||PRESIDENT'S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
Please join me in giving thanks to the Almighty Allah, the most Beneficient and the most Merciful for making this day a reality. I least imagine that I will go this far when I took the decision to study Insurance some 33 years ago without a career counselor. I had no idea what insurance was all about when I chose the course in my “A” level class other than the fact that I wanted something different. That decision was not an accident but a divine guidance.
It is therefore a great privilege and honour to be so favored with the opportunity of being the President and Chairman of Council of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria. In accepting the mantle of leadership of our institute, I am aware of the enormous responsibilities attached to this position. But as a Chartered insurance practitioner, I know the task will be lighter if everyone of us play our part well. I therefore wish to enjoin members of the Institute to come forward and serve the institute. There is joy in serving.
I owe immense gratitude to three persons, who by providence, set me on the path of history and on the path of service to our Institute, culminating in the event you are witnessing tonight. They deserve special recognition on this occasion. The first is my late father; Alhaji Tiamiyu Ajiboye Lawal, who though did not have the benefit of formal education, was determined to train all the seventeen children God blessed him with including my humble self. My father, with limited resources, gave us the best of education and upbringing. I can recall the huge personal sacrifices he made in order to educate us, and how he shunned the luxuries enjoyed by his contemporaries for our sake. I know he will be proud of me today as in many days of his life. I wish him Aljanah firdaous (eternal rest). The second person is my secondary school principal, Alhaji S.B Kadri who, in a most remarkable way, made it possible for me to be enrolled for secondary education. His influence on me as a role model is evident in my life in many respects and these are the hallmarks of what early impression has on childhood. The use of my initials as my nickname and my signature format are both reflections of his. I am indeed grateful to him and glad that he is present here tonight. I thank you very much sir.
The third person I like to dedicate this investiture to is one man who chose insurance education instead of the financial and status benefits of industry practice. He was the former head of department of insurance at the University of Lagos, the Late Dr. John Ibitoye Falegan. Dr. Falegan actually set me on the path of service to the Institute and of becoming its President today. Shortly after the Institute commenced the professional examinations in 1989, Dr. Falegan was contacted to be the Chief Examiner for Liability Insurance. While declining the responsibility because of the enormous commitment he had in the university, Dr. Falegan nominated me for the position for reasons best known to him. I was not the best in my class and was in the fifth set of the Insurance course, which meant he must have trained over 100 of us and for him to choose me, I felt challenged to give my best in the discharge of that responsibility. I took up the task resolutely and became committed to the affairs of the Institute ever since. The rest of the story is now well known to you all. May his gentle soul continue to rest in peace.
As you can see, the three persons who featured prominently in shaping me for the path of honour today shared a common denominator, which is EDUCATION. I therefore owe them no less honour than to make insurance education the pivot of my Presidency. This, I firmly believe is the bedrock of our profession and should be given the desired attention during the emerging dispensation.
PROMOTING INSURANCE EDUCATION IN NIGERIA
The theme of my presidency is borne out of the belief that we can only create the necessary insurance awareness when people are fairly and reasonably educated about the subject. The less than optimal financial literacy in Nigeria today is at the root of poor patronage of financial services and insurance happens to be one of the most affected in the sector.
Today, the Nigerian population has just about 3,500 professionally qualified insurance practitioners out of a population of over 160 million. Getting only 3,500 educated out of this figure is a very far cry. The only way we can get insurance to penetrate every nook and cranny of this country is to get more people involved as crusaders/ vanguards for insurance. During my tenure, we shall focus attention on the following:
Empowerment of Selected Institutions offering Insurance Programmes to enhance their capacity to offer quality education
Reinforcement of Activities at the College of Insurance and Financial Management.
Strengthening the Professional Qualification of the Institute for Global Relevance.
Completion of the Restructuring of the Institute’s Secretariat to Enhance its Service Delivery.
Greater Attention to Funding and prudent management of the Institute's Resources.
Resolution of the Victoria Island Building Project.
Promotion of the Insurance Industry Consultative Forum
1. EMPOWERMENT OF SELECTED INSTITUTIONS OFFERING INSURANCE PROGRAMMES.
There will be articulated efforts at expanding the capacity of institutions offering insurance programs. These institutions will be accredited by the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria based on their capacity to deliver quality insurance education. The Institute will support these institutions in the area of books, infrastructures, scholarship, and exposure to international seminars to ensure access to latest information about insurance. Those of them who are able to have publications will be rewarded. This way, we will be able to develop interest in insurance.
Luckily, in recent time, the Federal Government has approved insurance as a subject in secondary schools. The Institute will provide the necessary support for the Ministry of Education to actualize the scheme. Our support during the period will be in the area of production of text books for this course and provision of training facilities for Insurance teachers.
2. REINFORCEMENT OF ACTIVITIES AT THE COLLEGE OF INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT.
The College of Insurance and Financial Management, which has been at the core of the institute’s activities in the last three years, is now at an advanced stage of construction. The College is evidently the best approach to opening up the doors of insurance education and the key to making insurance more appealing to a wider audience.
We will work hard to ensure that the second phase of this project is completed and the facilities are made available for use. The facility will provide 10 lecture rooms that can accommodate 600 people and offer accommodation for 100 students. I believe this will go a long way in creating the needed conducive atmosphere for learning insurance and financial management subjects thus placing our Institute in the right pedestal to foster insurance education along the most desirable expectations
3. STRENGTHENING OF OUR PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATION FOR GLOBAL RELEVANCE.
The professional examination is the hallmark of the Institute’s activities. The Institute has successfully conducted the examination over the years, producing Associates and Fellows that are unquestionable in skills and character. But I think we have to move a step further by ensuring that our Associates can trade their certificates for the well known Associateship Diploma of the Chartered Insurance Institute of London, even if it means just writing one paper. The on-going discussions with the CII London will be pursued to a logical end.
It would interest you to know that CIIN is the only professional body conducting insurance examinations in the whole of Africa except South Africa. We should be a center that others can log on to. Because we had always thought that our certificate is needed only in Nigeria, we have not been able to explore this viable option and a gaping opportunity to expand our horizon.
The point also needs to be made that because of globalization, the Institute should be able to give its qualifiers the freedom to be able to move around anywhere in the world and, I think this is good for every professional with his or her bidding.
4. COMPLETION OF THE RESTRUCTURING OF THE INSTITUTE’S SECRETARIAT FOR ENHANCEMENT OF IT'S SERVICE DELIVERY.
Part of our focus during the period of my presidency will be the completion of the restructuring of the Secretariat, an exercise, which I believe is dragging, and calls for finalization.
We are getting to a level that is critical for the Institute, a time when the baton of Leadership is changing and we need a firm anchorage of the secretariat on the imperatives for a new consciousness that all hands must be on deck. The period is also critical in the sense that the emerging leadership must engage itself in uninhibited sincerity of purpose, selflessness, and transparency in ensuring that the Secretariat delivers quality service at all times.
On the part of Council, efforts will be made in ensuring that the secretariat Staff are adequately equipped, trained, and motivated to deliver on the task. We shall also reinvigorate the professional examination of the Institute with a view to making it more robust and relevant to the dictates of the environment.
5. GREATER ATTENTION TO FUNDING THE INSTITUTE.
There is, indeed a limit to what the Institute can achieve with paucity of funds and I think it is time we re-examine the funding question, especially against the backdrop of the Institute’s increasing responsibilities such as construction of the College of Insurance and Financial Management.
It is also pertinent that we begin to streamline the modes of expenditure of available funds. For instance, capital projects should be linked to capital funds while recurrent expenditure should be tailored to recurrent funds.
6. RESOLUTION OF THE VICTORIA ISLAND BUILDING PROJECT.
We shall take a bold and pragmatic step at the Institute’s Victoria Island building project, which appeared to have been jinxed. That project is a waste of resources because when you talk about owning a property in the heart of Victoria Island that has remained uncompleted in 30years is a huge waste of resources. With the help of the building committee and approval of council, we shall take a definite and pragmatic position on the property in the overall interest of the Institute.
7. PROMOTION OF THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY CONSULTATIVE FORUM.
The forum was an initiative of my predecessor, Dr. Wole Adetimehin aimed at engaging leaders of the various trade associations in the Industry (NIA, NCRIB, ILAN) and the National Insurance Commission on national issues affecting the insurance industry. I shall work hard to ensure that the forum serve as a unifying voice for the industry, and act as a source for collaboration, and conflict resolutions. Together we can make a difference in our Industry and our profession.
Let me reiterate the fact that we shall focus on the actualization of the theme of my presidency: Promoting Insurance Education in Nigeria. My goal is to build on the successes of my predecessors to strengthen our institute for national relevance and global competitiveness.
I am pleased to let you know that my Investiture Committee, chaired by our respected past president, Mr. Adeyemo Adejumo has been actively engaged in the preliminary issues surrounding this theme and the committee had worked relentlessly to make this investiture a huge success. I am indeed grateful to the committee chairman and members for doing a good job. I also like to thank the secretariat led by the DG for providing the necessary logistics to make this event a memorable occasion. The support from members of the institute and companies in the industry is overwhelming. I like to thank the Kwara State Government for their generous support. I am particularly grateful to the board, management, and staff of Sterling Assurance Nigeria and the opportunity given to me to serve the Institute and for their enormous support to my investiture. My family provided me with a conducive environment to be the best in what I do and to actualize my dreams. I am indeed grateful to my friend, confidant, helper, and wife- Alhaja Kudirat Abiola Lawal for being a very supportive and understanding partner. I love you dearly. My children have been a source of joy and happiness in our home. They are growing steadily and striving to outstrip our performances. I look forward to celebrating each one of you as you accomplish your set goals.
As I end this address, I wish to express my profound gratitude once again to everyone here present (the Chairman, Mr. Akintola Williams, the Special Guests of Honour, His Excellency Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, Executive Governor of Kwara State, the Commissioner for Insurance, Mr. Fola Daniel, HRM Oloro of Oroland etc). I feel highly honoured and pray that the good Lord shall honour you all.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your kind attention and pray that the Almighty God will grant each and every one of us journey mercies to our respective destinations.
FATAI KAYODE LAWAL, FCII, FIIN.
President/Chairman of Council.
CHARTERED INSURANCE INSTITUTE OF NIGERIA
Friday, June 14, 201