Vested Interest, FRC and Corporate Governance: where lies the future for Nigerian Youth.

The recent developments around the issue of instilling corporate governance in the conduct and administration of non-profits organisations in the country clearly confirm the adverse effects of vested interest in the administration of all spheres in the country. This position was prophesized by the current Emir of Kano, HRM Muhammadu Sanusi II, during his TedEx Maitama speech and his assertion that it is the major barrier to effective youth leadership in the country cannot be wished away again. Hence, our future is a youth in this country is clearly not secure.

Many of the articles I have read on this issue were either addressing the issue of appropriateness of the law or the political implications of the federal government response by booting out the FRC helmsman. The implications of these actions on development of the Nigeria youth were never considered.

The youths are said to be the leaders of tomorrow, but the tomorrow in Nigeria may never come. The old are beloved to their position, hence there is no vacancy therefore no promotion for the youth. It is same old mentality that made a once ruling party in the country to parade a seventy year old man as its youth leader, implying simply that there is absence of leadership development in the culture of the country.

“Though, that assertion may be wrong but our actions clearly point to that.”

Sometimes, I am usually of the opinion that had Justin Trudeau born a Nigerian, he won’t have had the opportunity to be a MP let alone the Prime Minister.
The next set of questions that come to mind are; why is corporate governance important to the youth? Is it new for religious bodies finance and operations to be regulated? Why is perpetual attachment to leadership position high favoured by Nigeria leaders in all spheres? When will the youth be given an opportunity to act, learn and develop needed skills and competencies to govern their country? All these questions have only one practicable answers, instill “Corporate Governance”.

Corporate governance is an organisation based concept which addresses an organisation’s core strategies and operations from the standpoint of the organisation’s performance to its survival (continuity). One which is lacking in the Nigeria policy environment.

“Corporate governance involves a set of relationships between a company’s management, its board, its shareholders and other stakeholders. Corporate governance also provides the structure through which the objectives of the company are set and the means of attaining those objectives and monitoring performance are determined.” – John and Anna, 2013.

Corporate governance is a key element of leadership development and succession planning framework in that it helps create a fair level playing field for all. In more civilized climate, corporate governance has become a focal point for reform of broader institutions and well-functioning of the market economy: property rights, judicial system and enforcement mechanisms, securities markets, free press, rating agencies, and other checks and balances.

The importance of corporate governance in today’s global economy is magnified by the fact that the principles of good corporate governance are applicable to a wide variety of firms, not just large companies listed on major stock exchanges. From State Owned Enterprises to family-owned firms and SMEs, corporate governance offers a valuable toolkit for introducing transparency, accountability, responsibility, and fairness into the decision-making, helping to ensure greater competitiveness and sustainability. In the case, its avoidance by our current crop of leaders should be considered anti-development since the enhancement of populace welfare and accountability in both private and public life can be foster by it.

Clearly explaining this posits that the FRC may be objective in its drive for implementation of corporate governance in these NGOs, in order to foster their effectiveness, inclusiveness- youth active participation and survival. At last, the cumulative effects would be achievements of an inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the country (see Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) Report, 2015). The facts about the benefits of corporate governance in all our endeavours, both public and private, are known to all, while vested interest made the leaders do otherwise.

The current regime should understand that the youth voted them in for their future, one which her action to suspend the enforcement of the Non-profit Organisation Governance code 2014 is antithesis to. A review of the code made provision for an avenue for youth participation in leadership position through succession planning. This code would have indirectly make the Leader/Visioner/Founder of any organisation especially NGOs and CSOs to involve youth in the operations and administration, therefore strengthen the youth capacity to take responsibility.

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

Leadership development and corporate governance go hand in hand and neither exists in a vacuum. Thus, the Nigerian youths should call for its restated and further extension all other sphere of our public and private life. With corporate governance in place, the youth would have an opportunity to a world integrity matters and common good of all guaranteed. This experience I have experienced during my youth developmental process with the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), where some of the proposed codes are culture of the body.

The youth must also realize that instituting this code as proposed by the FRC would curtail nepotism and favouritism within our system. It will further empower us to demand for fairness and transparency in the use and management of society’s resources as well as impact of the organisation operations to the environment. This would have automatically instill or test the integrity of those will entrusted the custodianship of collective interest and resources, even if it is religious or not.

In short, corporate governance codes as planned by the FRC would have instituted the culture that “leadership means good stewardship of organisation’s assets and the earth’s natural resources to ensure that today’s the organisation’s operations are sustainable beyond the current generation, survival”. Hence, prudency would be a natural phenomenon with the Nigeria religious space.

In the same vein, the code would have helped in reducing the excesses of these NGOs and CSOs in grants and fund management. One of the top development financing experts in Nigeria told me late last year during a chat with her that “most grants and aids provide are now being skeptical about the operations of NGOs and CSOs in Nigeria”. To simply put, they are of the opinion that most of them are SCAM.

Interestingly, some of these youths that would have benefited greatly from this code are being used to stop its implementation. Religion, though opium of the masses, need to be directed for a collective national goal. In one of the provisions of the code, it is clearly provided that organisaitons that cannot abide by these provisions should write to the council explaining their position. One I know will never happen, as we see that as moderating the activities of a man of God, but these man of God are subjected to checks in other countries of operation.

The worst of all is rather the booting out of the council helmsman. The current government must know that this singular suggest we cannot change anything in this country, vested interests rule. Youth with zeal for development would have to think twice.
The ultimate goal of corporate governance reforms is to create value systems that guide ethical behaviours of leaders and strengthen the institutions and rights that allow organisation to achieve continuity and generate economic growth. At this time, this is what we need.

Shakirudeen Taiwo
Economic and Public Policy Analyst

 

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