President Muhammadu Buhari has rewarded Josephine Ugwu with an (Independent Corrupt Practices Commission) ICPC Integrity Award.
Joseohine is certainly a Nigerian that needs an elevation in her financial status. a lowly cleaner earning a far below minimum wage returning humongous sums is truly exemplary an exceptional.
For a government that came into the saddle on the strength of their anti corruption mantra, the Josephine Case provided an opportunity to showcase our appreciation for such a sterling and exemplary conduct.
What she has done is far above what the former EFCC Chairman (Nuhu Ribadu) did when he returned money paid into his account by some people to make him mellow down on some corruption-related investigations years ago. Comparing the two is similar to the very poor widow that donated her Widow’s Mite as against a financially well-off person donating what does not affect him financially in any way.
They require different levels of sacrifice.
Many people when asked whether they will return a huge sum of money accidentally encountered would say the politically correct thing .. that they would do that.. that they are not thieves.
There was a social experiment conducted by the reader’s Digest magazine years ago where purses full of money are deliberately left all over different cities, and then observation is made as to how many people return the purses rather than keeping them. Surprisingly it was found that in the more affluent cities, the rate of return of the purses were lower than other places where they are not so rich.
Apparently greed and dishonesty have very little to do with the affluence level.
It is similar to a man being given money to vote for a particular candidate and turning up his nose at such an offer. the refusal may just be because the amount in question is insignificant to that man. There happens to be different levels of temptation and your ability to resist may just be predicated on your current financial level viz-a-viz the temptation level .
A motorcyclist who makes less than 3000 Naira daily after a hard day’s work will easily capitulate to a 20,000 naira bribe than a banker who earns three hundred thousand a month. This doesn’t make the banker more upright that the motorcyclist. It is just a matter of levels.
While it is easy for many people to beat their chest and say they will do the right thing in this kind of situation we may not really be sure until we’re actually in that kind of situation.
There was a time on Facebook where a picture was trending showing an accident victim (still alive) lying down beside a mangled car with a briefcase full of dollars open by her side.
People were asked what they will do in that situation… rush the woman to hospital, or simply help themselves to the briefcase filled with foreign currency, and disappear. of course almost everybody said they will keep the money safely for her and take her to the hospital. of course this is the politically correct term to say but the question remains how many Nigerians would actually do that. I Can bet 90-something percent of Nigerians will simply see it as a glFod-sent opportunity to get rich and disappear with the money.. without caring about the injured woman.
It is why I always admonish people who make it their past-time to blame politicians for misappropriating funds to slow down in their criticisms. You never know what it feels like to be in a position of power where you can do almost anything without anybody querying you.
It is when you have power and refuse to misuse that power despite the fact that you can choose to do so without repercussions.. that is when you know how strong you are and not by grandstanding theoretically.
Josephine The Cleaner had the opportunity to do the wrong thing and get elevated to a different financial standing. but she chose to retain the ability to look at herself in the mirror in the morning and be proud of herself.
Thankfully, government has rewarded her bountifully to encourage others to continue to tow the path of righteousness.
Would I do what Josephine has repeatedly done, given her status in life? I really don’t know and nobody should be very sure until / unless confronted by that kind of situation.
All I can say is that we should pray that we are not confronted with temptation that is stronger than our moral fibre. What we may discover about ourself may be something very ugly and unpalatable.
Kudos to Josephine Ugwu a great Woman Of Character.