As a nation, we have allowed the bearers of bad news become the pallbearers of our happiness. We have, for too long, focused on the plant instead of the soil that nourishes, and must now live with the inconvenient truth of our existence – that we cannot build a thriving economy without a thriving society founded on principles, precepts and statutes that supports and promotes excellence and equity. There cannot be a meaningful conversation about business integrity in the absence of sovereign integrity.
My task today is to make that case.
Good evening distinguished guests, host, patrons and stakeholders of the integrity oasis created by the CBi.
Like all Oasis, the audience here represent either a mirage or the exceptional few – those who have convinced themselves that ‘we are the good ones’ in an ethically challenged environment. It will literally cost us our lives in this quest, as the sovereign mortality rate continues to drop comparable to the drop in access to quality of life enablers (which for those who can afford it, is getting costlier relative to earning capacity which may force some to join those they sought out to change in order to make up for the shortfall). This is an existential question we must have the courage to confront and solve.
The spirit and theme of CBi’s 7th Annual Christopher Kolade lecture on Business Integrity reveals itself through our daily interactions – we see it, feel it and touch it in every encounter, engagement and exchange; such that we all have an experience of the issues, or are in some ways ourselves, the problem we seek to resolve.
I will therefore not bore you with the nuance of the topic but rather delve into the substance of the self-diagnosis that made such a topic relevant at a time when nations are concerned about sovereign competitiveness and geopolitical positioning.
One more thing I would like to dispense with upfront is that government cannot simply legislate change, it has to be attitudinal, process and policy driven; and reinforced through the signaling effect of governance.
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