UK expert advises Nigerian directors on roles during turbulent times

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By Abigael Joshua

A UK leadership development expert, Dr Alim Abubakre, has advised Nigerian Chartered Institute of Directors (IoD) members to play strategic roles to save the country from economic turbulence and uncertainties.

Abubakre, who is the founder of TEXEM UK, said directors needed to first grab the turbulence to check it.

He said there was also a need for a critical facet of corporate governance tailored to the dynamic challenges of developing countries like Nigeria.

“In the crucible of weak institutions, limited infrastructure, fierce competition, soaring inflation, and currency risks, the board’s strategic leadership becomes not just vital but existential.

“However, survival should not be the goal; success should be the imperative.

“Of course, challenges should be seen as roadblocks; they are stepping stones for those with strategic foresight,” he said.

Saying that lessons abound, Abubakre urged Nigerian directors to learn from other developing countries like Rwanda, which has been recording success.

He urged the directors to nurture a collaborative ecosystem, leverage technology for efficiency, align policies with the nation’s vision, and champion Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles.

“Let’s draw inspiration from boards that conquered analogous challenges in other developing nations.

“Take the Rwanda Development Board, orchestrating Rwanda’s transformation into a buzzing tourism haven.

“As Henry Mintzberg wisely stated, “Strategy is a pattern in a stream of decisions.” If Rwanda’s Development Board can do it, so can yours,” Abubakre said.

He called for collaboration among IoD stakeholders by aligning public and private efforts to tackle weak institutions and enhance social impact collectively.

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Abubakre advised them to invest in the digital literacy of board members.

Speaking of Estonia’s e-Governance model, he said a tech-savvy board propelled it.

The TEXEM founder added that this underscores the potency of technological literacy at the helm and facilitates transparent and efficient governance.

“Develop robust strategies for risk management, considering currency risks and high inflation while incorporating ESG principles.

“As Bob Tricker rightly said, “Good governance should not be about compliance; it should be about performance.

“The Central Bank of Brazil’s board navigated economic instability through proactive risk management, incorporating sustainability,” Abubakre said.

He urged Nigerian directors to encourage innovative thinking, saying that Kenya’s M-Pesa, a mobile banking phenomenon, emerged from the board’s commitment to financial inclusion, showcasing a blend of innovation and social impact.

Abubakre further called on directors who are regulators to intensify their roles as developers of the economy.

He urged those in the Upstream and Downstream Oil and Gas sectors to embrace transparency, technology, and sustainability in licensing and regulation.

“Learn from Norway’s Petroleum Directorate, setting a high standard for effective, sustainable regulation,” Abubakre said.

For those in the Pension sector, he told them to champion digital platforms for streamlined pension management, focusing on sustainability and ethical investment, drawing inspiration from Chile’s Pension Fund Regulatory Board.

Abubakre advised those in Telecommunications to advocate for infrastructure development and healthy competition, aligning with sustainability goals.

“India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority exemplifies the transformative power of strategic, sustainable regulation,” he said.

With respect to Banking and Insurance, Abubakre, urged them to bolster risk management mechanisms emphasising sustainability and ethical practices.

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“Singapore’s Monetary Authority demonstrates proactive regulatory measures, aligning with ESG principles in the financial sector,” he said.

Addressing those in government parastatals, Abubakre urged them to promote transparency, efficiency, and digital transformation, focusing on sustainability.

He said that in this case, South Korea’s e-government model, driven by government parastatals, attests to the positive impact of such initiatives.

“Strategic leadership demands courage, innovation, and adaptability in turbulent times.

“As directors, you are not merely stewards; you are the architects of change. Embrace the challenges, leverage technology, foster collaboration, and champion ESG principles.

“Your role is not just pivotal; it’s transformative. In the crucible of turbulence, diamonds are formed. Be the architects of Nigeria’s bright, sustainable future. Let us lead with wisdom, guided by the principles of ESG, sustainability, and ethical governance,” Abubakre said.

TEXEM UK’s founder, Dr Alim Abubakre, a British Nigerian entrepreneur, is on the Advisory Board of the London Business School Africa Society and formerly on the advisory board of the London School of Economics African Society.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Razak Owolabi

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