The Immediate Past President, Chief Richard U. Uche, Ph.D., FCA
The Special Guest of Honour and Executive Governor of Delta State,
His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan,
The 2nd Dep. Vice President, Maj. Gen. Sebastian A. Owuama (rtd), FCA
Distinguished Members Of Council,
The Doyen of the Accountancy Profession in Africa,
Mr. Akintola Williams, CBE, CFR, B.Comm, FCA
Our Revered Past Presidents
The Registrar/Chief Executive, Mr. O.A. Adepate, FCA
My Lords Temporal and Spiritual,
Members of the Press
Friends and Well-wishers of the Institute
Members of the Secretariat Staff here present
The beauty of democracy lies not only in the fact that it offers the people unfettered freedom to select their leaders but also to chart their own destiny through the quality of leaders they elect. The legitimacy the process confers on the elected leaders is the elixir they require to drive the people’s dream. So, what we have just witnessed here this morning, is the beauty of democracy, the discipline within the Accountancy Profession and the efficacy of the succession processes of the foremost professional body on the continent of Africa, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. I am certain that no one, except my Council members, had expected a call for further nominations by my brother and friend, the Immediate Past President, after the brilliant nomination speech so eloquently delivered by Gbemi Soyemi-Beecroft a distinguished Council member and seconded by Kabir Mohammed. That a measure of quietude greeted the chamber when further nominations were called for, clearly reaffirmed the unanimous acceptance of my choice. Indeed, as a democrat, I was not perturbed because of my conviction that the will of the people will prevail, as it eventually did. Our success as a body is predicated on this rancour-free, time-tested and trusted electoral process for which we salute our founding fathers. As chartered accountants, we are proud of our democratic antecedents.
It is with great sense of responsibility and humility that I stand before you, in this hallowed Chamber, to accept my election as the 45th President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. I warmly congratulate all chartered accountants for submitting to the discipline of this unique and enviable system, which has positively served the interest of the Institute and profession since 1965. I am exceedingly filled with joy and profound gratitude to the Almighty God for granting me the grace, at His own time, to be a major dramatis personae and beneficiary in today’s momentous event.
The complex, challenging but eventful journey which culminated in the success of this day started with my accounting training at Brighton Tech, South West London College, and later Leeds Metropolitan University all in the United Kingdom and my eventual qualification as a Chartered Certified Accountant in 1971. Ever since, I have worked assiduously and conscientiously as a professional both in the private and public sectors of the economy, carefully threading the footprints of the profession’s founding fathers, in a determined effort to reach the peak of my profession. Today, that dream is fulfilled by my investiture as the flag bearer of this great Institute for the next twelve months. The glory of this day is a befitting testament not only to the resilience of my “I CAN” spirit but more importantly, to God’s divine intervention. According to the Holy Writ, “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle for the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all (Eccl 9v.11)”. While appreciating God for His special grace and favour, I pledge my absolute dedication to the ICAN Cause and to defend the ideals of the Accountancy Profession, no matter the odds.
CLARION CALL TO SERVICE: THINK GLOBAL, ACT NATIONAL
In the last 44 years, this noble institute has pioneered various initiatives and made remarkable progress in various fields both locally and internationally by leveraging on the expertise and ingenuity of its members and the foresight and wise counsel of its revered past presidents. While the landscape of the Accountancy Profession remains global and dynamic, we will continue to brace up to the unfolding challenges and act in the nation’s interest. Therefore the theme of my address and indeed my tenure as president is, “Think Global Act National”. Accordingly, this seamless change of leadership baton will be marked by selfless service, commitment to professionalism, excellence and the public interest that will assure our steady flight through the rungs on the ladder of economic and human progress. These, we will do in the next twelve months, without unnecessarily dissipating energy fighting unproductive battles. We offer our olive branch and hand of friendship to all our opponents not out of weakness or fear but as a mark of courage and leadership.
However, as we make this choice of a policy shift from bickering to peaceful co-existence with others, we will press forward more aggressively with on-going strategies to enhance and make ICAN, the most preferred brand. We will continue to defend our leadership position within the professions and in the market place through capacity building in Council, among members and in the Secretariat. The reasons for this strategy are not far-fetched: our competitive advantage and capability to create more wealth will be significantly enhanced through new knowledge.
Leadership is a Continuum
Although an ICAN President’s tenure is usually one year, a member of the Presidency typically spends four years and so has the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to the Institute’s strategic policies embedded in its rolling plans. Thus, programmes initiated in one presidential year can be completed in the following year. For a professional institute like ICAN, the need to avoid a disconnect between one tenure and the other cannot be over-emphasised.
As leadership is a continuum, we will resuscitate the culture of rolling plans and strive to complete all on-going projects and initiatives even as we will place greater emphasis on certain areas for quick wins. Some of these projects and programmes include Strengthening of Faculties, the Construction of ICAN Annex Office at Ebute-Metta, upgrading of the Institute’s Library Facilities. Defence of ICAN Act, Implementation of Professional Practice Monitoring, Strengthening the Faculties, Computerisation of Institute Operations, etc.
Technical Support to Members
Research has revealed that the public perception of chartered accountants is influenced largely by the quality of services they deliver and their disposition to ethical conduct. In fact, integrity is fundamental to the practice of chartered accountants. Accordingly, the Council through its six faculties will continue to provide technical support to members through the issuance of practice statements/guidelines, technical pronouncements, and the organisation of special training programmes on critical and emerging practice issues. In addition, we will create and reinforce a Technical Help Desk in the Research and Technical Directorate such that the Secretariat can continue to respond more expeditiously to the professional needs of members. We will proffer solutions to global financial crises and make pronouncements on how our members should react to financial reporting issues embedded in the crises.
Although the Institute has produced about 27,000 chartered accountants since its inception in 1965 through its internally generated revenue, available statistics indicated that this is far less than the number required to man the over 700,000 corporate entities registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission. In spite of this, it is disheartening to note that there are chartered accountants who are still unemployed. This huge resource waste, which can be attributed to pervasive ignorance of the usefulness of the expertise of chartered accountants to corporate success, must be halted. The Council created an Employment Bureau to assist unemployed members to secure jobs, a concerted effort will be made to upgrade the Bureau to a Strategic Business Unit (SBU). We will aggressively reach out to corporate entities and prospective employers to enlighten them to see the propriety of engaging the services of chartered accountants. In addition we will evolve entrepreneurship training programmes such that, ultimately, our members will remain employers of labour and wealth creators rather than job seekers. This will also apply to the Accounting Technician Scheme.
Restoring Confidence and Integrity in The Financial Systems. In response to the global financial crises, a number of indepth studies on financial reporting and corporate governance practices had been undertaken in many countries including Nigeria. Consequently, some fundamental issues which arose from the studies and required further improvement in the quality of accounting practice and financial reporting in Nigeria, the Council had to date, issued 32 Nigerian Standards on Auditing (NSAs) which are clear adaptation of the 32 International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) which had so far been issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Board (IAASB) of IFAC. Thus, during the year, the Council will take on this strategic assignment of addressing, documenting and publishing the outstanding aspects of the studies. This includes making the information readily available on the Institute’s website.
Convergence with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)
The statutory responsibility to issue accounting standards is that of the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB), the body created by ICAN in 1982. The NASB currently issues the Statement of Accounting Standards (SAS), which are markedly different from the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), now used in many countries. This creates a problem of comparability of financial reports issued by corporate entities in Nigeria with those of other jurisdictions. As we continue to operate in the global economy, the financial reports of Nigerian entities must be comparable with those of other countries in order to attract foreign investment.
During the year, in line with the global trend, the Institute will liaise with NASB to fast- track the adoption and/or adaptation of international reporting standards as well as pursue vigorously their implementation.
We will also cooperate and work with the NASB, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and other Agencies of government to facilitate the adoption and/or adaptation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSASs) in the conduct of public sector business. This will ensure programmed transfer from the current cash-based accounting and modified cash-based accounting systems to accrual accounting system.
Promoting Closer Relations with Accounting Firms
An area of focus during my tenure will be establishing closer ties with leading accounting firms in Nigeria, without prejudice to medium and smaller firms, to enhance our relevance and competitiveness in the global market and governance. Admittedly large firms have the capacity to drive the profession considering the high quality and quantity of information at their disposal. In view of this, we intend to leverage on their expertise and resources to continue to raise the profile of the Institute and the Profession. Accordingly, the Council under my leadership will reach out and work more closely with leading practising firms in the country. With their assistance and expertise, we will further train our members on how to attract and execute cross-border and global business assignments.
IFAC Forum of Small and Medium Practising (SMP) Firms
Last October, the Institute made history by hosting the IFAC Forum of Small and Medium-sized Practising (SMP) firms, which was attended by the IFAC President, Mr. Robert Bunting and delegates from over 22 countries across the globe. The recommendations arising from that forum for the improved efficiency and effectiveness of small and medium practice will be implemented during the year. During the Forum, a number of recommendations on how to take SMPs/SMEs to the next level were adopted. During the year, we will strive to implement these recommendations.
Relationship with Regional and Other Bodies.
As a founding member of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa (ABWA) the Institute will continue to maintain our membership of both bodies as well as enhance our visibility and influence.
We will also continue to maintain our relationship with the World Bank, NASB, Nigerian Universities Commissions, Corporate Affairs Commission, Association of Professional Bodies in Nigeria and other regulatory bodies.
Accounting Education Forum
During the year concerted effort will be made to actualise the objectives for the endowment of professorial chair in Accounting in some universities, There will be an interactive forum for educators in the accounting profession and efforts will be made to support the Nigerian Accounting Teachers Association(NATA) as they play a pivotal role in our certification process. The objectives of this forum is to provide information which will influence the thrust of Council’s future strategic policies.
Making ICAN a Global Brand
With the vibrancy of the ICAN-UK and District Society and the recent inauguration of the ICAN-USA District Society as well as the approval and subsequent publication of the Institute’s Work Plan on Statement of Membership Obligation (SMO) 3 by IFAC on its website, the Council has set the tone for reaching out to our members in the Diaspora. As we strive to implement this Work Plan, the ICAN Brand must be taken beyond Europe and USA to other parts of the world where many of our members now reside. In the same vein we will strive to ensure that our Institute provides a more visible presence in all IFAC activities and programs. While pursuing this objective, we intend also to establish more district societies outside Nigeria to create additional visibility for the ICAN Brand and expand our network of technical relationships. We will strive to make in-roads into as many standing committees of IFAC as possible. We must think global and act national.
Marketing of the Institute
The decision of the Institute to go global places on Council the need to reappraise the place of marketing in its activities. Pursuant to this, our publications, releases and pronouncements must be laced with the desired marketing touch such that they will achieve the expected results. Accordingly, we will set up a marketing unit to enhance our image.
During the year, the Council under my leadership will deliberately improve the Institute’s website in order to make it more robust, interactive and capable of warehousing much more intellectual and professional knowledge resources than it currently does. In fact, windows for corporate advertisements and job placement opportunities would be further created on the website. This is crucial if it must continue to deliver on its mandate as a vehicle for supporting members, students, government, regulatory agencies and other stakeholders as well as earn income for the Institute.
Service to the Nation
These are critical times in the history of the nation as we grapple with the challenges of development which manifest largely in the parlous state of roads, power supply, lack of access to potable water, health care facilities, educational institutions, under capacity utilization in the real sector, high rate of unemployment, poor standard of living of the people, poverty, insecurity of lives and property, etc. Interestingly, these are issues the Federal Government seeks to address through the 7-Point Agenda. As an Institute, we share the dream. Given our abiding faith in the Nigerian nation, the Council, under my leadership will continue to offer constructive advice to the government in our efforts to promote the culture of professionalism in the management of public resources thereby facilitating the process of economic growth and development. With our expertise, we will ensure that value for money assumes its prime position in public expenditure. To this end, the Institute, as part of its social responsibility, will continue its tradition of sending solicited and unsolicited memoranda to the government on crucial issues of state. We will also continue to cooperate with all relevant MDAs as well as regulatory bodies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) ,Federal Inland Revenue Services ,Nigerian Customs etc, in order to raise the standard of financial reporting and corporate governance practices in the country.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Accountancy is the language of business and international diplomacy. The trade relations that subsist between nations are defined by the guidelines and agreements reached by members of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) which is the forerunner of the World Trade Organisation. Import and export tariffs are influenced by these meetings. To help developing nations to conform to best practices in corporate transparency and accounting standards such that foreign direct investment is stimulated, UNCTAD created the International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR). During my tenure I will ensure the Institute participates actively in ISAR Sessions and Workshops.
As we all aware, the foundation stone of the Institute’s Ebute Metta Annex office was laid last year with a completion time of 30 weeks. Unfortunately, actual construction work could not be commenced as envisaged due to the Institute’s inability to secure the Lagos State government approval of the building plans. I am delighted to report that this approval has been secured and therefore, the construction of the edifice will commence in earnest. We will strive to complete it within the time frame earlier envisaged.
Institute’s Headquarters in Victoria Island
Also, in order to give the Institute a befitting corporate headquarters, the Victoria Island Secretariat will be given a facelift. As the foremost professional body in the subregion, our corporate headquarters must reflect our stature and image.
It is heartening that the Amuwo Odofin Centre has been handed over to a reputable manager for proper management and for the generation of revenue. During the year, the areas that need to be properly finished will be given due attention such that the set revenue targets will be achieved.
Akintola Williams House, Abuja
During the year we will begin to explore avenues for developing the remaining portion of the Abuja property so as to maximize our returns on the land and bring in additional revenue to the institute.
As we savour the joy of my achievement today and acknowledge the faithfulness of God, I must pay glowing tributes to all those who have mentored, inspired, encouraged, supported and believed in me. Although the list is long and in-exhaustive, they are the reason why today has become a reality. I therefore crave your indulgence to allow me give well-deserved appreciations to all of them.
Let me begin by paying great tributes to all the forty-four presidents that trailed this path before me for their efforts in bequeathing a legacy of selfless service, visionary leadership and total commitment to a truly worthy course. You have all inspired me in one way or the other. In particular I must specially acknowledge the contributions of the following to the success story of today: the Doyen of the Accountancy Profession in Africa, Mr. Akintola Williams, CBE, CFR, B.Com, FCA, Alhaji(Chief) M. O. Anibaba, Alhaji I Sulaimon, Balogun J.O.O Omidiora, Chief E. F. Oke, Chief Anthony Asuquo Ani, Chief Arthur C.I. Mbanefo, CFR, (Odu III),FCA, Her Royal Highness Otunba Ayora Kuforiji-Olubi,B.Sc, FCA, Chief (Mrs) O.O. Olakunri, FCA, Sir (Chief) S. O. Oguntimehin, FCA, Princess A A Adeniran, FCA, Sir Ike Nwokolo, K.SC, FCA, Chief A O Badejo, FCA, His Excellency Chief U.S. Nwankwo, Senator Kolawole Bajomo, FCA, Mrs I. M. Osiyemi, FCA (aka. Mama Council), Prince A A Babington-Ashaye, FCA and of course the immediate Past President, Dr R.ichard Uchechuku.Uche, Ph.D, FCA. I congratulate you once more for an eventful and successful tenure.
I owe a great debt of loving gratitude to my father Omatseye Tuedor and mother Alice Tuedor whose nurturing, sacrifice, love, support and encouragement saw me through childhood and equipped me for success through life. Their hardwork, integrity, total commitment to education and belief in God are the foundation on which my life has been built. I thank them most sincerely.
It is pertinent that I register my profound appreciation to my late husband Professor Adeleye Adegite who was my friend and mentor whose support and passion for excellence spurred me through my training in the UK and my career. To my wonderful and loving children Adeyemi, Ayodeji, Enitan and Adejoke for their continued support and understanding of my commitment and passion for the profession.
My profound appreciation is extended to all Ade’s friends, my friends, colleagues, associates and family members who are here today to honour us by attending this event.
There are many others who contributed to and influenced in some way or another this epoch making event. To each one of you I say a big thank you. Furthermore, I wish to thank my former bosses Mr Hamilton Smith, Professor H A Oluwasanmi, Chief S B Falegan, and a host of others too many to mention because of time constrain . Special appreciation to my sisters/brothers/cousins/in laws Mrs Alero Ayanka, Alhaji Lammie Tony Ojigbo, Dr R O Barrow, Dr. Daniel Eboigbe, Mrs. Faith Tuedor-Matthews, Nelson Tuedor, Temi Tuedor, Pastor Yemi Adegite to name a few.
To my constituency, Society of Women Accountants of Nigeria (SWAN), I say a big thank you.
My immense appreciation goes to all Council Members (past and present), Chairmen ICAN District Societies, ICAN Management & staff (past and present), chairperson and members of SWAN, ABWA President & Council Members (past & present).
Finally, to the group and persons that worked tirelessly in the last twenty four months to prepare and execute the roadmap for my presidential year I am sincerely grateful. May the Almighty God reward you bountifully.
To my pastors a big thank you to you all and God bless you.
Distinguished guests, professional colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, today marks the beginning of another era in the history of our Institute and profession in which honour and service in the public interest will be our performance indicators. For me, the historic event of today will be more meaningful and rewarding if within the next twelve months, the goals I articulated so faithfully above are fully accomplished.
The time calls for great courage to adopt strategies that will lead to the repositioning of the Institute in the national and global arena as well as advance the cause of professionalism in the management of national resources. Although this is a challenge to our team spirit, collective responsibility and nobility of character, I am convinced that we can do it. Therefore, I earnestly solicit the support, cooperation and understanding of members of the Presidency, Council, all my professional colleagues, management and staff of the secretariat in this tortuous journey. As a team, we can overcome all odds and build a profession whose fountain of service will remain valued by the society at large. To accomplish this, I will consult far and wide and ensure that the Institute remains member friendly. We will harness ideas and talents from members and think outside the box in order to take the Institute to greater heights.
My deep appreciation goes to our Governor His Excellency Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, the deputy Governor of Ondo State Alhaji Ali Olanusi, the deputy Governor of Lagos State Mrs Sarah Sosan, His Royal Highness Justice Ademola Ajakaiye, the Oluyin of Iyin, Honourable Minister of Aviation Mr Tunde Omotoba, distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the House of Representative, Commissioners and the representative of His Royal Majesty Atuwatse II The Olu of Warri .I would also like to thank Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo from London, my daughter in- law Omesiri and Demi my granddaughter from Denver , as well as Mrs Cecilia Nyang the President Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ghana and Chairperson International Federation of Women Accountants –Africa Chapter. They have all, despite their very tight and busy schedule, made time to grace this auspicious occasion with their presence. Thank you very much Sirs and Mas.
Finally, let me express my most profound appreciation to all my friends present here today, other invited guests and members of the Press for being part of this history making investiture. I am most appreciative of your goodwill and count on your continued support. On my part, I will not disappoint you. l will use this position to advance the public interest and the cause of humanity God helping me.
May the Good Lord guide your path and grant you journey mercies to your respective abode.
Long live the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria