Integrity, according to oxford dictionary is, “Firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values; an unimpaired condition; the quality or state of being complete or undivided.”
The ability to do what is right when no one is looking, to live in truth at all times, even if it hurts are essential qualities that everybody should possess and exhibit.
Narrating her ordeal with taking a decision when she rented a house, Ann Chukwumah said, “I rented a house in Karu recently and one of the conditions the landlord set was for tenants not to have dogs or cats. I had two cats. I was in a serious fix because the house was just what I wanted and for the right price. My cats have lived and moved everywhere with me in the last five years giving them up was out of question at the time. I had to make a decision that was rather difficult. I could have said I didn’t have any cats and snuck them in since the landlord lives elsewhere. But that would have been wrong.”
“I was left with the option of giving them away or finding another place. I decided to give them away. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it was a hard choice for me to make. Above all, there is something more I desire. I desire to do what is right and true. What if this one little act of obedience on my part is just the right witness this landlord needed to see, what type of witness would I be setting if I lied? I choose to live with integrity through life, even if it hurts and I may be sad.”
For Caleb Kale, “Sticking to your guns and what you believe in when others are decide to look in the other direction is not an easy situation to deal with. I have been in a situation where we had agreed on a decision at work to ask for pay rise for menial staff. When we put it before the boss the rest of my colleagues but for two others withdrew and said they knew nothing about it when the boss began saying we were having secret meetings to take over his company. Lucky for us he had a rethink about the issue and decided to implement our suggestion. I was scared I would lose my job, but I guess standing up for the truth paid in the end.”
“Well I cannot say I do what is right even when I know it is what I should do,” said Ike Ezewayin. “I found that it is sometimes safer to go with the crowd and make amends later on. Working in the civil service as I do, I have seen that you cannot be too outspoken lest you get into too many black books and step on a lot of toes. If you have one or two senior officers who have a sense of reasoning, you can go to them later and let them know your views on the issue. Speaking out differently from the crowd here is like putting a noose around your neck.”
Agreed that situations could at times pose a lot of difficulty for one to stick his head out and openly express a different opinion; the question is, is it worth it to stick with a lie and go against your principles and personal ethics?
“Who says people have ethics and principles that guide their thoughts and behaviours these days,” asked Clara Ayomide. “Most people opt for the easier way whether it is the wrong choice as long as it conforms to what is societal natural and acceptable, it is okay. People these days do not care about the repercaution on the long run when they fail to do the right thing even when the odds are against them.”
Is sticking with the crowd in other to be in their good books or gain their favour worth trading in your integrity? This is a dilemma we encounter on an almost daily basis and something we ought to give some serious thinking.
Going by Caleb Kale’s experience, it is not all the time you end up victorious when you go with your beliefs. Being victorious in the end should not be the motivation, but the truth and reality at hand. Imagine if you were in the shoes of his other colleagues who backed out when it seemed like hell was going to break loose. How would you face him now that all has ended well?
Every action, every reaction and response, every decision and choice really does matter in the long run. Do what it is right no matter how hard the odds are against you, you never know who’s watching what you do. It can only do you a good turn.