Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has asked members of the Institute of Directors to do more to facilitate the inclusion and promotion of young people in governance and decision-making processes.
Osinbajo spoke at the ongoing 2021 annual conference of the Institute of Directors (IoD) themed: “Creating the Future: Deepening Corporate Governance Practice Through Multisectoral and Multi-Generational Collaborations.”
While noting that young people aged 20-39 make up 29.9 per cent (2.3 billion) of the world’s workforce, the vice president said it is imperative to groom and strategically position them to take up leadership roles.
He said the responsibility of grooming and strategic positioning of youths in leadership roles could only be accomplished by a synergy between both the government and private sector.
He charged the IoD to remain proactive and at the forefront of promoting effective governance through mentorship and building of the capacity of young people.
The conference highlighted the need for the inclusion of young directors in corporate governance as a means of improving the practice of sound corporate governance in both the private and public sector spaces in Nigeria.
The chairman of the conference, and BUA Group, Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu, highlighted the passion, drive and ability of young Nigerians against all odds to create new industries in areas previously considered as non-lucrative and expand services in various sectors of the economy using technology.
“With their numbers and potential there is absolutely no need to ignore them. There is a need to bring them on board and equip them with the right tools to succeed in the business world,” said Rabiu whose company recently appointed a 26-year-old as an executive director.
On the existing gaps in corporate governance and business sustainability, he said while the young private and public sector must work together to include and groom young people in corporate governance, private businesses, government and regulators must synergise for better understanding and addressing of their roles and needs.
“The government and regulators must also realize that platforms like the IoD, and we, as directors, are there for their own benefits. This is very important because we have to collaborate, to support each other.
“The business community (not all of it) view government agencies like the customs services with either fear or contempt. “There is no need for that because we all have roles to play. The synergy must be there for us to understand one another.”
Emphasizing the importance of inclusivity in corporate governance across sectors and generations in building a harmonious organization, IoD President and Chairman of Council, Dr Ije Jidemma said beyond the conference and professionalization of the institute, it has established the Young Directors Forum as a platform to encourage and build the capacity of young directors by their older, more seasoned colleagues.
“We will encourage and build their capacity specifically to be mentored by older directors in terms of their businesses, as some may have ideas but lack knowledge of the processes and procedures required to facilitate their ideas. We will help them to do that so that their businesses will not only thrive today but are sustainable for the future,” Jidemma said.