Stakeholders harp on business ethics to boost development
Besides, they warned bank chiefs and captains of industry, who engage in political activities, while occupying seats at top management level of institutions with huge investments to desist from it, noting that such involvement could send wrong signals to investors.
According to them, when this group of personalities that handles investors’ funds gets involved in partisan politics, there is the tendency of a negative impact on the shares of the companies in stock market because of fears over uncertain political outcomes.
They insisted that any person who has a major stake or business, with capital market exposure, must not openly canvass support for any political party, as Nigerian political terrain is unpredictable and shrouded in inconsistency
Specifically, a professor in the Dept of Business Law, College of Law, Igbinedion University, Okada, Nat Ofo, admitted that while business and politics cannot be totally separable, he said that when a business is set up, it must be focused on business, not on politics.
“What happens in the economy affects businesses and how they are run, but when the promoter of business begins to make political donations, it is against the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), although that is not being looked at in Nigeria. That is where we get it wrong in Nigeria,” he said.
The Director -General of Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, said: “Because you cannot predict the way election can go, you better be neutral, especially in this part of the world that there can be victimisation.
“If there is a party that is talking to us about oil and gas reform, which needed urgent attention, it will appeal to businesses in oil and gas and can be supported. But it is not ideal for any person who has a major stake or business to openly canvass support for any political party.”
A Professor of Capital Market and the Head of Banking and Finance Department at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Uche Uwaleke, noted that it is in the interest of the investing public if issues around the economy lie at the heart of political campaigns.
He however, expressed regrets that the Nigerian political space is characterised by rancor, violence, hate speeches and cross carpeting, which disincentivise investments.
“Strictly speaking, it is difficult to divorce business from politics. I think it is in the interest of the investing public if issues around the economy lie at the heart of political campaigns.
“Unfortunately, the political space is characterised non-ideals. This is the real danger that will scare away investors,” he said.
The Founder of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Sir Sunny Nwosu, said: “Some chief executives are also involved in politics. They want to go to Senate or House of Representatives and by extension, raise anxiety among investors. Majority will become apprehensive about the future of the company and pull off their investments. As a result, the economic activity will dwindle and by extension, the capital market.
“But in this country, when the government sneezes, business goes down. The moment government can let go off the business environment for entrepreneurs, everything will be positive. We are all suffering for this. Early in the year, the capitalisation was more than N15 trillion, but today, it is a little above N11 trillion.
“We have bad politicians, and once it is political year, people start taking out money from all the businesses to pursue election. Government should create enabling environment for pure business people – capitalists, and advice them to leave politics.
“We see what is happening in Italy, yet their economy continues to boom. That is what we want- a business-oriented economy. You either go for politics or remain in your business.”