Speaking as the guest speaker at the inaugural Corporate Governance and Enterprise Development Conference organized by H. Michael & Co in Lagos, business leader and first female Managing Director of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Mrs. Yemisi Edun, has charged corporate organisations, particularly micro-businesses (SMEs), to adopt sound corporate governance practices in order to stand the test of time.

The FMCB boss noted that no business could stand the test of time without sound corporate governance practices. She made it clear that micro-businesses also require the same to achieve optimum performance and sustainable growth. So, the Bank Chief charged small businesses to imbibe corporate governance practices.

Edun listed the long-term benefits of sound corporate governance practice as strong brand equity, decreasing risks, reducing capital cost, and enhanced performance. She added that only businesses with solid corporate governance practices could stimulate economic growth and enhance innovation while protecting communities and the environment in their daily activities.

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In the keynote address, Professor Sunday Owolabi, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Babcock University, simplified corporate governance to “doing the right when no one is looking.” He affirmed the advice of the Managing Director of FCMB to businesses to always do the right thing all the time, even when they seem to be at a disadvantage.

Owolabi urged businesses to self-regulate and embrace full disclosure and accountability. They are the building blocks of enduring institutions that outlive their founders. He also advised the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria to consolidate the country’s multi-sector codes of corporate governance into a single omnibus document for corporations in Nigeria.

Dr Adeyinka Hassan, a notable enterprise governance advocate, who convened the conference noted that more than 100 companies in Nigeria have fizzled out due to corporate failures.

According to him, “there are companies we knew when we were growing up that are no more. They are all gone due to lack of a well-structured board and lack of good corporate governance.”

He said, “No matter how small a business is or how fast a business is growing, there are certain things that must be done to sustain a business beyond the life of the owner. And that is where corporate governance comes. We need to preach it to everyone.”