PRESIDENT'S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH (Inaugural Address)

PROMOTING THE LEGACY OF CONTINUITY

 

Being text of acceptance speech by Mr. Bola Temowo on the occasion of his investiture as the 46th President and Chairman of Council of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria on Thursday June 19, 2014 at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

 

PROTOCOL

 

To everything there is a Season and a Time to Every Purpose under the Heaven (Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verse 1)

 

I am indeed compelled to begin this speech on this biblical note because, as a young man growing up at the feet of my parents, little did I imagine that my path in life would lead me in the direction of becoming an Insurance professional. Even when I eventually forayed into Insurance by virtue of National Youth Corps Service, my least thoughts at the time was that of becoming the President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria.

 

I would therefore want to start by thanking the Almighty God for this privilege of becoming   the President of this great Institution. I thank God for His favour because this is a position attained by few people though many aspire to get there. This is indeed the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our sight.

 

Not many of my colleagues are aware that my first degree at the University was in History. My passion really was to be like my uncle, Professor Ade Adefuye who then held a Doctor of Philosophy (PH.D) in History and lectured in the department of History at the University of Lagos. In fact, my parents had no problem with my dream of becoming like Prof. Adefuye for whom they had so much respect and regard. But they least expected that I would enrol for a degree in History since they were both Insurance Professionals and virtually brought me up breathing the air of Insurance. Therefore, when I decided to read History at the University, it was like a rebellion.

 

However, with the benefit of hindsight, I can now see that my father, Mr. Amos Oyewole Temowo of blessed memory and my mother, Mrs. Mercy Taiye Temowo, who is present here today, were sort of guiding Angels because in spite of my rebellion, my path eventually led to Hogg Robinson where as a Youth Corps member, I was privileged to work under Mr. Amos Adeyeye. That one event was to change the course of history as it put paid to my desire to become an academic like Prof. Adefuye who is currently the Ambassador of Nigeria to the United States of America.

 

To be sincere, my decision to sit for the Chartered Insurance Institute (UK) Professional Insurance examination and eventually qualifying as an Associate had nothing to do with charting a career path in Insurance. I only needed to let my Mum and Dad realize that I could pass the Insurance Professional examinations and that my decision to study History had nothing to do with my being less intelligent. But, as you can now see, I got stuck: from National service at Hogg Robinson to Crusader Insurance and a chain of developments and now the Presidency of this great Institution.

 

Permit me to state that I owe my earliest deep impressions about Insurance to my father, who cherished professional integrity throughout his practice as a Loss Adjuster. Also, to Mr. Talabi A. Braithwaite, the late doyen of Insurance, for the trust and independence I enjoyed while I worked with the firm of T.A. Braithwaite & Co Insurance Brokers for two years. But very fundamental and profound was the unique opportunity I had in working with Mr. Amos Adeyeye at Hogg Robinson, being my gateway into Insurance, a wonderful Profession that has brought me this far.

 

 

Today will remain unforgettable in my life as I stand before you to accept the mandate to serve our noble Institute as the 46th President and Chairman of our Governing Council. It is also elating to know that the joy of this day is shared by many whom I hold in high esteem who have left their busy schedules to honour our invitation.

 

Let me therefore acknowledge, most respectfully, the presence of some of my mentors and predecessors in this exalted office some of whom had been President of the Institute when I was still a toddler. I sincerely cherish the presence of distinguished members of our great Institute, comprising professional colleagues and partners in progress. I wish to acknowledge the presence of members of my family members as well as close friends from all walks of life who have found time to honour me today with their presence. I thank the media personnel, who are reasonably represented here, for the good publicity of today’s landmark event in the annals of our profession and the Insurance Industry as a whole.

 

 

PROMOTING THE LEGACY OF CONTINUITY

 

My decision to serve our noble Institute is with every sense of responsibility and commitment that far exceeds any personal interest. It is about the growth and development of the Institute rather than the satisfaction of a desire to actualize an ambition to lead or to be visible; it represents a genuine intention to place our collective desires for this great Institute, above the fulfilment of any self-glorifying agenda; it is about service to our professional body and the rallying point for all of us.

 

It is indeed against this backdrop that the theme of my Presidency is Promoting the Legacy of Continuity.

 

I wish to thank my Investiture Committee for sharing this vision and for helping to articulate the modalities for instituting a legacy of Continuity. My good friend, Mr. Eddie Efekoha who is Chairman of  the Investiture Committee and the entire Committee membership have also done very well by ensuring that today’s Ceremony is a success.

 

Our theme, Promoting the Legacy of Continuity, is borne out of the belief that there is a sense of responsibility in identifying with and reinforcing the programmes and policies which engender greater strength and vitality for our institute. The choice of the theme is also borne out of the need to establish a rolling-plan which will guarantee that on-going positive projects and policies are upheld by successive leadership even in addition to new projects and plans. Let me acknowledge the fact that the Doctrine of Continuity has been snowballing in the last few years, culminating in our decision to begin a campaign to institutionalize it today. For example, the following have continued to feature in the agendas of my predecessors:

 

  • Institute’s Victoria Island building project
  • The College of Insurance
  • Promoting the relevance of Insurance in national consciousness
  • Developing the platforms for Insurance Education
  • Establishment of greater Industry bonding

 

In promoting the strong benefits of continuity and its significance as the most expedient course to chart in order to reposition our institute for greater relevance, my presidency will focus on the following:

 

  • Resuscitating the development of the Institute’s building in Victoria Island

 

  • Commencement of Academic Activities at the College of Insurance and Financial Management

 

  • Establishment of an E-Library

 

  • Strengthening the study and teaching of Insurance in Secondary Schools and tertiary Institutions in Nigeria

 

  • Provision of adequately trained manpower at the Institute Secretariat for improved service delivery

 

 

  1. Resuscitating the development of the Institute’s building in Victoria Island

 

The Victoria Island building project became an albatross over the years because of a series of failed attempts to bring it back on track. These failures had nothing to do with less commitment by the Building Committee, nor with the absence of ideas on the way forward. Mrs. Oluseyi Ifaturoti’s presidency strived so much to resuscitate the project through a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) option which was truncated by the Economic Meltdown as well as unresolved issues relating to the old approved building plans which became “land-locked” in murky circumstances I need not bore you with. However, the most remarkable progress was made by my predecessor, Mr. F.K Lawal with the support of the Ifaturoti-chaired Building Committee and the Commitment of our Elders, Chief Rasheed Alaba Williams and Mr. Dele Onifade. These recent steps led to the bold resolution of the outstanding issues with the firm of Architects and Consultants, enabling the Institute to take full possession of the property – an opportunity that had eluded us for 25 years.

 

This Presidency will therefore proceed immediately to consolidate the process of mapping out the way forward for the project. We shall examine all the available options and will be guided by the best counsel to decide what should be done.

 

  1. Commencement of Academic Activities at the College of Insurance and Financial Management

 

In the last three years, we have taken giant steps as we try to actualize our dream of a College of Insurance and Financial Management. These steps include the massive work done in respect of the construction and completion of most of the structures contained in the College blue-print and the employment of a Rector to Fast-track the processes leading to a fully-fledged College of Insurance.

 

We will therefore ensure resolute efforts to place the College at the heart of the Institute’s activities by:

 

  • embarking on the landscaping and beautification of the College premises
  • equipping the completed buildings to make them functional;
  • moving the existing College staff to the College campus;
  • launching the College within the next six months; and
  • commencing academic activities in full at the College.

Above, all we will ensure that the College harnesses its potential to provide world-class human capital development programmes for the Insurance Industry, and that it uses its income-generation capability for the commencement of the remaining phases of the project.

 

  1. Establishment of E-Library

 

The E-Library is fundamentally a shift from the old to the new in the provision of library services. With the focus of making the College of Insurance the hub for research and product development, the establishment of an E-Library at the College will be given urgent attention. Permit me to inform you that Mansard Insurance made an offer to substantially sponsor this Investiture Ceremony but we put our heads together and agreed that they could direct the funds to the establishment of an E-Library at the College.

 

We are grateful to the Management of Mansard Insurance for sharing this vision and for accepting the offer as part of a lasting legacy in promoting Insurance Education and, in particular, the Insurance industry.

 

The Governing Council in the emerging dispensation, will build on Mansard’s generosity to develop a world-class E-Library which will be to the benefit of our Industry and the Financial services Industry as a whole.

 

  1. Strengthening the Study and Teaching of Insurance in Secondary and    Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria

 

The production of an Insurance Textbook for Senior Secondary Schools which was launched during the 2013 Graduation and Awards Ceremony became a major step towards reinforcing the inclusion of Insurance in the curriculum of Secondary Schools in Nigeria by the Federal Ministry of Education. It also engenders a lasting legacy in entrenching Insurance in the consciousness of the emerging population as a worthwhile course of study and career path.

 

The Governing Council in the emerging Presidency will launch the book at the National level and ensure that it is accepted as the study manual for students preparing for the School Certificate Examinations. Fortunately, the first Insurance examinations at the School Certificate level commenced this year. Other steps to be taken are as follows:

 

  • Urgent establishment of an Insurance Teachers Forum. This will, among other things, provide a platform for interface between the Institute and the Teachers at both Secondary and Tertiary levels for the enhancement of their capacities to deliver qualitative Insurance Education. This is against the background that most Insurance teachers, especially in Secondary schools, do not possess Insurance certification.

 

  • Collaboration with the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) to consider the integration of Insurance into the Teachers Training Scheme in the Colleges of Education in order to boost the production of qualified Insurance teachers.

 

  • Commencement of a Train-the-Trainers Scheme at the College of Insurance geared to providing induction courses for Insurance Teachers and Trainers across the country.

 

5.   Provision of Adequately Trained Manpower at the Institute Secretariat for Improved Service Delivery.

           

The restructuring of the Secretariat was started by the Sunny Adeda Presidency and completed by my predecessor, Mr. Fatai Kayode Lawal. The task, which reduced the staff strength remarkably, also realigned staff responsibilities to guarantee greater productivity and service delivery to the teeming members of the Institute.

 

The Governing Council also approved Enhanced Staff Remuneration packages, bringing about greater self-esteem for the staff and a renewed sense of responsibility. The renovation of the secretariat building also uplifted the work environment. All of these have come with certain expected benefits.

       

CONSOLIDATING THE BENEFITS OF THE RESTRUCTURING OF THE SECRETARIAT

Our focus in the emerging dispensation will be to consolidate these modest successes and ensure that the secretariat staff do not relapse into the old ways. More fundamentally, efforts will be geared to meeting the staff training needs across the board. Staff will also be encouraged to embark on self-development programmes which would be fully reimbursed on successful completion.

 

 

ENTRENCHING A CULTURE OF SUCCESSION PLANNING AT THE SECRETARIAT

It is pertinent to state that the Secretariat Management will be encouraged to establish a viable succession plan that will forestall any vacuum when key management staff retire or exit from the services of the Institute. This will be closely monitored by the Council for the purposes of compliance and efficiency.

 

CONCLUSION

Distinguished Guests, Professional Colleagues, Ladies and Gentleman, our country Nigeria is witnessing the worst cases of insecurity and the abuse of human integrity. This is not only worrisome, but also beckons on all true and loyal citizens to rally round the leadership in finding lasting solutions to myriads of problems which confront us as a nation.

 

As an industry, we are immensely challenged by the emerging risk factors most of which are alien to our culture and existence. Now, therefore, is the most crucial time for the re-examination of our expertise as risk managers to pool our knowledge in providing new insurance packages for the benefit of the vulnerable population of today. This is also the time to re-examine our individual and collective Corporate Social Responsibility to our immediate communities which daily face adverse environmental hazards. As an industry, we must step up our campaign for an all-inclusive insurance education which should include the support of public education initiatives aimed at keeping the citizenry abreast of preventive measures against fire, flooding, automobile and domestic accidents as well as unhealthy lifestyles.

 

As I end this speech, I wish to reiterate the fact that my task in accepting the mantle of leadership shall not be tempered by any selfish interests. Indeed, I shall continually uphold the mandates of my oath of allegiance and pledge to serve selflessly and undeterred by factors alien to our professional calling.

 

I wish to appreciate everyone who found time to honour our humble invitation the Chairman, Chief Segun Osunkeye, the Special Guest of Honour, His Excellency, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Executive Governor of Ogun State of Nigeria, the Temowo & Olusanya families, the two wonderful gifts of God, AnjolaOluwa & Oluwatooni and finally to the most amiable and most wonderful wife any man could ever wish or dream to have, the love of my life, Olushola.

I thank you for your attention.

 

MR BOLA TEMOWO, FCII, FIIN

President/Chairman of Council

CHARTERED INSURANCE INSTITUTE OF NIGERIA

 

 

 

 

 

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