ICSAN seeks robust engagement of shareholders to check conflicts, corporate failures, others

Company Secretary, Nigerian Breweries Plc., Uaboi Agbebaku (left); General Counsel, International Breweries Plc., Muyiwa Ayojimi; Chairperson, Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN), Lagos Chapter/Company Secretary, PZ Cussons, Mrs. Abiola Laseinde and Company Secretary, Fidson Nigeria, Mr. Yomi Adebanjo; at the ICSAN Annual Conference in Lagos at the weekend.

The Lagos State chapter of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) has urged better involvement of institutional and other relevant stakeholders in decision-making to check the widespread conflicts between the boards of directors and owners of establishments as well as failure of corporate objectives.

The above formed the crux of discussions and presentations at its annual conference, which held at the weekend with the theme, The Agency Dilemma – The Impact of Stakeholders’ Engagement in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Noting that the corporate objectives of the organisation are tied to the expectations of shareholders in the agent-principal relationship, the institute clarified that the agent represents the directors (board) who are handed the running of the establishment by the principal, the shareholders otherwise the owners in this respect.

According to the keynote speaker and National Coordinator of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Mr. Adeniyi Adebisi, all companies must have defined purposes, noting that once this is in place, it would be difficult to serve any interests outside those of the establishments.

He stressed that the rule of law, accountability and transparency should be guiding principles of the boards to tame the avoidable conflicts which breed between the directors and managements during decision-making.

The ICSAN coordinator noted that the harsh business environment and economy notwithstanding, good corporate governance was still the way to go in doing business, stating that the association remains resolute to rule of law, accountability and above all, wants the regulators to do their jobs effectively.

To the co-speaker and Head, Investment research and Corporate Strategy, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited (SIPML), Charles Omoera, there abounds a plethora of anomalies at the Boardman and even yearly general meetings (AGMs) of organisations.

He alluded to a number of measures being deployed to silence vocal stakeholders from expressing their grievances. The two speakers agreed that the AGMs were not representative enough, as according to them, the exercises are, most times, programmed by the organisers.

Omoera suggested broadening the platforms of engagement to include road shows, periodic meetings, among others. He submitted that the AGMs do not achieve their objectives, demanding a stakeholders’ day to allow for inquiries and better audit committees.

The discussants, Ajibike Oshodi and Mrs. Lynda Onefeli, canvassed activism during the meetings and enthronement of sustainable institutions by government to effectively tackle some of these noticeable lapses.

Earlier, the chairman of conference and Managing Director of Wema Bank Plc., Segun Oloketuyi, urged full disclosures and observance of ethical conduct as well as effective communications, among others.

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Adeniyi AdebisiICSAN


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