[National Accountability Stewardship and the Role of Public Servants]
Dr Joe Abah
For clarity, it is always prudent to start with a definition of terms, particularly as some terms that are presumed to mean the same things to everybody could actually mean different things to different people. There are many definitions of the word “Accountability.” Some definitions, perhaps unhelpfully, simply define Accountability as “being accountable.” Others focus on key attributes such as information, explanation and consequences. Writing for the World Bank in 2005, Professor John Ackerman defines Accountability as “…a proactive process by which public officials inform about and justify their plans of action, their behaviour and results and are sanctioned accordingly.”I would prefer to view Accountability as a mutually-reinforcing relationship between the donation of power and the responsibilities expected of the exercise of that power. In public life, this concept of Accountability directly affects three constituencies: The People, The Politicians, and The Public Servants. I will, therefore, explore this topic with regards to a donation of power and the responsibilities expected of each of the constituencies. This means that, conceptually, the paper will be slightly wider than its sub-topic, which is limited to public servants, may suggest.
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