ICSAN at 50: ‘How we’re helping to build Nigeria’s economy’

The National Vice President, ICSAN, Mr Samuel Kolawole (right) and Chairman, ICSAN, Ibadan chapter, Mr Oludayo Adeoye

In celebration of  50 years of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) in the country, the national vice president of the institute, Mr Samuel Kolawole and Chairman, Ibadan chapter of the institute, Mr Oludayo Adeoye, engaged RUTH OLUROUNBI in a chat highlighting the institute’s impact on national economy, among others.


In the 50-year history of the Ibadan chapter of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN), the chapter has its first formally constituted executive, the chairman of the chapter, Mr Oludayo Adeoye, said as a way of familiarising this reporter with the institute.

Originally founded in England in October 1891 and known as the Institute of Secretaries, the institute became the Chartered Institute of Secretaries in 1902, after it was granted its Royal Charter, according to the chairman.

The name has since been changed to the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators to “more fully describe the status and capabilities of the members,” the institute’s, national vice chairman, Mr Samuel Kolawole, explained, adding that ICSA has divisions in South Africa, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Zimbabwe and associate branches in many countries of the world.

In an interview session with this reporter, the duo of Adeoye, the state chairman and Kolawole, the national vice president, they explained that the institute in Nigeria, which was established about 50 years ago as an associate of the international body, granted autonomy in August, 1988, was incorporated under the Companies Act 1968 and became chartered by Decree 19 of 1991 (Now ACT CAP I13 LFN 2004).

With a mission to promote and advance the efficient administration of commerce, industry and public affairs “by the continued development of the study and practice of corporate governance, finance and administration of public, private and non–governmental establishments,” the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) “is a leading recognised professional body dedicated to enhancing the status and practice of corporate governance and administration in both the public and private sectors of the economy,” the national vice president said.

The institute, the national vice president said, has made some significant impact in improving the country’s economy.

Speaking on how the institute is impacting the economy, Kolawole said the institute ensures that on thoroughly trained   individuals are certified by the institute to practice as a chartered administrator and those, he said, would have been indoctrinated in the values of corporate governance.

“Good corporate governance is necessary for any organisation to move forward. If you have any organisations in Nigeria that are moving forward, it will have an impact on the economy. In the institute, corporate governance is one of the modules that confer the right to be able to be a member of the institute,” he said.

The good thing, he said, is that there are numerous members of the institute holding several key positions in the private sector and are putting to use, the key elements of good corporate governance.

According to him, “you also realise that to attract foreign investments into the country, they want to be sure of what we are doing because they want to be sure they’re safe. So, any organisation that is involved in promoting good corporate governance is helping to build the economy because corporate governance helps to build the trust in the economy that when we bring our many here, we won’t have a managing director that will squander everything, we won’t have people that we squander everything because that is what corporate governance is supposed to guide against.”

Apart from working with corporate entities to ensure good corporate governance is practiced, the institute, at the national and state levels, is also working to impact the public service to embrace good corporate governance, Kolawole said.

“We are trying to make sure that the public service understands what proper corporate governance is because corporate governance is not just about private companies and institutions.

“We are engaging government, civil service across the country to ensure that those who are in charge of the affairs in this country understand what corporate governance is all about and they’re encouraged to apply the corporate governance practices to ensure that the nation moves forward,” he said.

Speaking further, Kolawole said: “In recent times, our focus has really been on corporate governance, if corporate governance is properly instituted in organisations, corruption will give way because people who do the right things and do what they’re are supposed to do,” adding that as the institute rounded off celebration off its golden jubilee celebrations, in which it gave honorary fellowship to some deserving Nigerians, the first in the institute’s history, moving forward, the Kolawole sees an institute that would, in another 50 years, be reckoned with “in policy decisions in Nigeria because people we come to recognise us as people who are in there for professionalism and interest of country as a whole. We are looking at an institute that will in 50 years time, will have influence even outside Nigeria, across Africa. We should be able to have that influence.”

Mr Oludayo Adeoye, speaking on Ibadan chapter’s firsts and vision, said as a state chapter which “used to have a coordinator for many years,” without any formal executive, constituting an elected executive to drive the 50-year-old institute’s mission to be the most professional institution in corporate governance and public administration “is the first and is history and this why we are proud of it,” Adeoye said, smiling broadly.

Explaining further, Adeoye said the new executive has actually and we have recorded some firsts in the last few months. For instance, he said, the state recorded the largest participants on any of the institute’s MCPs, with more than 300 participants “and this shows the potential that the state has,” he said. He added that “at the national level, the state chapter is now coordinating itself as a formidable force because all the programmes at the national level,” among other firsts it has recorded.

The state chapter, Adeoye said, is leveraging on its student forum to expand the pool of young professionals in Nigeria who would practise corporate governance as it should be practised and the state chapter, as well as the institute as a whole is relying on linkages with universities in Nigeria to increase the professional pool, added Kolawole.

“In the institute, corporate governance is one of the modules that confer the right to be able to be a member of the institute. It means we are building a reservoir of people who are trained in proper corporate governance, who can be able to project corporate governance when they walk in organisations; they push their organisations towards ensuring proper corporate governance and in that way we are contributing our quota. If companies do what is proper, the country will make progress,” Kolawole said.

Speaking on the vision he has for the state chapter of the institute, the chairman said: “We want to ensure corporate governance is seen and felt in our chapter. So, in every two years, new executive committee must be constituted. We are already putting in place a succession plan to ensure that before the chairman finishes his tenure, another is being recruited so that there will be continuity and sustainability. Apart from that, membership drive is a function of the activity of the chapter so we want to start and continue to organise interesting, value added programmes that will attract members out there. If we preach good corporate governance, we must practise it.”

Kolawole, the national vice president, who is a member of the Ibadan chapter and has played significant role in the chapter for a number of years, according to Adeoye, touched on the national institute’s, as well as the state chapter’s plan to help in the national building towards growth and development.

The plans, which entail working on improving the internal structure of the institute to advance the institute’s goal of ensuring that good governance is practised, among others, include expanding and promoting the professional principles, values, ethics and system of behaviour and the interests of the chartered secretaries and administrators; as well as promoting prospective chartered secretaries and administrators to obtain professional qualification, and arrange ongoing education programme and refresher courses for the profession.