist, he is passionate about making Nigeria work by building the nation on strong fundamental values.