The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) in its annual environmental scan and X-ray of some policies of the government, and how the institute has fared in the last one year, has carpeted the country’s leadership for superintending over situations that have precipitated a continuous rise in the cost of doing business in Nigeria.
This hint was dropped by the Chairman-in-Council and President, ICSAN, Mr. ‘Gbenga Taiwo Owokalade, FCIS while addressing the media at the institute’s quarterly media interactive session which held yesterday at the ICSAN secretariat, Alausa CBD, Lagos. He lamented, “the fact that we have our members in different organisations across the country, our ears are full”.
Giving a background to the hash economy, the ICSAN President explained that at the inception of its current executive, a year ago, a liter of diesel sold for N200, today a liter sells at about N720. “Worse still, it’s not even available. This is taking a toll on all companies, their products, and most importantly, the consumers”, he noted sadly.
In view of the precarious business climate which he claims “stirs us all in the face”, the purchasing power of the ordinary Nigerian is witnessing a very steep drop while several companies are closing shops and throwing more people into the unemployment market. “A clever and much more better way to manage the high costs plaguing the economy is needed”, he submitted.
As a means of stemming the tide, Mr. Owokalade who noted the country is going into another election cycle advised that citizens should desist from selecting leaders on tribal or religious bases. “Let us subject our leaders to serious interrogation with a view to voting the best candidates for the jobs so that we can see the much anticipated desired result. The narrative should be about competency and not race, tribe or religion”, he warned the citizens.
Still focused on the environmental scan of the society, the Institute decried the ongoing protracted Government – ASUU imbroglio. “As an institute of corporate governance, we are not happy that the Government/ASUU imbroglio is still not resolved. With this, the nation is breeding a war force that will strengthen the country’s baggage of negative narratives”. For the President, the warring parties need to make conscious efforts to end the prolonged strike for the sake the students and the education system.
While proffering a solution to growing insecurity across the country, the ICSAN President noted that the intractable insecurity situation is getting messier by the day”, and therefore, suggests that the “police should be decentralized”.
“The government should decentralize the police and allow states to have their Police. Abuja alone cannot solve the nation’s hydra-headed security problems. We should come up with holistic solutions which may include the state police. The era of pretending that the country’s security issues can be handled by Police alone as its presently constituted is gone”, he declared.
In the same breath, the Institute condemned the “double standard” in the system of government being practiced which has actually led the nation to the middle of nowhere. “We professed to be practicing a Federal system of government, which supports devolution of powers – such as having state police, but indeed, we operate a unitary system with power concentrated just at the Federal level”, arguing this is why nothing gets done in the area of security and other policies.
Speaking on the Institute, the President revealed that a change of its name was imminent. In line with global trends and developments in the corporate governance profession, ICSAN as the body charged with corporate governance training, practice, and regulations in the country, will change its name to “Chartered Governance Institute to reflect new global industry narrative”.
The new name, which the President disclosed has been voted and approved by the members, and scheduled for implementation in the next quarter, follows on the heels of developments in countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Zambia to mention but a few, “aptly captures the essence and the embodiment of what the profession does and represents”.
While assessing the last one year, Mr. Owokalade said the current ICSAN executive council has raised the profile of the Institute higher than it met it. For instance, it took the body’s annual public lecture which is basically the institute’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative to the country to Abuja, the seat of power for the first time. “To the people that matter in the nation’s governance, it’s a pride, it can only get better. We are doing much more, growing the number of members while doing a lot much more to actually be the foremost institute in the country such that more none members are expressing interest to join”.
Also giving the Institute a pass mark on its focus on training and human capital development, the ICSAN President revealed that in the last one year, the body has grown its network of partners in the area of training. “We have partnered with so many institutions of conventional institutions of higher learning such that they can offer Corporate Governance at Master Degree level, just as it also aligned with Skilldorm, an online training market place where interested persons from across the world can take the institute’s courses online and be certified as a corporate governance practitioner.
The session also had in attendance Mrs. Taiwo Olusesi, FCIS, Registrar/CEO, ICSAN; Mrs. Linda Onafeli,FCIS, Chairperson, Publicity & Advocacy committee, ICSAN; and Barrister Yvette Useghese, FCIS