Business leader and first female CEO of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Ms. Yemisi Edun, tasked corporate organizations, especially micro-enterprises, to adopt sound corporate governance practices in order to stand the test of time.
She made this call as a guest speaker at the inaugural conference on corporate governance and enterprise development organized by H. Michael & Co in Lagos.
The theme of the conference was “Best Practices in Corporate Governance: Imperatives for Corporate Sustainability”.
Addressing the conference’s physical and online audience, the FMCB boss noted that no business could stand the test of time without good corporate governance practices. She clarified that microenterprises also need the same to achieve peak performance and sustainable growth. Thus, the head of the bank instructed small businesses to soak up corporate governance practices.
Edun listed the long-term benefits of a sound corporate governance practice such as strong brand value, lower risk, lower investment costs, and improved performance. She added that only companies with strong corporate governance practices could drive economic growth and enhance innovation while protecting communities and the environment in their day-to-day operations.
In his opening speech, Professor Sunday Owolabi, former Deputy Vice Chancellor of Babcock University, simplified corporate governance to “do good when no one is watching.” He affirmed the FCMB CEO’s advice to companies to always do the right thing, even when they seem to be at a disadvantage.
Owolabi urged companies to self-regulate and embrace full disclosure and accountability. These are the building blocks of sustainable institutions that outlive their founders. He also advised the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria to consolidate the country’s multisectoral corporate governance codes into a single omnibus document for businesses in Nigeria.
Conference organizer Dr Adeyinka Hassan, a prominent advocate for corporate governance, noted that more than 100 companies in Nigeria have failed due to corporate bankruptcies.
According to him, “there are companies that we knew growing up that no longer exist. They all disappeared due to the absence of a well-structured board of directors and a lack of good corporate governance. “
He said, “Regardless of the size of a business or how fast a business grows, there are certain things that need to be done to sustain a business beyond the life of the owner. And that’s where corporate governance comes in. We have to preach it to everyone.