Stakeholders at the 2019 Conference of the Convention on Business Integrity, agreed that Nigeria must deepen Governance, Leadership and Ethics if it is to experience a thriving economy.
The Vice-Chairman of the CBI, Mr. Osaro Eghobamien, SAN said that integrity was a rare commodity in Nigeria, and the one-day conference was a platform to connect businesses that value integrity.
He believed the conference was a platform to broaden the scope of businesses with foundations built on integrity.
Mr. Guy Harrison Head Prosperity-Department for UK Department International Development, in his goodwill message, said the CBI conference was appropriate as it served as a platform that will discuss embedding integrity in business practices.
Harrison believed the conference was an opportunity to emphasize the fact that “Good Business Pays.”
The UK DFID Director made a strong point that “smart and good businesses value integrity” and noted that the CBI 2019 conference was an avenue to explore opportunities for building a vibrant Nigerian economy.
The UK Diplomat was of the view that integrity in business, gives way for prosperity and helps to alleviate corruption in any nation.
Also giving his goodwill message Mr. Ukagwu David of the UK Action Aid lauded the conference stating that it resonates with the organization’s objective of supporting Nigeria in the following areas;
Mr. Ukagwu David commended the Integrity Organization for their tenacity over the years, in pushing for business integrity in Nigeria.
According to him, “The citizens are best served when the government practices good governance, leadership and ethics.”
Speaking further he stated that since the anti-corruption conference held in May 2016 in the United Kingdom, Action Aid has been partnering with Nigeria on platforms and initiatives that are focused on tackling corruption and ensuring that stolen wealth is recovered and returned to the country.
Nigeria, according to him, should become a more inclusive society where no one is left behind. He also charged the Civil Society Organizations to step up their game in demanding for accountability and transparency in governance.
He assured stakeholders that Action Aid would continue to work to complement the efforts of the Federal Government in tackling corruption.
Mr. Olusoji Apampa, the CEO of the Convention on Business Integrity, asserted that sustainability and prosperity for nations like Nigeria, cannot be achieved without the right leadership and governance.
Apampa stressed that doing the right things and doing things right helped in governance, leadership and ethics.
He mentioned that business excellence could not be achieved without good ethical conduct, which sums the rational for which the conference was organized.
The Guest Speaker at the conference, Professor Bolaji Owansanoye, the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, noted that corruption weakens investments, drives capital flights, increases the cost of doing business, and decreases per capita income.
According to him, “There is a need for strong and ethically minded individuals in the public and private sectors in Nigeria, that will drive governance, ethics, and integrity leading Nigeria to economic prosperity.”
He suggested that there must be a strong partnership between the government and the corporate environment if the fight against corruption is to gain traction in Nigeria, which will also attract investors who can create value to the economy.
The ICPC Chairman informed stakeholders that reducing the level of corruption in Nigeria is critical as it will, in turn, help to improve the business environment.
On its part, the ICPC Chairman said a “Constituency Tracker” had been launched by the Commission to track the activities of the National legislators and the Constituency projects assigned to them.
He identified four (4) areas Nigeria can template in addressing corruption and driving governance and ethics in Nigeria, which include;
Professor Owansanoye made a strong case for Whistleblowing on corrupt practices in the country, which is key for building an environment that values ethics and integrity.
The conference featured panel sessions that discussed; “Fitness for Purpose-Nigerian Justice in Transition” moderated by Mr. Frank Aigbogun, Publisher BusinessDay; “Effective Board Leadership: Role of Corporate Governance Rating Systems” moderated by Mr Olusoji Apampa the CEO of CBI, and “Ethics or Expediency Survival of the fittest or by doing things right” moderated by the Founder/Chairman of Proshare Nigeria Mr Olufemi Awoyemi.
In the interactive session, stakeholders agreed that there is a need for a critical mass of ethically minded companies in Nigeria, to align and push for ethics and governance in the business environment and public sector in Nigeria.
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