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ONOSODE: What Business Associates Remember Him For


Gamaliel Onosode

Gamaliel Onosode

Many referred to him as their business mentor. Others simply called him Mr. Integrity. Yet many others preferred to call him the boardroom guru. All these depict him as a man of perfection in business.

This is the exact description of Gamaliel Oforitsenere Onosode, who died towards the end of last month.
The business community is in pain as a result of his demise. Many say it would be difficult to find a replacement. They say he was a man, who refused to allow money to be his focal point in business. That, they say, accounted for his clean record in all the places where he held sway.

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is also mourning the first indigenous broker.
Commenting on the death of Onosode, Chief Executive officer, NSE, Mr. Osacar Onyema, said: “This is a great loss to the Nigerian capital market.

He was exceptional, forthright and inspirational leader whose life exemplifies all the values dear to NSE.”
Continuing, he said, “he was a man of integrity and the best we could find as the chairman of the board of trustees for the NSE’s Investors’ Protection Fund, when we decided to operationalise the fund in 2012. We will surely miss him. However, we take solace in his laudable achievements, which will remain indelible in the annals of Nigeria’s history.”

A great man is gone. I was privileged to work with this man for 25 years and I hereby testify to his greatness, honesty, and industry. I was an immediate member of his extended family,” former Managing Director, Dunlop Nigeria LTD, Dayo lawuyi, commented on the late boardroom expert, during the week.

Speaking further on the late industrial giant, from his London base, with The Guardian, Lawuyi said the late Onosode was the chairman of board of Dunlop when he was the Managing Director of the company, adding that he was selfless to a fault.

I was the Managing Director of Dunlop when the late Onosode was the board chairman. I worked with him for 25 year. He was an expert in conducting and directing boardroom affairs. He was honest and straightforward as well. He loved Nigeria, despite the problems with the country. He believed in oneness, willing to sacrifice his comfort to ensure things worked well in the company.

His focus was not on money and you cannot influence him with money. That is why he earned the name, Mr. integrity. He always ensured processes put in place worked optimally. There was a time at Dunlop when we were going to change official cars of the executive officers. He insisted that we allow officers, who were making the money for the company to have their own first, which was what I had in mind, but was afraid to mention it to him.

He was an epitome of integrity and we were always looking up to him. At board meetings, his views were always on facts, not story. He will not force his view on anyone, but he tried to convince people on his views. In that way, he carried everybody along. With this approach, he was able to transform Dunlop to the extent that he convinced the foreign partners then to invest in the company at the time we were having problems with them. They believed in him and he was able to influence them to make further investment,” Lawuyi said

The President of Chattered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), Mr Oluwaseyi Abe, also described late Onosode as a man of integrity, saying he lived and died in integrity.
“We lost a rare gem, he lived an exemplary life worthy of emulation,” he said.
Abe, who was on the same board with late Onosode at CIS, said three years ago, late Onosode told them in the board to take whatever they needed from him now. He however, did not tell them why he made the request.

He is a man of integrity. Pa Onosode was an unusual man whose wisdom in business surpassed every other man around him. He can be referred to as the biblical Job, who was loved by God because of his integrity. He became a board chairman of many companies in Nigeria. I was on the same board with him at CIS. Anytime we had issues, we always invited him to the board and he will solve it for us with his wisdom. Recently, we wanted to have a befitting house like any other professional body.

So, we were all making pledges. He was the first person to drop a cheque with a charge that we should get a befitting stockbrokers house. He is a perfect man, when it comes to business. He will not mix business with pleasure because he believed that business should be done in the way it should be done at all times. His business wisdom surpassed all of us. The only thing we have to do for him now is to have a befitting CIS house as he wished.”

A past president of the Chattered Institute of Bankers (CIBN), Mr. Ralph Osayameh said late Onosode was larger than life in business.
“He was an astute corporate titan, a thorough bred corporate professional, who steered boardroom affairs for over 50 years. He was a board chairman in not less than 20 companies; not just companies, I mean international companies. His experience in business cuts across all business sectors: banking, insurance, stock broking, industry, manufacturing, even the public sector. He went round. He was even at the academics as he was pro-chancellor of many universities,
“He was distinctive. We were together at Commerce bank, where he was chairman, until he resigned. He was thoroughbred. He was full of integrity. He will not do anything that is not in line with professional ethics. He was a boardroom guru. He was larger than life in business and in boardroom governance.”

President of the National Council, the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, in his condolence message said, “he is a great Nigerian, who made several contributions to the growth and development of Nigeria. The financial market community will truly miss him,” he said.

The President and Chairman of Council, Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), Dr. Nelson Uwaga said, “ he was one of the founding fathers of NIM in1961, fifth president and chairman of the governing council. He was a role model, mentor, and teacher. Until about a year ago when he last attended the council meeting, he was mentoring and always contributing, guiding young mangers to become top manger and board room gurus like he was.”
Onosode was a technocrat and administrator. He was a man of many parts.

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