Foundation Honours Nigerian Who Rejected $6m Bribe
– As Makinde, Awosika, Ighodalo others speak on virtues of integrity in nation building
Decades after he rejected a $6 million bribe offer, the first Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Exploration & Production Company (SNEPCO), Dr. (Engr.) Olufemi Lalude, was recently conferred with this year’s leadership award of the Akinjide Adeosun Foundation (AAF).
The award, “Leadership in Integrity “ was conferred on Lalude, now 81, during the 5th edition of the annual AAF colloquium with the theme Integrity – a sine qua non to building a prosperous nation.
AAF founder and Chairman\CEO of St. Rachael’s Pharmaceutical Nigeria Limited, Mr Akinjide Adeosun said the recognition of the former SNEPCO MD is in line with the core mandate of the Foundation which is based on the belief that life will be good for everyone if the nation gets leadership right in all spheres.
“Integrity is an essential building block to building a prosperous nation. Truthfulness, Honesty, Respect for People, Hard work, Humility are traits of Integrity.
“Many years ago, Our Awardee, Papa Dr.(Engr.) Olufemi Lalude, the First Managing Director of the Shell Nigeria Exploration & production Company SNEPCO was offered a bribe of USD 6m. The organization that offered him the bribe moved against him. However, he refused to be cowed & stood his ground.
He was sued with his employer but triumph, he triumphed. Papa Dr. (Engr). Femi Lalude is a man of integrity, a rarity in our clime dwarfed by corruption and greed.
“Today Papa at 81 is living a peaceful, joyous and fulfilled contented Life. We are celebrating him today. He began his career with Integrity as his legacy in mind. We have many good people in Nigeria. We must celebrate them to dwarf the bad publicity the few bad people is giving our nation,” Adeosun said as he welcomed participants to the colloquium, which was held virtually and featured guests from all parts of the world”, he stated.
Other speakers at the colloquium spoke in the same vein, concluding that the nation has lost its old value system by embracing dishonorable practices and lack of accountability in all spheres across the family, School,business, government and society levels.
In his presentation, Oyo State governor Seyi Makinde submitted that Nigeria would continue to find it difficult to grow without putting structures in place to strengthen openness, truthfulness and transparency in leadership. According to him, the absence of a structure for checks and balances is likely to continue to stunt the growth of the country.
“There is a large trust gap between the citizens and leaders of this country due to lack of transparency on the part of the political class. When we talk about integrity in governance, it entails honesty, transparency and accountability in governance. Integrity is tied to prosperity of any nation in so many ways. And as a leader, you have to be very honest. When a leader is honest, it means he can be trusted, and the citizens can close their two eyes while sleeping”, he said.
The governor’s presentation along with those of other panelists, which included Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank Nigeria; Ifeyinwa Ighodalo, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Women in Business (WIMBIZ); Mags Saba, head of secondary , lagos preparatory school, ikoyi , Lagos and Engr. Victor Bandele, Executive Director, JV Districts, Total Exploration Nigeria Limited, formed the highlights of the communiqué of the 5th annual AAF colloquium.
The communiqué stressed that integrity and honesty remain the collective responsibility to save Nigeria, adding that “whenever the choice to do the right thing is made it will always be the right thing and this establishes sustainability in business.”
The Foundation noted that a reset of our value system and commitment to teach children right is required and therefore recommended that civics and values should be taught aright from primary schools. They also called for the restoration of history as a subject in schools because “to discover where we want to go, we must recognize where we are coming from.”
To restore dignity in business life in Nigeria, AAF also recommended that organizations need to embed checks and balances to institutionalize integrity in staff, processes and procedures.
The Nigerian society, the communiqué further stressed, must hold people accountable for their actions while also taking personal responsibility “for living and advocating values every day, individually, in small groups and neighbourhoods.”
The foundation called on leaders in government to drive patriotism and prosperity by upholding trust and demonstrating transparency.
AAF recommends the implementation of compulsory free education & compulsory free health by the national & sub national governments in Nigeria .This he surmised will lead to an educated , healthy citizenry fired to productive activities leading to a prosperous nation.
The event was held in Lagos and participants joined virtually from all over the world .