Kolade charges directors on ethics, accountability to restore stakeholders’ confidence
A former High Commissioner of Nigeria to the United Kingdom, Dr Christopher Kolade, has charged directors of institutions to ensure they practice proper ethics, coupled with elements of trust and accountability to meet stakeholders’ expectations.He said if directors practiced the aforementioned, there is a building of mutual confidence between them and the stakeholders who look up to them for greater expectations.
He gave the advice virtually during the formal launch of Code of Ethics 2020 by the Institute of Directors Nigeria (IoD), where he spoke on the theme: “Doing Good is Good Business, the Ethics Dimension.”
Kolade, who is also the Chancellor of McPherson University, in Ogun State, noted that the code specifies standards, values and disciplines expected of those accountable to each other, especially directors of the enterprise they represent.He opined that accountability based on proper ethics and integrity that builds mutual confidence should be their major focus, adding that “Directors of institutions are very conscious of the fact that they are stewards of other people’s resources. The owners of the business have invested in the business, others have invested their energy and services, and directors have been tasked with the responsibility from the owners to manage the investments to produce the expected results.
“In order to do that, we all have to be mindful of the fact that we are surrounded by stakeholders involved in the business vis-a-vis the owners, the employees, and financiers among others, who all make an input to the success of the organisation.
“It is up to the directors sitting at the boards to make sure they do everything to create the wealth that these enterprises were set up to create, and to make sure that the wealth is distributed equitably to those who have made the input.”Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, urged the IoD to expand the conversation around ethical challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented.He noted that Nigeria’s industrialisation strategy is increasing in bounds, especially on the important role the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) play in sustainable economic growth.
He added that the Institute can play a major role in MSMEs, by providing adherence to quality and standards, use of technology in organisational design, and use of financing options that would help them mature and become true drivers and beneficiaries of economic growth.
Earlier, President and Chairman of Governing Council, IoD Nigeria, Chris Okunowo, said the code, among other things, addresses and guides a number of issues for members, such as whistleblowing framework, a conflict of interest policy, and a gift and hospitality policy. He said current challenges and realities faced by directors in their roles informed the need for a review of the provisions of the codes.
According to him, it will serve as a guide for all the Institute’s members and its personnel on the practice of sound business ethics and principles focusing on current realities and current challenges faced by directors in their roles.
“Furthermore, the code of ethics will better position the Institute to monitor the conduct of its members and employees. It is also the aspiration of the Institute that the IoD Code of Ethics will serve as a guide for other stakeholders on ethics.
“As a manifestation of our commitment to good corporate governance, best practice and ethics, we will ensure that our members who are directors of Institutions, subscribe to the tenets of this aspirational code, and ensure that as leaders, they are properly enabled and guided in their conduct and behaviour in their personal and business endeavours,” he said.
Chairman, Polaris Bank Limited and Lead Speaker at the event, Muhammad Ahmad, identified a number of reasons why some persons engage in unethical practices. While he noted that good ethical practice was for long term survival as an institution, he said organisations need good ethics to protect their public image, saying: “It restores trust, provides stability to businesses and leads to profitability in the long term.”