Highlights from the 4th Annual Christopher Kolade Lecture
Dr. Christopher Kolade CON is amongst the few that have blazed a distinguished career and maintained their integrity over the years. In recognition of his contributions to the issues of Integrity and support for the organization over the years, the organization decided to honour him by instituting this lecture series in his name as he marked his landmark year- 80th year in December 2012.
During the first installment of this lecture series, icons of business integrity such as Mr. Akintola Williams, Late Ambassador Prof. Gabriel Olusanya, Dr. Michael Omolayole, Late Surveyor Adekunle Kukoyi & Prof. Pat Utomi who stood up and defended the need for business integrity at crucial times in our history were recognized on that day. The theme for the first installment was “Standing on the Shoulders of the Giants”.
The second installment of this lecture examined the ethical foundations businesses in Nigeria need to put in place to ensure that the net effect on all their stakeholders, including shareholders, government, regulators, business partners, communities of interest and the general public, is a positive one. Such foundations include sound corporate governance practices, values, integrity and mechanisms for ensuring compliance. The theme for the second installment was “The Business case For Business integrity”.
The third (3rd) installment addressed the issue, “Beyond Compliance: Imbibing a Culture of business integrity”. The keynote Address was delivered by His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON – The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The event addressed the existing and potential regulatory impetus for sound business practices, and urged businesses to improve their competitiveness by going beyond the letter of corporate governance codes and anti-corruption laws to imbibe the spirit of ethical business practice.
In our resolve to build on the momentum and successes in the past three years of the Annual Christopher Kolade Lecture Series, we will continue to ensure that contemporary issues as it affects the Business Community as well as the Economy are brought to the fore, hence our theme for this year’s lecture, “Does Business Integrity Matter ?”.
As is customary to the lecture series, our target audience covered CEOs/ Directors of Companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and Non-listed companies, Director Generals of Regulatory Agencies and Professional Bodies, members of the Diplomatic Corp and other stakeholders. We sent invitation cards to about 250 intended participants to cover all these sectors as well as participants who had attended the organization’s events in the past. In addition to the invites sent, we also sent e-mail flyers as well as save the dates mails at periodic times to all those on our mailing list. We had about 200 participants in attendance even though we discovered that some individuals did not fill their details in the attendance sheets. We had in attendance Captains of Industry, Managing Directors of Private and Public Enterprises as well other notable stakeholders.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DISCUSSIONS
The Role of Agents of Socialization
- There is need for the agents of socialization notably- The family, The Community, Cultural Institutions and Religious institutions to be involved/ play a key role in the fight against Corruption.
- We need to make Integrity attractive to people especially the younger generation for example, create visuals for children to appreciate the benefits of Integrity
The Need for Proper Structures/ Environment
- The right structures in place are important to combat corruption
- There can be no Integrity without the structures to support Integrity
- Structures/Environment are important in the fight against corruption
- The key to fighting corruption is creating an environment that rejects corruption
- We need to focus our Anti-Corruption efforts on Institutions/ Structures
- We need to create an environment where corruption cannot thrive
The Need for a National Dream
- There is need to articulate the National Dream
- The National Dream should have a relationship with our values as a nation
- What is the message of The Nigerian Dream?
- The National Dream should be highly publicized
- Testimonials/Consequences of imbibing the National Dream should be publicized
- The Need to identify and celebrate Integrity models/mentors should be part of our values
The Role of Individuals/ Leadership
- Government must take the lead on the issues of Corruption
- We all have a role to play, beyond Government
Cost of Integrity
- The consequences for not towing the line of integrity should be clearly defined
- Corruption has stunted the growth of the nation
- We need to showcase the victims of Corruption- impact on the nation
The Need for Effective Sanctions
- Focus on Society, Systems and sanctions
- Professionals who have aided corruption should be sanctioned
- Focus should also be on all those people who by their actions tempt/encourage people to be corrupt
- Integrity might initially cost you, but it will eventually pay you
- Integrity and the right structure goes together
- When Integrity becomes the core value of a nation, they are bound to prosper