ACCEPTANCE SPEECH by Mrs. Funmi Babington-Ashaye on her INVESTITURE as the 48th President & Chairman of Council of The Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria at the Intercontinental Hotel, Plot 52, Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island on Tuesday, July 25, 2017.
1. It is with a great sense of humility and responsibility that I stand before this distinguished audience this evening to share the joy of my election and investiture as the 48th President, and 6th Female President, of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN)with you all. As the peak and crowning glory of my professional career, it is, for me, a dream fulfilled; and I know that, for our great Institute and its many numerous admirers, this is another milestone worthy of celebration. As we savour the joy, I ascribe all glory and honour to the Almighty God for His faithfulness and abiding grace. May His name be praised forever, in Jesus Name.
2. When I joined the Governing Council of the Institute in 2006, the thought on my mind thenwas simply to contribute my modest quota to its growth and development. It is indeed a great honour to be found worthy and elected by our governing Council as the President of the Institute. I accept this as an affirmation of your confidence in my leadership qualities and clarion call to duty.
3. Thus, as I take over the mantle of leadership of our great Institute from an outstanding lady, my sister and wonderful professional colleague, I will forever cherish the memories of this day. I promise that, by His Grace, I will not fail; I will not falter; I will not disappoint. I will lead by example and bring my modest wealth of experience to bear on the various strategic initiatives of the Institute and Profession.
4. I therefore heartily dedicate this historic achievement to the memory of my late darling husband, friend and soul mate, Late Prince Abiodun Adebajo Babington-Ashaye, FCA. My noble Prince, I cannot thank you enough. You were my inspiration, strength and pathfinder in the business world. You were my friend, companion and teacher on whose shoulders I leaned in times of challenges. You led me on to conquer when I thought I had been conquered. I am most grateful to you, my Prince, for the lessons of life and the spirit of an amazon whichyou helped me to imbibe. You prepared me for this day because it was what you wished for me when you became the 43rd President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) on May 31, 2007. I thank you and pray that you continue to rest in peace in the bosom of the Lord. Amen.
5. I also warmly dedicate this success story to my wonderful children, Oyindamola, Adetola and Adefemi for their love and understanding.
6. You have been a source of joy, comfort,inspiration and strength to me. I thank God for making you my children and for your outstanding exploits in your various undertakings. I treasure you all.
7. I wish to acknowledge most respectfully the efforts of my parents Late Mr Alfred Olubunmiand Mrs Esther Olatunde Akinbami who laboured so hard to make me and my siblings a success story. I remember them today with fond memories. May their loving souls continue to rest in perfect peace. Amen.
8. My journey into the world of Insurance, like most of my colleagues, was by accident. I applied to study Accountancy at the Lagos State College of Science and Technology now known as Lagos State Polytechnic. As fate would have it, I was offered admission to study Insuranceby the school. I was worried and disappointedbut, prayed to God and was convinced to that it was the will of God for me. So I accepted the offer. To the glory of God, I emerged as the best graduating Higher National Diploma Student in the Insurance Department in 1987. I completed the Associateship examination of the Chartered Insurance Institute, United Kingdom same year and became a Chartered Insurance Practitioner in 1987.
9. My career in the Insurance Industry started in 1987 at Royal Exchange Assurance Plc where I had the wonderful opportunity of working with notable Insurance professionals who taught me the ropes. Please permit me to appreciate the then Managing Director/Chief Executive of Royal Exchange Assurance PLC, Late Mr. Jonah Ikhidero who gave me my first insurance job; Alhaji N.O. Adiro for his meticulous on–the–job training and Late Mrs Comfort Rowaiye for being a great role model who influenced me considerably. I thank them all for their tutelage which helped to shape my professional career.
10. In search of higher responsibilities and more challenges, I accepted the invitation from the pioneer Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Cornerstone Insurance PLC, Late Mr.Adetunji Ogunkanmi, who I met also at Royal Exchange Assurance to join him to found the company in 1991. Through dint of hard work, I rose through the ranks to the position of Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Cornerstone Insurance PLC within a period of 15 years! I learnt a great deal from Tunji. May his soul continue to rest in peace. I also had a brief stint at NICON Insurance Plc when I was appointed an interim Managing Director by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Today, I am the promoter and Managing Director of Risk Analyst, a fledgling Insurance Broking firm.
11. As a keen admirer of professionalism, I joined the Institute in 1992 and was elected a Fellow in 2004. I have been actively involved in many of its activities serving on several committees such as Audit and General Purposes Committee, Activities Committee, Strategy Advisory Committee, Education Committee, Chairman Organizing Committee of the Inaugural Insurance Industry Mega Conference, and presently the Chairman, Board of the College of Insurance and Financial Management Studies.Without doubt, therefore, this election and investiture as the 48th President of CIIN, is a clarion call to further service.
CALL TO SERVICE
12. The theme of my tenure is “Insurance: Imperative for Education and Enlightenment”.The choice of this theme was informed by the need to strategically confront one of the greatest challenges facing our Industry today, which is,the lack of awareness of our stakeholders about the importance and benefits of Insurance to their wellbeing and economic prosperity.
13. This challenge manifests in poor patronage of insurance products by the public and the unwillingness by the youths to choose Insurance as a course of study. As an Institute, we must continue to take deliberate steps to address these issues with a view to repositioning the profession. We must, like our predecessors, engage our stakeholders to change the tide in favour of our industry and profession.
14. Accordingly my tenure will make Insurance education and enlightenment a common issue to be driven by all stakeholders in their various domains. Every practitioner must become an ambassador of the Industry in his/her sphere of influence. I have, in preparation for my tenure,engaged some of my professional colleagues to transform my thoughts on this initiative into achievable programmes. I thank members of my Investiture Committee led by Mrs. Seyi Ifaturoti, a past president of the Institute, for their selfless service. In line with my thoughts and the Committee’s recommendations, the following programmes will be the main thrusts of my Presidency.
i. Regular Advocacy
ii. Members’ Professional Development
iii. Enhanced Insurance Awareness
iiii. Continued Efforts on Institute’s Buildings
v. Re-organisation of the Secretariat
15. The details of these 5-point agenda will be too voluminous and time consuming to be presented here. However permit me to present a summary of the action plans designed to attain the desired objectives.
15.1 Regular Advocacy
We would engage in Regular Advocacy and press releases on the role of insurance in the security of lives, property and wealth creation. This will help to drive public awareness about insurance and help to rebuild the public confidence and trust in the profession and industry.
15.2 Members’ Professional Development
The subsisting Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (MCPD)programmewill be reviewed to improve its offerings. This would be complemented with the regularpublication of an Insurance e-Newsletter that will disseminate information on emerging developments in the Industry for the benefit of members. Also, the College of Insurance and Financial Management would be challenged to organise more relevant programmes for the benefit of all stakeholders.
15.3 Enhanced Insurance Awareness
▪ Career fairs would be organised for students while Insurance textbooks will be distributed to Secondary Schools, Tertiary Institutions, States and National Libraries.
▪ With the support of NAICOM, Insurance companies and other stakeholders, the required assistance will be provided for the establishment and accreditation of at least two Insurance Departments in tertiary institutions to promote the study of Insurance.
15.4 Continued Efforts On Institute’s Building
I commend the efforts made by the last three Past Presidents to resuscitate the development of the Institute’s building on Victoria Island. With the support of Council, I will continue from where they stopped and in particular, vigorously pursue the implementation of the decision of the Council to adopt the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model to fund the project. Let me also seize this opportunity to commend our Immediate Past President for the beautiful renovation works she carried out at the Institute’s national Secretariat, Ebute Meta. This upgrade should enhance the service delivery.
15.5 Re–organisation of The Secretariat
The 2015 KPMG Report on the strategic action plan to reposition the Institute for relevance would be further implemented.
My presidency would transform the Institute’s workforce to deliver on the key initiative of my action plan.
16. Let me end this address by noting that, over the years, the Almighty God has blessed me with wonderful people, like you and many more, too numerous to be mentioned, who were used to take me up the ladder of life. I would therefore like to appreciate, most profoundly, the presence my siblings and husband’s family members, his friends and colleagues in the Accountancy Profession, my professional colleagues, mentors and friends, from all walks of life at this great celebration of professional excellence. Indeed, your esteemed presence is not only a mark of honour and a show of support for me but also, a demonstration of your abiding faith that collectively, we can chart a new and more progressive path for our Profession. Sincerely, Ithank you all for the various roles you played in my life and for being part of this historic event. To our Royal father, I say Kaabiesi oo, I thank you most sincerely for the honour done to your daughter from Egbaland for being part of myinvestiture. Ki Ade pelori, KI bata pelese. OloriAse ise ibi, Irukere Amapo si. I am indeed very grateful sir.
17. The efforts of the founding fathers of the Institute cannot go unmentioned. I humbly salute their foresight, courage and the sacrifices they made to establish the Institute in 1959. I can see a few of them in our midst today.
18. I thank them all for this legacy of professionalism. I also thank the members of the Governing Council for their conviction that I am worthy of being the President of the Institute at this time.
19. As l end this address, I humbly affirm before all of you in the name of the Almighty God to keep aglow the torch which was lit in 1959 to promote insurance professionalism. Together, we would resolutely drive the Institute on the part of development.
20. Thank you all most warmly and God bless.
Mrs. Funmilayo Babington-Ashaye FCII, FIIN
48th President/Chairman of Council
25th July, 2017.