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Upholding integrity and Excellence: The unjust removal of Babatunde Ayokunle Irukera

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By Abdulrauf Aliyu

In the realm of public service, few individuals embody dedication, competence, and integrity as unequivocally as Babatunde Ayokunle Irukera. His six-year tenure as the Executive Vice Chairman of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) stands as a testament to his unwavering commitment to fostering a fair and transparent regulatory environment. Yet, despite his exemplary track record and numerous achievements, Irukera’s recent dismissal under the guise of inefficiency raises serious questions about the principles of justice and meritocracy within Nigeria’s governance structures.

From the outset, Irukera approached his role at the FCCPC with a clear vision and determination to effect meaningful change. Tasked with overseeing an organization previously relegated to the periphery of state administration, he embarked on a transformative journey to elevate the FCCPC into a proactive and impactful regulatory body. Under his leadership, the FCCPC underwent a comprehensive overhaul, both in terms of its operational capabilities and its public perception.

One of Irukera’s most significant contributions was the rebranding of the FCCPC from the Consumer Protection Council to the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, a strategic move that reflected a broader mandate encompassing market competition and consumer rights. This rebranding was not merely cosmetic but signaled a fundamental shift in the organization’s approach, positioning it as a proactive advocate for both consumers and fair market practices.

Central to Irukera’s agenda was the implementation of innovative initiatives aimed at safeguarding consumer rights and promoting market competition. The development of the Patient’s Bill of Rights stands out as a landmark achievement, providing patients with essential protections such as informed consent, confidentiality, and access to medical records. This initiative not only empowered consumers but also fostered a culture of accountability within the healthcare sector, where transparency and patient-centric care are paramount.

Furthermore, Irukera’s FCCPC demonstrated a steadfast commitment to combating deceptive practices and holding errant businesses accountable. Through strategic collaborations with relevant agencies and rigorous enforcement efforts, the FCCPC took decisive action against entities found to be engaging in unethical conduct, such as tampering with product expiration dates or arbitrarily raising service costs. These interventions not only protected consumers from exploitation but also sent a clear message that unethical behavior would not be tolerated.

Despite the undeniable impact of Irukera’s leadership, his abrupt dismissal by the Senate, purportedly for inefficiency, defies logic and undermines the principles of meritocracy and accountability. Allegations of political interference and ulterior motives only serve to compound the injustice of his removal, casting a shadow over the integrity of Nigeria’s governance institutions.

The repercussions of Irukera’s dismissal extend far beyond the confines of the FCCPC, reverberating throughout the public sector and beyond. At a time when competent and dedicated leaders are sorely needed to address the myriad challenges facing the nation, the arbitrary removal of individuals like Irukera sends a chilling message to other public servants, who may now question the value of their contributions in an environment rife with political patronage and favoritism.

Moreover, the dismissal of Irukera represents a missed opportunity for Nigeria to recognize and reward exemplary service. In a just and rational society, individuals who demonstrate integrity, competence, and dedication to the public good should be celebrated and supported, not sidelined and cast aside for political expediency.

It is incumbent upon the authorities to rectify this grave injustice, apologize to Irukera, and reinstate him to his rightful position. Anything less would not only represent a failure of leadership but also a betrayal of the principles of justice and accountability upon which our democracy is founded.

As Nigerians, we must stand united in defense of integrity and excellence in public service. Babatunde Ayokunle Irukera deserves our unwavering support and recognition for his tireless efforts to promote fairness, transparency, and consumer protection. Let his unjust removal serve as a rallying cry for all those who believe in the power of principled leadership to effect positive change in our society.

Abdulrauf aliyu
An economist and public policy analyst
Can be reached on aliyuabdulrauf@gmail.com

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