Multinational corporations operating in Nigeria have been urged to emulate telecommunications firm MTN Nigeria by ensuring good representation of Nigerians on their Board of Directors. Making the request at a special media briefing addressed by its President Mazi Omife I. Omife, Business Renaissance Group(BRG), a non-aligned, not for profit and non-government organisation, underscored the need for adherence to the teneths of brotherhood and corporate inclusion.
Omife noted that the nation’s recent corporate history is replete with some of the best-known and respected corporations that have operated within the shores of Nigeria for as long as 50 years yet membership of their Boards are skewed in favour of non-Nigerians. He observed that most of these notable multinationals have only recently, under compulsion, deemed it expedient to enlarge their Boards of Directors to include Nigerians.
Omife commended the recent reconstitution of the Board of Directors of MTN Nigeria as a veritable example of how best to appreciate local human resource. It applauded the appointment of the likes of Dr Ernest Ndukwe, Mrs Omobola Johnson and Mrs IfuekoOkauru to the Board of MTN Nigeria. These appointments, Omife observed, is coming on the heels of the immediate past board headed by the venerable Dr. Pascal Dozie with the likes of Gbenga Oyebode, a corporate czar and Tunde Folawiyo, an astute entrepreneur. All these, he avowed, are coming in less than two decades of MTN operation in Nigeria.
The recent reconstitution of the Board of Directors of MTN Nigeria, according to Omife, is a veritable example of how best to appreciate local human resource. He applauded the inclusion of two outstanding Nigerian womenOmobola Johnson and IfuekoOkauru into the MTN Nigeria Board. He opined that their inclusion demonstrates gender sensitivity in a most noble manner that is devoid of mere tokenism that stem from affirmative action. This is because the two Nigerian women, Johnson and Okauru, unarguably, rank among the brightest and most accomplished Nigerians.
Omife contended that, taken as a whole, the appointment affirms MTN’s belief in the capacity of Nigerians thereby engendering faith and trust in Nigeria and its citizens. It also showcases Nigeria as a country blessed with abundant human capital and underscores the truism implicit in the patriotic refrain of brand Nigeria pay offline “Good People Great Nation”.
Omife ruled out any possibility of conflict of interest in the appointments of these eminent Nigerians. He insisted that the appointment of distinguished Nigerians to the MTN Board, in no way, detracts from equity and fairness. To him, “their appointment is indeed a masterstroke by a visionary multinational corporation to harness the best of available local talent to further the ends of its noble objectives, which, all things considered, will serve the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians”. He surmised that the appointment in no way ran foul of any known law, business ethics and corporate governance rules cum guidelines.He therefore enjoined Nigeriansto encourage the likes of MTN to be properly tooled; with outstanding Nigerians at the commanding heights of their policy-making cadres.
Omife reaffirmedthat BRGunequivocally supports the creation of a level playing field and enabling operating environment for businesses to thrive and prosper. Hepledged to continue the campaign for fair play and global best practices especially as it pertains to businesses in Nigeria.To ensure that the country derives maximum benefits from the MTN Nigeria example of injecting outstanding Nigerian talents to its Board of Directors, he implored other multinationals operating in Nigeria to follow this very good example of MTN.

* Picture shows from left, Trustee, NnekaUzoukwu, Legal Adviser, Barrister OgbonnayaAgbafo, President, MaziOmife I Omife and Secretary, Ike Ikegbunam all of Business Renaissance Group (BRG) during the Group’s Special Media briefing held at Airport Hotel, ikeja on Tuesday.


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