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Walking the corporate social responsibility talk


Cleanup exercise in Ogoniland PHOTO: GOOGLE

Cleanup exercise in Ogoniland PHOTO: GOOGLE

Sir: Corporate social responsibility is an action of organisations that will, as it were, seem to draw mixed reaction from individuals, its acceptance and rejection from people depending on what side of the divide one is. While on one side, an argument can be propounded based on the solvency and financial outlook of the organisation and basing it as a platform to put social responsibility in the lowest rungs of its priorities, others would argue that as long as such organisation is situated in a particular community or locality it behooves on them to be concerned about the welfare of the place, regardless of the level and shade of their impact on the community.

Be that as it may, the idea of corporate social responsibility is a laudable and agreeable one, the act of giving back to the society, or being touched by the infirmities or deficiencies of the community where the business enterprise is located. It will be surprising to discover how far-reaching a simple positive outlook can give to an organisation, and as well how the flipside can look like, and how bad it can look when what it supposed to be done by a company gets shelved, under whatever guise. No one needs any introduction to the UNEP report which puts the time frame for the remediation operation in Ogoniland where several profit-making companies have been operating since the 1950s, at over 10 years, neither is it any news that the pillaging of the national resources in that axis stems directly from a failure on the part of organisations who ought to have known and or done better.

The Nigerian society generally is reeling under the hard-rained punches of a deteriorating educational sector, the fallouts of which have become more hydra-headed than expected. Year after year, dismal outings at school certificate examinations, exam malpractice ( which goes awry even despite the external help in most cases), churning out of questionable quality graduates, production of zombie-like individuals as opposed to enlightened people which is supposed to be the aim of education, lean vocabulary, apologetic reading and writing skills among others, as well as poor reading culture, stare us in the face with no hope in sight.

Thankfully, the story of corporate social responsibility in Nigeria is not an entirely gloomy one. There are companies who really know what it is to leave a community better than they met it, especially as it borders on education in Nigeria.

Ogbonna Nnaemeka Henry, Lagos

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