The Accountability Lab Liberia, a non-profit organization working in the field of active citizenship and good governance has selected five persons from the education, security, health, anti-corruption, and infrastructure development sector as Integrity Icons for 2020.
After a rigorous sorting process, the top five finalists were selected from 30 nominations by a team of judges consisting of veteran journalist Mae Azango, Mr. Abayomi Cole, and Madam Ame David.
This year’s event which took place at the Accountability Lab Liberia office on Carey Street was under the theme: “Integrity and Accountability: tools for strategic nation-building”.
This year marks the sixth edition of the Integrity Icon since it was established in 2015.
The event was graced by individuals from the government, International Development Partners, and civil society organizations.
Giving the keynote address, Samuel G. Ford, a 2019 Integrity Icon and Assistant Commission for Community Services at the Liberia National Police says the value of integrity, transparency, and accountability in public sector governance in any society will uplift its people from what he terms as the dungeon of poverty.
According to him, citizens expect public servants to serve the public interest with fairness and to manage public resources properly daily.
“Today, we live in a society in which those individuals with integrity are fighting to do the right things on one hand, while those individuals without integrity, on the other hand, are fighting those that are doing the right things to step aside for the wrong things to be done,” Ford said.
He added that fighting corruption in Liberia must not be taking for granted. The 2019 Integrity Icon furthers that even though some relevant laws and institutions are created to detect corruption, a recent survey has revealed that corruption remains a serious problem in Liberia.
Ford also praised Accountability Lab Country Director Lawrence Yealue and at the same time, cautions him to strongly support and protect against those who may want to use their positions to intimidate or by wrongfully suspending an icon for simply doing the right thing.
“The photos of all integrity icons must be displayed on billboards throughout the principal streets of Monrovia and leeward to send a clear message to those who are working in the public sector to follow good examples as a way of awareness against corruption,” he stressed.
Also speaking Great Britain Ambassador to Liberia Mr. Neil Bradley praised the winners for being people of trust and urged them to uphold such attributes.
“I thank you all for going into the wall of the frame and not the wall of shame. Each of you in your way represents the best of Liberia and has value,” Ambassador Neil said.
The Great Britain Ambassador says as development partners, they are not just dealing with poverty but what he terms as the root cause of poverty. He added that the lack of integrity is the cause of poverty.
“Act consistently within your value. be the pride of this moment of doing the right thing and stay true to who you are,” Ambassador Neil said.
Adding up, the General Auditing Commission Boss Yusador Gaye praised the winners of the Integrity Icon for their role play in society.
“You have been nominated and celebrated in a country where corruption is a common practice. But I want you to stay true to yourselves at all times,” Madam Gaye said.
Mr. Lawrence Yealue is the Country Director of Accountability Lab. He stressed that accountability is a serious issue in Liberia.
“Despite accountability is a problem, we still got role models here and these people here are role models,” Yealue said.
The winner of the Integrity Icon for 2020 Madam O. Wanga Z. Wanley is the officer-in-charge at the Totoquelleh Clinic in Bopolu City, Gbarpolu County. Madam Wanley has worked for more than 16 years in the Liberian health sector.
According to her, her mother being a midwife has inspired her so much.
I’m happy today to be celebrated. I have been in the village for 16 yrs. When I went TNIMA (Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts), I said I was going to serve humanity. All of the things I was doing, I did not know that people were watching me,” she said.
Article originally published in FrontPage Africa