ADDING VALUE - By Bashorun J.K. Randle - Paul Ukpabio's Blog


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Tuesday, 18 May 2021

ADDING VALUE - By Bashorun J.K. Randle

(Address delivered at The Nigerian Council of Insurance Brokers Induction of New Fellows at Eko Hotel & Suites on May 20, 2021)

JK Randle

The topic of my address was jointly chosen by the President/Chairman Governing Board of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers, Dr. (Mrs) Bola Onibogi FCIB and Barrister (Mrs) Laide Osijo, FCIB and I have concluded that I have been invited to provide consultancy services to the captains of the Insurance Industry.

Please permit me to state what is pretty obvious:  If you are NOT adding value, You are almost certainly eroding value with consequential losses guaranteed to follow.

Also, I stand to be corrected.  My understanding is that insurance as an economic/financial instrument is predicated on preventing accidents or compensating victims when accidents occur.  

However, Sigmund Freud (1856 to 1939) who was the founding father of psychoanalysis, a method for treating mental illness and also a theory which explains human behavior. Freud believed that events in our childhood have a great influence on our adult lives, shaping our personality had entered a caveat:

“Short of lightning strike, there is 

no such thing as an accident.”

I am also reliably informed that a large chunk of your business revolves around life insurance (longevity versus sudden death).  Perhaps this is what prompted David Hockney the quintessential artist to observe:

“I think longevity is a by-product of a harmonious life.  What makes for a harmonious life differs from person to person, but I think there must be some harmony in it if you live to be older; you find you own rhythm.”

That strikes a chord with me as I shall be 78-years old next January.  Let me quickly add that I recently attended a birthday party hosted by an old boy of St. Gregory’s College.  When it was time to thank his guests and deliver the closing prayers his first words were:

“Dear Lord, I pray that I do not die young.”

That we are gathered here in such large numbers (in strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols) provides confirmation that the Almighty has already answered our prayers.

When we talk of Adding Value, perhaps we need to remind ourselves that Value is the product of enterprise, resourcefulness and exertion.  It is the exact opposite of idleness, complacency and subversive inertia.  It is effort driven by vision.  As a corollary, vision is a corollary discharge (CD) is a copy of a motor command that is sent to the muscles to produce a movement. This copy or corollary does not produce any movement itself but instead is directed to other regions of the brain to inform them of the impending movement.

It bears repetition that whenever (or whoever is not adding value) we are not adding value through a transparent, consistent and measurable process we are automatically devaluing.  A classic example is what currently prevails in the oil section where huge sums are being raked in by insurance companies and brokers.  What stares us in the face is that all our four refineries – two in Port Harcourt and one each in Kaduna and Warri have been moribund for several years.  Hence, we export our crude with no value added and import refined products massively.  The last time I checked, what we are spending on imported petroleum products exceeds what we earn from selling crude oil.  

It is enough to make us cringe.

As for the volatile issue of fuel subsidy, let us leave it aside for now and enjoy our dinner.  The plethora of allegation of shenanigans, massive documentary fraud, product diversion, ghost deliveries, duplicated payments, and outright brigandage are guaranteed to ruin our appetite.

You must forgive me for highlighting another egregious case of non-Value Added.  It goes  back to the days of the defunct Nigerian Airways.  Three of its aircrafts crashed in rapid succession.  It turned out that the insurance broker had collected huge premium but had pocketed it all instead of paying the insurance (and re-insurance) companies.  No claims were paid and the matter was quietly buried.  

However, it was only a matter of time before the consequences would eventually lead to the demise of the airline.  It was not the only reason why Nigeria Airways but it would appear to have been a major contributory factor.

It was a popular magazine which specialised in “Yellow Journalism” that exposed the insurance broker involved in the scandal.  The thrust of the story was that he splashed out  on acquiring properties in prime locations in London and other exotic territories.  Money was no object.  It was a self indulgent extravaganza binge which included Rolls Royce cars, cruises, to erotic destinations, public school education for his children (at the most expensive schools), all night parties, etc.

Inevitably, a brand new wife emerged.  Anyway, that is all history now.

The reason I am somewhat reluctant to delve into the issue of fuel subsidy (or power subsidy) is on account of the front page headline of “ThisDay” newspaper of April 22, 2021:


“The World Bank yesterday expressed fresh concerns about the current subsidy regime in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), projecting that the federal government could be paying as much as N3.4 trillion by 2023 if the current shortfall persists.

Speaking at a “World Bank Dialogue with Energy Reporters” in Abuja with the theme: “Fostering Knowledge-Sharing and Dialogue on Power Sector Issues in Nigeria,” top officials of the bank, however, said the bank would continue to assist the country in dealing with the challenges.

Some of those who spoke at the online Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP) event were the Practice Manager, West and Central Africa Energy World Bank, Ashish Khana, World Bank Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri and Senior Energy Specialist, World Bank, Mr Muhammad Wakil.

But compared with previous attempts at reforming the sector, the bank said there is now more commitment at the highest level to ensure that the right decisions are taken, with the new team led by the office of the president and the ministers of finance and power also deeply involved.

Leading the discussion, Wakil stated that there’s now a commitment to balance fiscal space with tariff adjustments while ensuring protections for the poor.

In addition, he stated that actions are now based on real sectorial data collection, while the design reflects findings of extensive opinion research and willingness to listen, while payment or financing is now linked to performance.

However, he said many issues, including the service-based tariff option was still being resolved, plus over-dependence on gas and over-reliance of the grid on just seven power plants which contribute 59 per cent of the total power.

He added that though he acknowledged that the federal government wanted to keep tariffs low and help the economically disadvantaged, most of the benefits went to the relatively better off, while creating a massive fiscal burden.

“If this goes on, the government will have to spend over N3 trillion by 2023,” he stated.

He added that the cumulative shortfall could be as much as N3.4 trillion, five times the 2020 budget allocation for education and seven times the allocation for health.

According to him, keeping tariffs low benefits the rich more than the poor as the former are more connected to the grid and consume more electricity.

Wakil stated that only 22 per cent of the poorest households have access to electricity, while every N10 on meeting the tariff shortfall, N8 goes to the richer households who don’t need help paying their power bills.

While calling for a more just and fair tariff policy, he said tariff adjustment did not mean the poor would pay more, but those who could afford it would pay more.

He added that Distribution Companies (Discos) on average currently report 50 per cent Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses, far from the 15 per cent international good practice and 26 per cent allowed in the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO).

He stated that for every N10 worth of electricity received by Discos, N2.50 is lost to energy theft and poor distribution infrastructure.

The bank chief added that this reflects low investment in distribution network and metering, creating lingering liquidity challenges.

“Nigeria now has the largest number of ‘unelectrified’ people globally and the trend is worsening. Of the electrified, the supply is very unreliable with widespread blackouts,” he stated.

For instance, the bank official said, Nigeria now has 25 per cent more ‘unelectrified’ people than the second most unelectrified country in the world, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).”

Practical experience and conventional wisdom have combined to assure us that when value is added consistently through the value chain, subsidy is automatically eliminated.

We are all living witnesses to the fact that adding value can acquire a completely different dimension.  Instead of being objective, it adopts a totally subjective colouration.  A case in point is that of the musician Eedris Abdulkareem, who went on Twitter to declare Nigeria “A Jagajaga country” i.e. a nation where law and order have broken down; and everything is in a state of anomic.  Consequently, there was no value added in being a citizen of such a country.  The then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was livid with rage.  He went ballistic and rained curses on the musician (along with his parenthood !!).

Ironically, it was the same President Obasanjo who beamed the searchlight on the police and correctly discerned that it was an excise in futility to expect the police to add value when it was self-evident that hooligans, rascals and even ex-convicts had somehow sneaked into the police force through a well oiled machinery of graft and corruption right from the bottom to the top.

To crown matters, a former Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Musliu Smith did not pull punches when he as Chairman of Police Service Commission addressed members of the National Assembly.

According to him, some policemen had been reduced to squatting under the same roofs as criminals and drug barons.  Indeed, what value added can we expect when policemen are tenants of those they should have herded into jail?

Perhaps I should attempt to establish a symbiosis between chartered accountancy (which I have practiced for over fifty years both here in Nigeria and other parts of the world) and the insurance industry.  I served Articles in London.  While training to become a Chartered Accountant.  This was at a time when lawyers, chartered accountants, insurance companies (and their brokers), stockbrokers, bankers and top professionals took pride in being “City Gents” decked out in pin stripe suits with collar and tie along with bowler hats and their rolled umbrellas.

They only wore black shoes to the office.  The Institute of Chartered Accountants was at No. 1, Moorgate Place.   Peat Marwick Mitchell which later became KPMG was located at 11, Ironmonger Lane, Moorgate, London, Lloyds the “Basillica” for those in insurance was (and remains at ………………………………. and those in insurance was (and remains) at …………………………….and those in the insurance business made it a point of duty to locate their offices within Lloyds itself as “Names” or “Syndicates” or close up.

In addition to providing professional services as auditors to the insurance companies and their brokers, chartered accountants shared the same pedigree with the major players in the insurance until the “Cowboys and asset strippers” turned matters upside down.  Of course, we socialised with each other and this blossomed into long lasting friendships.

When it came to hospitality, the insurance companies and their brokers were very generous, (Ascot, Goodwood and Cheltenham), rugby, the Boat Race (Oxford University versus Cambridge University) and the theatre.

We knew where to draw the line.  As chartered accountants we never compromised our ethics and professionalism.  Whenever we went to the pub with our insurance colleagues, if they bought the first round we would pay for the next round and vice-versa.  This would sometimes drag on long into the evening until we staggered home having got on the wrong bus or tube train.  Those were days of bliss and serenity.

I recall that the insurance companies even offered mortgages to their auditors but they were strictly on the same terms as what they offered their own staff.  I think it was something like 95 per cent of the value of the property at 6 per cent interest over a fixed term (between twenty-five and thirty years).

What was remarkable about the insurance companies was that they were extremely conservative.  They preferred so build up their reserves as a bulkwark against future losses rather than declare huge profits and dividends.  This was very much the tradition and culture at Lloyds.

Of course, we are free to ponder on whether insurance is a trade, a business or a profession.

They were also “jolly good fellows”.  Come to think of it, there were hardly any ladies in the insurance companies other than as clerks or very junior brokers.  I may be entirely wrong but I have no recollection of any ladies at the level of Chairman, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Risk Officer etc.  

Thankfully, a lot has changed and women have been accorded due recognition and are clearly holding their own shoulder to shoulder with their male colleagues.

Going back to the days of being in “The City of London”, there was not much evidence of a rat race.  Those were the days of the upper class who recognised that their relevance and endurance depended on a reasonably comfortable middle class and a boisterous but contended working class.  Even within that matrix, there was room for upward mobility lubricated by enterprise, resourcefulness and adding value.  Sir Alan Sugar who today is a billionaire started off in the East-End of London selling car radios, phones and accessories.  

The same trajectory was replicated many times over by the denizens of The Beatles – John Paul and George Ringo made it big time even though their humble beginnings were in Liverpool.

Whatever came up (or went down), the insurance industry prospered.  All was well until Emil Savundra turned up.

“Michael Marion Emil Anacletus Pierre Savundranayagam (6 July 1923 – 21 December 1976[1]), usually known as Emil Savundra, was a Sri Lankan swindler. The collapse of his Fire, Auto and Marine Insurance Company left about 400,000 motorists in the United Kingdom without cover.

As a post-war black marketeer, Savundra committed bribery and fraud on an international scale before settling in the UK to sell low-cost insurance in the fast-growing automotive market. By defaulting on mandatory securities, he funded a lavish lifestyle and travelled in fashionable circles. This attracted the attention of the press, who uncovered evidence of major fraud. In a TV interview with David Frost, Savundra demonstrated contempt for his defrauded customers (some of whom were in the studio audience) and denied any moral responsibility. The police had been investigating him, and he was soon arrested and sentenced to eight years' imprisonment. Released after six, Savundra died two years later as a drug addict.”

Clearly, Savundra could not be bothered about adding value.

Perhaps we should endeavour to explore the symbiosis between insurance and chartered accountancy – particularly as regards our respective and joint  commitment to utmost good faith (which in Latin translates as Uberrimae Fidei).

This is not a matter to be taken for granted.  Indeed, it is the foundation upon which adding value is anchored.  Between insurance companies/brokers and their customer/clients there is no room for sharp practices or professional misconduct.  The same considerations and ethics apply to chartered accountants and their clients.  Wherever and whenever default occurs, the consequences are inevitable reputational damage.  Experience has taught us that it takes ages to build trust and reputation but they can be destroyed entirely in the twinkle of an eye.  It takes only a seemingly minor infraction or a brazen attempt to take undue advantage to pull a fast one and what had hitherto been a relationship made in heaven – based on mutual trust and respect would come crashing down.

Also, in an endeavour to add value, insurers are always coming up with new products some of which were conceived and developed by the foreign affiliates or are indigenous (a direct response to the peculiarities of the local financial environment or economic circumstances).  The range of services and available options are sufficiently elastic to embrace mortgages, loans, investment in banks, hire purchase, property, (including mortgage backed securitization) etc.  Similarly, chartered accountants have expanded their range of services from audit assurance; tax consultancy; Information Technology; Human Resources and Recruitment; Corporate Governance and Evaluation of Directors; and IT Audit to Capital raising/Reporting Accountants; Receivership and Liquidation (Recovery); Debt Collection; Forensic Audit etc. all in an effort to leverage on established relationships or cultivate new one – in a legitimate value adding enterprise driven by resourcefulness and market intelligence.

In terms of management structure and organograms, insurance companies/brokers are not too dissimilar from chartered accountants except that professional ethics forbid chartered accountants from hiring brokers in order to obtain clients !!

Also, apart from the really large accountancy firms the engagement of external auditors to audit their books is optional.  The law requires insurance companies and brokers as entities registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2004  and 2020 to render audited annual financial statement and reports.

Increasingly, the burst of acquisition of Nigerian insurance companies/brokers by major international (foreign) companies has come under the searchlight.  In these matters, it must be clearly understood that there is no such thing as free lunch !!  From the perspective of both the foreign investor and the local company the glue that would ensure enduring success is added value.  The issues that require negotiation revolve around “control” either in terms of equity or management.  At the end of the day what each party brings to the table is what defined and determines who (or which) shall emerge as the dominant partner.  In general terms, the foreign investor would be expected to deliver technical knowhow, information technology, training, marketing expertise, global clients (“the Crown Jewels”), strategic planning and reporting deadlines as well as robust Corporate Governance.  It is not much different from what obtains as regards local firms of chartered accountants who are affiliated with the “Big Four” accountancy firms and others.

In order to ensure that the reputation of the brand is not compromised, the foreign partner may insist on having “boots on the ground” at Board and/or senior management level.  It is all about baking a bigger cake.  According to conventional wisdom, a small slice of a big cake is nearly always more than a big slice of a tiny cake.

The same considerations apply to mergers and acquisitions between indigenous firm/companies – be they insurance companies/brokers or chartered accountants.  The vision and strategies have to be clearly understood and agreed by both parties.  The chemistry has to be right.  There is no room for clash of cultures or second-guessing each other.  Otherwise, it would end in litigation and eventually the shattering of value (instead of adding value).

Both insurance companies/brokers and chartered accountants need no lecture on the advantages of size.  It takes them to handle big ticket risks or assignment.  That is where the real money is with their global reach in the global village.

Incidentally, it is quite instructive that when Swiss-Re released its financial report for year 2020, it was not the Managing Director and Chief Executive officer, Mr. Christian Mumenthaler, who was on CNN to provide explanations for the rather poor results.  Instead, it was the Chief Financial Officer, (CFO) Mr. Matthias Grass, who calmly explained that the COVID-19 pandemic had taken its toll.  Some of the major sporting or is tempting to conclude that owing to the massive devaluation of the Nigerian naira against other currencies – principally dollar; pound sterling; and Euro etc. foreign companies are on a bargain hunting binge to acquire Nigerian entities cheaply.  What must not be overlooked is that by the same token, repatriating technical fees, dividends and/or capital would become a herculean task.  Indeed, the investor may need the services of insurers in order to obtain cover against currency risk or resort to “hedging” which is the terrain of specialists who offer protection from the vagaries of the currency market.

It is not uncommon to find that the Nigerian partner may retain the Chairmanship and/or the position of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the new entity.  Similarly, Nigerians may be appointed as leaders for “hubs” such as West Africa; Africa; Africa and Middle East etc.  In addition, there may be transfers or cross-postings to far fling places for top flight executives who are being groomed for leadership positions.  These are further re-informed with local and international training programmes.

At the risk of giving away our professional secrets, perhaps we should dwell on the role and responsibilities of Chartered Accountants who are Chairmen; Managing Directors and Chief Executive Officer; Executive (or Non-Executive) Directors Chief Financial Officers; Chief Internal Auditors of insurance companies/brokers.  This is such a vast area that it would take the rest of the evening to do justice to it.  What is crucial is that in whatever role we find ourselves, we as chartered accountants cannot afford to compromise the integrity, ethics and integrity of our primary profession.

Nevertheless, managing the relationship between external auditors and in-house chartered accountants requires maturity and clear understanding of the critical audit matters and “sensitive payments”.

Some of the matters for which the external auditor is obliged pay special attention include taxation, transfer pricing with regard to premium, re-insurance, risk management etc. in addition to:

(i) Sarbanes-Oxley Act

An Act To protect investors by improving the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures made pursuant to the securities laws, and for other purposes.

The Sarbanes–Oxley Act  enacted July 30, 2002), also known as the "Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act" (in the Senate) and "Corporate and Auditing Accountability, Responsibility, and Transparency Act" (in the House) and more commonly called Sarbanes–Oxley or SOX, is a United States federal law that set new or expanded requirements for all U.S. public company boards, management and public accounting firms. A number of provisions of the Act also apply to privately held companies, such as the willful destruction of evidence to impede a federal investigation.

The bill, which contains eleven sections, was enacted as a reaction to a number of major corporate and accounting scandals, including Enron and WorldCom. The sections of the bill cover responsibilities of a public corporation's board of directors, add criminal penalties for certain misconduct, and require the Securities and Exchange Commission to create regulations to define how public corporations are to comply with the law. 

(ii) U.S. Anti-Bribery Act

“The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), enacted in 1977, governs bribery of foreign public officials and representatives of government-controlled companies (15 USC 78dd-1, et seq). In general, the FCPA prohibits US issuers and their agents, US corporate entities, US citizens, nationals or residents, and foreign nationals while in the United States from "corruptly" paying, promising, authorising or offering "anything of value" to a foreign public official to "influence any act or decision of such foreign official in his official capacity" or to secure an improper business advantage (15 USC §§ 78dd-1, 78dd-2, and 78dd-3). The FCPA also includes accounting provisions, which require US issuers to make and keep accurate books, records and accounts and to implement internal accounting controls (15 USC § 78m). 

Many FCPA cases also implicate federal money-laundering statutes, such as 18 USC § 1956, which prohibits, among other things, funding specified unlawful activity, such as violations of domestic or foreign anti-bribery statutes. The International Travel Act of 1961 likewise forbids the use of US mail or interstate or foreign travel for the purpose of distributing the proceeds or committing an act in furtherance of unlawful activity (18 USC § 1952). Under the Travel Act, ‘unlawful activity' includes bribery in violation of US law, including the FCPA.”

(iii) ……………………………………


(iv) ………………………………………


Musical events which had to be cancelled were covered by All Risks Insurance.  Hence, hefty claims ensured.  Matters were not helped by the collapse of so many businesses and the lay offs of so many employees.  Other contributory factors were duly highlighted by the Chief Financial Officer.




Insurance companies/brokers deserve our admiration for have the guts to embark on All Risks Insurance.  That is indeed  no small matter.  It is instructive that when a super tanker got stuck in the Suez Canal a few weeks ago the insurance claim for damages was a hefty 1 billion U.S. dollar and still counting.  I suspect that some of the names and syndicates at Lloyds have been having sleepless nights.

Perhaps unknown to most Nigerians, the first Nigerian to become a name at Lloyds was the late Mr. Adebayo Braithwaite.  He was followed by his wife late Mrs. Rosetta Adebisi Braithwaites; Prince Olu Awogboro and late Chief Michael Ibru.  All that was a very long time ago.  I am not sure if there are any recent Nigerian titans among the crème de la crème of insurers at Lloyds.

Insurance is obviously a dynamic industry.   Some of you may recall that it was an enterprising manager in one of Britain’s largest insurance companies who conceived the idea of “Insurance Direct” which today revolutionised the insurance business by cutting out red tape and other unnecessary barriers/bureaucracy between the insurer and the insured.  The commission he earned eventually vastly surpassed the remuneration of his boss (the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer) and he was able to carve out his own division before eventually buying a large chunk of the entire company.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited. Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ Registered in England and Wales No.1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registration number 202810. 

More recently, another enterprising insurance company came up with the novel idea of basing the calculation of premium for motor vehicles based largely on the mileage of usage (insurance per mile) i.e. when the vehicle is on the road.  With considerable use of algorithms he was able to significantly alter the risk assessment and risk management and deliver excellent bargain for his customers/clients.

We cannot afford to underestimate the crucial importance of a peaceful, stable and prosperous economic environment for the insurance industry.  Therefore, it is up to the captains of insurance to appreciate that they have a powerful role to play in ensuring that our country does not descent into chaos and anarchy.  Alas, there is a limit to All Risk Insurance !!.  Ask those who are trapped in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia etc.

/as a veritable gauge of how matters stand in our beloved nation, we have the auditor’s report published on the front page of “ThisDay” newspaper on December 13, 2020.


· Laments devastating impact of COVID-19

· Says rural insecurity endangers urbanites 

“President Mohammadu Buhari yesterday acknowledged that Nigeria, like many countries worldwide, “is in a state of turmoil.”

According to him, global currents are interacting with local tides to create stormy trends for our society.

Buhari, also, lamented the worsening cases of COVID-19, which according to him, had grave effects upon the global economy resulting in the increased healthcare spending and infrastructure projects.

He expressed grave concern about diverse national challenges at the graduation of the Senior Executive Course (SEC) 42 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Jos, the Plateau State capital yesterday.

He, specifically, acknowledged that the facts and figures were grim but said the point was not to drive the citizens into despondency or disillusionment.

He said: “Rather, it is to attune our minds to the enormity of the task ahead. The times levy a demand on institutions such as this one and on its graduates for innovation and creative intelligence in addressing our national challenges.”

Buhari, who was represented by Plateau State Governor, Senator Simon Lalong, said: “You are all probably familiar with an axiom that never let a crisis go to waste. It is an axiom that sums up the imperative of the present moment.

“A crisis, such as we are facing now, is an opportunity to institute a new and better order of things. Inherent in this moment, is an opportunity to dispense with old unproductive models of thinking and summon the future.

“Whether you are a senior bureaucrat or a military officer or a law enforcement official or a chieftain in the private sector, you must, as of this moment, see yourself as part of a cohort that must lead the change into the future.”

He lamented the severe impact of COVID-19 on the global economy, which he said, had resulted in increasing expenditure on healthcare and related infrastructure, disruptions to supply chains and suspension of economic activities as a result of prevalent lockdowns and massive job losses.

He added that measures taken to contain COVID-19 “have the effect of depressing the demand for crude oil and precipitating an unprecedented oil price crash. All of these have tipped the Nigerian economy into recession.”

He noted that there was a plague of cynicism in the public life that had been fostered by the apathy and indifference of the elites to the common good.

The president explained that the principle of enlightened self-interest “does not ask us to do things merely out of the goodness of our hearts. It derives instead from a rational assessment of reality.

“To interrogate our present situation and reflect upon our circumstances is to realise that we cannot take solace in our relative affluence in the midst of widespread misery.

“Consider how the institutional reputations of our law enforcement and security agencies have rendered their personnel vulnerable to personal attacks.

“Even if we are not directly endangered by these perils, consider the price that our families and loved ones must pay by association. This is because ultimately, neither status nor class can indemnify elites against social catastrophes.

“Precisely because they share the same economy and ecosystem, the fates of the elites and the masses are intertwined. When, for example, insecurity plagues rural agrarian communities, urbanites feel the impact in terms of the rising cost of food.

“Rural-urban migration leads to increased pressure on urban infrastructure and an increase in urban poverty. Rural insecurity leads inexorably to urban insecurity.

“These plagues emanate from the failure of institutions and all of you gathered here are custodians of institutions. More importantly, they underscore the importance of legitimacy in the relations between state and society.

“It is no longer enough to boast of successful careers in distinctly unsuccessful institutions. The true measure of our success will be revealed by the extent to which we are able to promote progressive values in our spheres of influence.

“You are by no means powerless bystanders in the trends and events shaping the fate of this nation. You are critical actors now and in the days to come. As individuals and as a cohort, you possess sufficient authority and influence to reorient the institutions over which you have charge.”

He, therefore, urged the graduates to consolidate the associations and friendship that they had established and used them as networks for positive change across all sectors of public life.”

Corroboration is provided by the report of the Joint Auditors per the front page of “The Punch” newspaper of April 28, 2021.


“The Chandler Good Government Index has ranked Nigeria as the third worst governed country in the world.

The report ranked the nation very low in governance, leadership and foresight, scoring the country 102 out of 104 countries with a score of 0.319 points, ahead of Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

The 2021 report released in Singapore on Monday by the Chandler Institute of Governance, noted that the ability to handle corruption properly is the strongest indicator of good governance.

The index, which was the first in the series,  scored Nigeria 0.44   on leadership and foresight; anti-corruption 0.45; long-term vision 0.47; strategic prioritization 0.41 and innovation 0.4.

The report also ranked Nigeria low in other parameters, scoring the nation 98 in leadership and foresight;   85 in robust laws and policies; 101 in strong institutions; 88 in financial stewardship; 97 in attractive marketplace; 72 in global influence and reputation and helping people rise 98.

Finland ranked number one with 0.848 points followed by Switzerland; Singapore; Netherlands; Denmark; Norway; Sweden; Germany; New Zealand and Canada.

Mauritius, which was Africa’s best performer scored 0.5670, placing it at number 38 on the index.

The CGGI explained that the ranking came during the COVID-19 pandemic, which exposed the strengths and weaknesses in institutions, laws, and leadership in countries as governance decides the success of these countries.

The report stated, “Good governance begins with good leadership. The culture of government leadership varies from country to country, but the CGGI’s highest-performing governments are united in three ways: a commitment to integrity, a strong vision and plan for their nation’s future, and the ability to make the most of their available resources.”

When the #EndSars protests against police brutality raged in Lagos from ……………… …………………2020, it was a wake-up call.  One hundred and fifty brand new buses (imported from Brazil) belonging to Lagos State Government and concessionaries were destroyed by hoodlums.  It turned out that the buses were not insured.  There was no need for the services of loss adjusters.

Caution demands that insurers should take a keen interest in the reports of Transparency International and other international agencies which deal with corruption; ease of doing business; poverty index; life expectancy etc.  Indeed, knowledge is power (and premium money !!).

In this regard the statistics and data periodically released by the National Bureau of Statistics are most relevant and are professional as well as independent in measuring rate of inflation; unemployment and other vital statistics.

We are all too familiar with the somewhat dicey relationship between the insurance companies and their regulators – National Insurance Commission [NAICOM]; Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC]; and Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria [FRCN].

At most Annual General Meetings of insurance companies, protests and complaints by Shareholders are a regular feature.  They have mostly to do with fees charged and penalties levied by the regulators in addition to their perceived hostility to the companies they are expected to supervise and protect (not destroy !!) in accordance with world class “Best Practice”.

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) is in a class of its own as it combines the role of being an insurer of bank deposits with that of a regulator.

I believe social insurance fits roundly and squarely into our discourse on insurance particularly from the perspective of adding value.  I recall that about forty-five years ago, following a spirited argument at the Cads Bar of Ikoyi Club, during the oil boom when the military head of State General Yakubu Gown allegedly declared that “Money is not our problem, it is how to spend it”, we button-holed our friends in the military – Major-General Godwin Ally; Colonel Idris; Colonel Gin etc. that Nigeria deserved social insurance / welfare benefits for the poor and unemployed as was the case in Britain where all of us trained.  

We even managed to obtain the support of the then Minister of Finance, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.  Unfortunately, at that time insurance was under the Ministry of Trade.  Besides, Chief Awolowo’s first priority was free education.  In any case, the Minister of Trade was somewhat lukewarm and the endeavour lost traction and eventually fizzled out.  With the benefit of hindsight, perhaps we could have pushed harder for both social insurance / welfare benefits and free education.  It is conceivable that it would have saved our nation from the crisis in which we find ourselves currently – the poor and unemployed are angry and hungry.  They have resorted to kidnapping, banditry, arson, insurgency in revolt again ignorance, poverty and joblessness.

What insurance cover is available against chaos and anarchy?  Instead of squandering our oil wealth, the money could have been invested in social insurance/welfare benefits, education and health under the aegies of insurance company/brokers whose collective wisdom and experience would have been brought to bear in order to endow our nation with peace, stability and progress in addition to law and order.

It cannot be by pure happenstance or co-incidence that the countries that have enjoyed enduring prosperity are those where insurance companies/brokers are the mainstay of financial inclusion which straddles all segments of their citizenship.  They are smart enough to appreciate that no nation can be greater than its own people.  Hence, they devote great skills and massive energy into ensuring that insurance delivers added value in order to cushion the vagaries and uncertainties of life as well as death.

If we had used the windfall from the oil boom to look after our poor and wretched through judicious spending that would provide assurance/insurance of future prosperity we would not ever have found ourselves in our present plight where despair is in competition with desperation, brigandage, mendacity and utter wickedness.  From a country with huge potentials we have descended into a failed state with no insurance cover. 

Perhaps it is not too late for insurance companies/brokers to launch a rescue mission or at least mitigate our losses with the engagement of loss adjusters.  Hopefully, we have learnt our lessons.  We must insure even if the premium appears prohibitive.  The misuse of public power for private gain has gone ballistic/nuclear.  We need to create a new business model which is anchored on the template of insurance companies namely – assess risks, manage risks and reward those who are careful drivers as opposed to reckless buccaneers and wayfarers. Nigeria must borrow a leaf from the insurance industry where leaders are groomed through a process that matches talent with opportunity to thrive based on adding value consistently through the value chain with the aid of sound education, professional training and investment in technology.

I am sure that I am not the only one whose international clients insist that their FID (Final Investment Decision) in insurance companies in Nigeria was heavily influenced by the following words on marble by then candidate General Muhammadu Buhari:

(i) February 15, 2015 at the Chatam House, London, United Kingdom:

“What is the difference between me and those who elected us to represent them?  Absolutely nothing.  Why should a Nigerian President not fly with other Nigerian public?  Why do I need to embark on a foreign trip as a president with a huge crowd with public funds?  Why do I need to go for foreign medical trips if we cannot make our hospitals functional?  Why do we need to send our children to school abroad if we cannot develop our universities with foreign ones?”

(ii) July ……………….2015 at the United States of America Institute For Peace:

“There is so much goodwill for Nigeria not just in the United States of America but all over the world to have you succeed ………… 

how are you going to co-ordinate all of the offers, and the resources so that they don’t end up operating at cross purposes and you are able to leverage them in a way that is responsible to Nigeria’s needs”

Reply: “I intend to sustain this goodwill by performance.  I will work very

Hard and I believe I will succeed.”

However, it appears the insurance cover has been blown going by the front page report of “Sunday Sun” newspaper of April 25, 2021:



- Archbishop Samson Mustapha Benjamin General Overseer of Resurrection Praise Ministries (also known as Jehovah Sharp Sharp):

“What you are seeing me do is what the genuine prophets of old did. They were asked by God to go and carry a symbol when he wanted to pass a message to the leaders of the nation. In my own case, God said to me to carry a coffin on my head and tell the Nigerian leaders that they have intentionally and wrongly deployed the common resources that belong to the country, and have therefore brought hardship upon the citizens of Nigeria. God said I should tell the leaders that He is not happy with them. He is not happy with the bloodshed, insecurity and other challenges in the country. At a time, we had strong hope for Nigeria, but now, the hope is no longer there. And, a man needs to tell them the truth from President Muhammadu Buhari, members of his cabinet, the senators, members of the House of Representatives, governors and local government chairmen. I carried the coffin in obedience to the word of God that the present Nigeria, is a disappointment to the Lord God Almighty,  who brought people of various ethnic groups together in one  place and gave them a heavy resources, which the self-centered, selfish and greedy leaders have taken and made the commonwealth of the people their own personal treasure. 

That was why I carried the coffin on my head to walk on the street. God said it is not only the political leaders, but religious and traditional leaders too. I am not a politician or for the politicians. I am neither here nor there, but as a servant of the most high God, I declare the message He sends to me. A lot of people are asking that I have not been talking for some time now. But I told them that I cannot speak, except when God asks me to do so. For about a year and seven months now, I have not eaten anything cooked with fire, and I have been busy listening the voice of God. I have obeyed the voice to the fullest. I have delivered the messages.

What is the significance of the coffin you carried on your head to deliver the message from God to the Nigerian leaders?

As we all know, a coffin is not a furniture or something for interior decoration. It is actually good for nothing and it is in the end of life of a man that he will be put in the coffin.

What would be the implication of the leaders not adhering to the message you delivered to them?

Well, mine is to deliver the message, and if they listen and obey, God will spare them. But, if they do not, their blood will never be on my hands. I am not one of those who will always tell them what they want to hear. I will deliver the message the way I was asked to do. That’s why I carried the coffin.

But none of those you are sending the message are not around here. Why did you not go to the seat of power in Abuja?

You see, right now, we live in a society that actually is supposed to be democratic, but that is not what we are seeing. We wear the uniform of democracy, but refuse to practice the democratic values. You and I know very well that human rights and civil rights are the rights of citizens of Nigeria. But we have found ourselves in a government that when you are being constructive or destructive in your criticism, they would consider you of being anti-government. I am not sending the message because I cannot go to the seat of power, but right now, I am still in a journey, process, procedure of no food cooked by fire for about a year and seven months now. So, moving up and down will not be an easy job for me. Besides that, God will tell me where to go before I can do so. I fear nobody. If God tells me to go to Abuja today with coffin on my head, I will not hesitate to do so.

Considering the gradual collapse of Nigeria, could you specifically suggest way forward for the country?

There are whole lot of things to do. For me to have carried a heavy coffin is not easy. But, I must obey the voice of God. We can see and hear cries for secession and restructuring everywhere. But the question now is: is it God’s will that all these things will happen? We, as Nigerians, must sit down on a roundtable and look at it again, what and what brought us together, and whether those things are still workable today or not. If there is need for restructuring, then the country can go ahead and do that. Restructuring is not a breakup; if it is devolving of power from the centre to all the regions that make up the unitary government called the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Unfortunately, some are against restructuring, but the truth is that President Buhari, his appointees and everyone in power, must do something to save the country from collapse. They must sit down and ensure that we come to the roundtable again to decide whether we should stay together or not.”

We also have to reckon with the verdict delivered by “ThisDay” newspaper’s front page editorial on January 21, 2018.


· The authorities could do more in tackling crime and corruption.

“In a sermon predicated on the fast deteriorating security in the country, Bishop David Oyedepo, the General Overseer of Living Faith Church, last Sunday warned politicians against sacrificing Nigeria’s destiny for their ambitions.  Titled, “A Nation in a State of Slumber,” the cleric said that Nigeria was now a nation at war with herself given that there are neither ethnic crises nor natural disasters yet mass burials have become so common place.  “The soul of Nigeria is near to the point of death,” he said before adding that “Citizens of this nation are fast becoming endangered species.”

Oyedepo is not alone in raising fears about the spectre of violence that seems to be engulfing the nation.  Mr Ibrahim Coomassie, Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum expressed similar sentiments when he said that unless the problems of bad governance, corruption and youth unemployment were addressed, the future of the country was in jeopardy.  Coomassie, a former Inspector General of Police, who spoke at a conference in Kaduna with the theme, “The North and the Challenge  of Leadership”, argued that “political office holders pay scant attention to the needs of their populace,” while corrupt practices have become endemic.  “Nepotism has become common place in most appointments.  Unless we approach these problems with the seriousness they deserve, we may be heading towards anarchy and eventual disintegration,” Coomassie warned.

Many Nigerians are perhaps right to be worried about the state of the nation.  Everywhere, there is tension, fuelled, among other things, by reckless and prolonged killings being perpetrated by sundry criminal elements who act as though above the law.  From Adamawa to Ekiti to Taraba to Zamfara and Enugu, these killings crop up time and again, with the authorities seemingly helpless.  Nowhere are these worries more apparent and consequential than in Benue State, where many communities have become graveyards and farm lands are laid waste.  Only a fortnight ago, some 73 community of innocent farmers with their wives and children were buried in an emotional ceremony in Makurdi, the state capital, all victims of heartless serial killers.

However, the madness is not restricted to Benue State as thousands of innocent lives had been cost to the irrational violence between  farmers and the herdsmen across many states in the Middle Belt in recent years.  Two month ago, some communities on the Mambilla Plateau in Taraba State erupted in an unprecedented orgy of violence that claimed the lives of many inhabitants in the long-running conflicts between herdsmen and farmers.  But more confounding is that the authorities have deliberately allowed the impunity to thrive, resulting in a country lurching from one crisis to another.

With the Boko Haram devastating still on in the North-East, wanton kidnappings, armed robbery and free-wheeling criminalities in several parts of the country, it is safe to say that Nigeria has fallen so badly short in peace and security.  Indeed, what has become very clear is that the Nigerian state is losing the dominance of the machinery of violence to non-state actors.  To add to the mounting concerns, the prevailing economic downturn has undermined the capacity of both the state and individuals so much so that basic necessities of life, including food, medicare and shelter have gone far beyond the reach of the majority of Nigerians.  In plain words, the state is increasingly failing to provide for the people.

With the growing fractiousness and polarisation in the land as a result of the violence, there is an urgent need for the federal government to apply the wedge and pull the nation back from the brink.  Aside instituting the appropriate social policies that would engender a regime of justice and fairness – a major requirement for peace and security – it is also important to de-escale the growing tension in the current theatre of violence.  Until that is done, the body count will keep mounting to our collective shame as a nation.”

I am sure that some of the older practitioners in the insurance industry remember the plight of Ghana in the 1980’s and “Ghana Must Go” saga, when the economy of Ghana collapsed and Ghanaians came to Nigeria in droves in search of jobs and refuge.  Those insurance companies which maintained offices in Ghana were compelled to send aid to Ghana – money, food, milk etc right down to soap, toilet rolls and other toiletries.  I believe it was under the tenure of President Shehu Shagari that Ghanaians were forcefully expelled from Nigeria without any insurance cover.  We may have forgotten but till today the Ghanaians remain traumatised by that experience and we cannot rule out the possibility that they are savouring the prospects of retaliation and cold revenge if we Nigerians fail to convince our insurance companies/brokers that we are eligible for All Risks Insurance and the peace of mind that it confers.

After several years of brutal civil war, Sierra Leone found a worthy leader in ………………………who had previously served in the insurance industry as …………………………  He was President from ……………to ………

In our case, what was unknown to many is that after the annulment of our presidential election which was won by Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola in 1993, the military government was in a desperate search for a replacement from Abiola’s hometown, Abeokuta.  The first name they came up with was none other than the insurance magnate, late Chief John Akin-George.  The founder of Marine and General Insurance Company Limited to head the  Interim Transitional Government.??????????????

Eventually, it was Chief E.A.O. Shonekan, the Chairman of UNIC Insurance Company who was selected.  Again, when the General Sani Abacha regime collapsed following the death of Abacha on ………………1988 Chief Akin-George’s name along with that of Professor Wole Soyinka came up before the military eventually settled on one of their own – General Olusegun Obasanjo who has been deified as the man with nine lives” having survived so many life threatening experiences.  Perhaps we should check on his Life Insurance cover!!

The question that is begging for an answer is how come for several decades we have overlooked the capacity of insurance companies/brokers to add value and thereby create wealth for the generality of our people – especially in education, health, housing and infrastructure.

Even when the COVID-19 came calling, it was the oil and gas companies and the bankers (led by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele) who were driving the relief efforts supplemented with palliatives.  We should be forgiven for asking: where were the insurance companies ?  As for the brokers, without meaning to cause offence, were the brokers broke ? !!

No serious country can afford to ignore or underestimate the resourcefulness, energy, and intellectual capacity of its insurance companies and brokers.  It is glaringly obvious that Nigerian insurance companies and brokers have proved  their mettle over the years.  The have veered into banking, pensions, infrastructure and property development.  What they have achieved has been outstanding.  If these super-achievers could deliver these superlative results for their insurance companies and brokerage firms why have they not come to the rescue of our beloved nation ?  Or could it be a case of apathy or indifference ?

We need to appreciate that we live in an age of competition.  Of course we are competing with Ghana, South Africa and others as investment destinations.  What it takes to super-charge our economy are undisputed champions from the private sector.  Their track record speaks volumes.  Indeed, many of them have gone beyond being local champions to winning laurels and accolades in the global village.

Some of you may be aware of the humble origin of one of “new generation” banks.  It was ………………….Faradoye, a Chartered Accountant who was the Chief Financial Officer of National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria [NICON] who veered into banking as the founder of Crystal Bank.  He had on his board the likes of late Professor Abiola Ojo; ……………….Obanlearo and Chief Lawrence Omole, an astute  businessman from Ilesha as the Chairman.

That was the bank in which two youngmen Aigboje-Aig-Imoukhuede and Herbert Wigwe (ex-Executive Directors of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc) invested and acquired a small stake which eventually became a majority along with management control.  It was renamed Access Bank Plc.  Thereafter, the bank acquired Inter-Continental Bank along with Equity Bank of Nigeria; and Diamond Bank Plc.  It is currently ranked …………………… Nigeria with its footprint in several African countries.

Unknown to most Nigerian, after the military government of General Murtala Mohammed decided to move from the Federal Capital from Lagos to “a more central location” which eventually turned out to be Abuja, there was not a single hotel there.  

It was Mr. Yinka Lijadu (ex-King’s College, Lagos), the Managing Director of the government-owned National Insurance Corporation of Nigerian [NICON] who was given marching orders to build a five-star hotel.  This was task for which he had no previous experience.  He was able to leverage on NICON’s very healthy balance sheet to raise loans for the project.  That was when an enterprising Swiss Jewish businessman Naseem Goan turned up and partnered with NICON to promote the project.  They did not have much difficulty in persuading Hilton Hotel to agree to manage the hotel.  

The edifice is still there in Abuja under a different name “Transcorp Hilton” but  what cannot be erased from history was that it was an insurance company, NICON which delivered added value in a territory which was at that time virgin land with no infrastructure.

Here is Lagos, the same NICON has been able to deliver added value through NICON Estate in the Lekki axis.  It was the insurance company that acquired the vast area of land  which it then leased or sold off to those who were willing to build houses in accordance with specific designs in a very secure environment with excellent infrastructure.  Lessors and buyers had no cause to complain about paying a premium as it was self-evident that NICON had delivered added value.

We should be forgiven for speculating that with the right incentives and conducive environment, many more insurance companies could have emulated NICON and thereby mitigated the humongous housing deficit for low, middle and high income potential owners.

Let us now beam the searchlight on the numerous insurance companies that were owned by banks such as Union Bank; Zenith Bank; Guaranty Trust Bank; Sterling Bank etc.  Most of them have been hived off and sold at a massive profit as a reflection of the value added while the banks have been compelled by the regulators to focus on their core business.  Zenith Bank Plc appears to be one of those who have managed to retain their insurance business.  I should add First Bank Plc  is in a joint venture  [FBN Life Insurance Limited] with Sanlam of South Africa.

The insurance companies/Brokers have a long list of pension funds and asset management companies which they founded and midwifed into huge entities on which they have conferred the status of subsidiaries, associated companies etc under the umbrella of “Group Companies”.  The controlling interest may be opaque but the value added is self-evident.  Some of you may recollect that Chief Remi Olowude, the founder of Industrial & General Insurance [IGI] limited built a business empire that extended to the acquisition of a bank and an insurance company in Rwanda.

As insurance companies/brokers have demonstrated abundant evidence of their capacity to add value, it behoves them to come to the rescue of our beloved but beleaguered nation.  Malaysia, Indonesia and Morocco have demonstrated impressive results by ensuring that most of their roads are built through “PPP” (Public Private Partnership) but after completion through excellent project management the emphasis shifts to the Maintenance of the roads for the next then to fifteen years with adequate insurance cover.  It has turned out to be a win-win situation all round.  The deplorable state of our roads through poor project execution and even more appalling (or non-existent) maintenance should be a major cause of concern to insurance companies/brokers.  

Our roads are literally killing fields.  Apart from motor accidents, road users are at the mercy of kidnappers, bandits, armed robbers etc. as they navigate huge pot-holes, craters, and road blocks.  The same considerations apply to bridges and dams which are crying out for proper maintenance.

Another critical area where insurance companies have been able to demonstrate added value is with regard to audit/assurance; investigation and forensic audit.  I recall that many years ago when (as the Chief Executive and Chairman of KPMG Nigeria) I had overall responsibility for the audit of the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) we had a problem with a Key Audit Matter, namely the volume of crude oil produced and exported from Nigeria.  The available records in Nigeria were rather dodgy.  When we checked with Lloyds Insurance in London, they had all the shipping records and other vital data.

Again, when I participated in the investigation of the congestion of Nigerian ports when then Colonel Shehu Musa Yar’Adua was the Minister of Transport we ran into a dead end.  The records kept by Nigeria Ports Authority were nothing to write home about.  They did not even tally with the records kept by Nigerian Customs.  We had to resort to Lloyds Insurance of London.  It was a very instructive experience and lesson.  We were dealing with cement armada whereby the Nigeria became the dumping ground for cement.  Apart from the staggering amounts of demurrage, there was so much cement in rickety ships berthed in our country that it would take twenty-seven years to consume it all!!  To make matters worse, in another investigation/forensic audit containers that landed in Nigeria turned out to contain nothing but saw dust when we opened the pellets but they had been falsely insured as valuable machinery and equipment.  It was Lloyds that provided us with the vital information that enabled us to get to the bottom of the fraud.

It bears repetition that adding value must extend to all stakeholders be they shareholders, employees, creditors or the general public.  Elasticity is in-built into the concept and practice of delivering added value.  Hence, I am obliged to thank the America insurance company which was part of a class action suit in America against Shell Petroleum Company over the discrepancy between the financial accounts filed in the United States of America with the Securities  and Exchange Commission and the accounts in Nigeria with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as well as the returns rendered  to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).  The solicitors who were handling the class action contacted me and disclosed that the discrepancy revolved around false claims in respect of Reserve Additional Bonus which the Nigerian Government had granted to Shell as an incentive to galvanize exploration.  What was required was to persuade the Nigerian Government/Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to join the class action.  

Believe it or not, all my entreaties to the Nigerian government; Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; Department of Petroleum Resources etc to protect the interest of Nigeria fell on deaf ears.   Whatever value was to be added or obtained was allowed to be forfeited by default.  For several years, I have repeated the forwarding of the relevant documents to the highest level of our government – but to no avail.

We are talking of billions of dollars which Nigeria was (and is) entitled to claim.  Judgement  was delivered against Shell and Phillip Watts who previously served as the Chairman of Shell Nigeria and later became the Chairman of Shell International was a casualty.  His hitherto brilliant career came to an abrupt end.  He was outstanding and our paths crossed when he was in Nigeria and I had direct responsibility at KPMG Nigeria for the audit of the accounts of Shell.  It turned out that before he joined Shell, he was a teacher  at a secondary school in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

As fate would have it, the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) engaged the services of my firm, J.K. Randle International to carry out a forensic audit of the Bonga Project – a Floating Production Storage O…….?? [FPSO] joint venture between Shell and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.  In accordance with the ethics of our profession our report was delivered to the Senate and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as well as Shell.  Our conclusion was as follows:




What was amazing was that Shell claimed that its own records were stored in New Orleans in the Unites States of America and had been washed away by the hurricane that ravaged the city in 19…….

Back in 1985 I was appointed as the Chairman of the Investigating Committee on the Countertrade Agreements between Nigeria and Brazil; France and Austria?  In the report we submitted we reminded the Nigerian government that the following amounts were still left in escrow accounts:

U.S.$ Naira

Brazil 363,071,594.97 175,928,344.35

France   13,137,052.88   13,602,249.82

Austria 138,829,778.20 143,745,887.65

Here we are thirty-six years afterwards, despite several reminders to the Nigerian government, for all I know the funds may be intact or may have vamoosed !!  It seems odd though that as we speak our government is about to conclude negotiation regarding a loan of U.S.$1.5 billion from Brazil.

Clarity obliges us to differentiate the deliverer of added value from the recipient otherwise we shall end up with confusion regarding identity as well as separation of functions/responsibility.

Besides, while brokers insist that they are the core professionals of the insurance industry – as the link (with the requisite expertise and experience) between the insured and the underwriters (the insurance and re-insurance companies), the insurance companies are adamant that without them there is nothing broker.

As a Chartered Accountant I have no business in the disputation between insurance brokers and underwriters.  All I can do is to declare it a draw – no winner and no vanquished.

What is paramount is to seize this unique opportunity to exhort both the brokers and the underwriters to forge a Think Tank to rescue our nation.  Beyond that what is urgently required is action.  Time is not on our side permit me to quote the front page of “BusinessDay” newspaper of May 3, 2021.


                    INVESTMENT IN NIGERIA”




We also have to contend with the front page editorial of “Nigerian Tribune” newspaper of May 3, 2021.


“For any student of Nigerian history or close watchers of its current affairs, the country’s lugubrious ranking on the inaugural Chandler Good Government Index (CGGI) released last week by the Singapore-based Chandler Institute of Governance could not have come as a surprise. In fact, it tracks the country’s ranking on similar indexes over the years by, for instance, the Berlin-based Transparency International (TI). More to the point, the country’s ranking of 102 out of 104 countries for which data were collected on a range of indicators accords with what ordinary Nigerians feel, know, and experience about their country on a daily basis.

Although a country’s performance in the CGGI is based on a range of indicators (there are 34 in all), its eventual ranking is determined on the basis of seven key “pillars”: leadership and foresight, robust laws and policies, strong institutions, financial stewardship, attractive marketplace, global influence and reputation, and helping people rise. Based on these pillars, Nigeria came in at 102, a mere two places above Zimbabwe and Venezuela, two countries that have experienced prolonged socio-economic and political distress. While Zimbabwe is continuing to pay the price for the late Robert Mugabe’s ill-advised land redistribution gambit, Venezuela, an oil producer like Nigeria, has yet to recover from the spendthrift and frivolity of the Hugo Chavez years (1999- 2013).

Nigeria’s proximity to these countries at the basement of the index should give every Nigerian food for thought, for it basically suggests that the country is no different from two societies where law and order has completely broken down, with the state-society compact effectively in abeyance. Yet, no one, not even the most steadfast patriot, can argue against the country’s ranking on the index. With the Muhammadu Buhari administration at its most feckless, the country has become more or less ungoverned, and ordinary citizens are sandwiched between the banditry of outlaws and the violent recklessness of those charged with the provision of security.

To be fair, not all of the problems highlighted or implied by the CGGI can be blamed on the Buhari government. As a matter of fact, to blame all of them on the state or any single government is to engage in willful misrecognition. The truth of the matter is that Nigeria has been broken for a long time, and evaluations like the CGGI’s merely underscore what every Nigerian knows to be true. For instance, both corruption and insecurity have definitely worsened under the current administration, but as we all know, both problems predate it.

If that is the case, the quest for solutions to the Nigerian quandary must go beyond this administration and the state as an entity. If Nigeria’s low ranking did not come as a surprise, neither did that of Finland, Switzerland, and Singapore respectively at the top of the pile. To begin to chart a path out of the country’s current quagmire, Nigerians should study these countries closely with a view to understanding and distilling the reasons for their success. According to the Chandler Institute, these countries stand out because they have consistently invested in “strong government capabilities” which is “vital to securing positive outcomes for citizens and businesses.”

There is no shame in adopting good business and political practices from other climes. The time to start is now.”

The President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria [PFN] yesterday on CNN delivered an “SOS”  “Save Our Soul” message to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Sadly today, everywhere in Nigeria is a theatre of war with many killings and bloodshed going on in the country everyday.”

As for Simon Kolawole he delivered his auditors’ report on the front page of “ThisDay” newspaper on May 2, 2021.


“Boko Haram which was said to have been technically defeated since 2016, remains deadly, bandits are shedding blood in the north every day; kidnappers are behind, beside, and in front of us; police stations are being attacked and police officers killed for fun in the South-East and South-South; Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB (Independent People of Biafra) is revving up the campaign for Biafra by the minute; Sunday Igboho is leading the Yoruba in a war of independence, and some Niger Delta militants have announced a return to the trenches.”

It was CNN that delivered the knock-out punch when it delivered the strident warning of highly respected lawyer Chief Robert Clerk S.A.N. (ex-CMS Grammar School)  85 years old as “BREAKING NEWS”

“Nigeria On The Verge Of Collapse, Might Not Survive Another Six Months 

I Robert Clarke swear by father’s grave.

What we are now obliged to do is to make a fresh start that herald a new dawn following which the special attributes of insurers (brokers and underwriters) would serve as a reminder of the huge reservoir of talents which we had hitherto ignored.

In this endeavour, we cannot but catalogue those who had previously served at the highest level of the insurance industry before retiring into the clergy or evangelism.  Some of the names that come to mind are:



Also, we must not fail to acknowledge the superlative contribution of insurers to the development of sports (in various parts of the country) ranging from athletics to hockey Chief Remi Alo, ex-King’s College and ex ……….will attest to this), swimming, polo, cricket, football, wrestling, squash racquets, basketball, golf and boxing.  Incidentally, the team Manager of the 1956 Nigerian Team to the Olympics in Melbourne, Australia was none other than late Jack Farnsworth who was the General Manager of ……………………….Insurance Company Limited.

At King’s College, Yinka Lijadu who later became the Managing Director of Nigerian National Insurance Company [NICON] was a very skilful footballer.  From his outside right position he would deftly weave his way through the formidable defence line of St. Gregory’s College.   

Late Chief ……………………..Lawson who was the Managing Director of NEM Insurance was a redoubtable Squash racquets player.

It is crucial to appreciate that a great deal of the resources which insurers were able to deploy to addressing critical gaps in the economy or raise capital as well as provide succour to those in distress were derived from Life Insurance.  Indeed, the accounts of Life Insurance used to be maintained separately from Non-Life.  The usual practice was for Life Insurance to maintain adequate provision for eventualities (risk management) in accordance with the recommendation of the actuarists.

However, following the report of the Committee headed by Mr. Fola Adeola in the Nigerian government set up  PENCOM (National Pension Commission) and split the management of pensions from PFA’s (Pension Fund Administrators) and PFC’s (Pension Fund Custodians).  Some of the concerns raised at the time have turned out not to be totally unfounded.  At the last check, the Government has compelled PENCOM to lend it N6.1 trillion out of its entire pool of N8 trillion.

It must be about forty-five years ago when I was the Manager in charge of the Audit of American International Insurance Company [AIICO] which had been brought into Nigeria by late Chief Henry Fajemirokun and I think Chief John Akin-George.  At that time AIICO’s office was just a stone throw away from the office of KPMG (then Peat Marwick Cassleton Elliott) at 63 Marina, Lagos.  My Assistant Manager was late …………………Fadipe who was both a lawyer and Chartered Accountant.  Low and behold he was promptly snatched by  …………….Ritcher the American Managing Director of the company.  After departure of Ritcher, it was Fadipe who took over as the General Manager/Chief Executive.  I need not add that his remuneration and perks vastly surpassed that of his former bosses at our audit firm.  He relished in reminding me that being an insurer was much more fun than auditing and rushing all over the place chasing impossible deadlines for the submission of audit reports.

We should pause long enough to acknowledge the role played by a captain of the insurance industry in providing cover for Sierra Leone in its moment of despair.  I refer to Bai Ernest Korona (Prime Minister or President 2007 to …..).

He joined the Sierra Leone National Insurance Company in 1978.  In 1985, he switched to the Reliance Insurance Trust Corporation (Ritcorp) and three years later he became the Managing Director and served in that position for fourteen years.

Coming back home, we are entitled to ask both Dr (Mrs) Bola Onigbogi FCIB,  President/Chairman Governing Board and Barrister (Mrs)  Laide Osijo FCIB what prompted them to choose such a fascinating topic:  “ADDING VALUE” for this evening’s address.  My guess is that they want to establish that within the insurance industry there are two segments – brokers and underwriters but they each deliver added value (or are expected to commit to adding value) through somewhat different methodologies.

However, even beyond that boundary, there are so many luminaries within the insurance industry that our nation can call upon to serve at the highest level of government rather than leave our destiny entirely in the hands of non-insurance politicians.  It is inconceivable that the likes of Olola F. Olabode Ogunlana, Chairman of SCIB; Mr. Olabode Emanuel, Chairman of Hogg Robinson; Professor Joe Irukwu, Chairman of Nigerian Reinsurance Corporation,  Prince Olu Awogboro, Chairman of Ark Stewart; Alhaji Mohammed A. Koguna, Chairman of Koguna and Barbura Insurance Brokers; Mr.  Hassan Odukale, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Leadway Assurance; Mr. Fola Adeola, Chairman of Allianz Nigeria Insurance Plc;  Mr. Wole Oshin, Chairman of Custodian Investments Plc.




would not be accorded the red carpet welcome at the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Commander-In-Chief Armed Forces of Nigeria.  They are men and women of vision.   Indeed, vision is infinite imagination.

For over fifty years I have rendered professional services to both insurance brokers and underwriters.  Even now, I still marvel at much there is still to learn.  To start with, the accounts of insurance companies are segmented into Life; Non-Life; and Re-insurance.  The large insurance companies have structured their organogram to accommodate separate Managing Director for Life and Non-Life plus Re-insurance who would report to the Group Managing Director.  Some insurance companies and banks e.g. First Bank Plc own insurance brokerage companies (FBN Insurance Brokers Ltd) alongside Life Insurance (FBN Insurance Limited) and Non-Life (FBN General Insurance Ltd).

The regulator National Insurance Commission [NAICOM] has imposed strict guidelines whereby brokerage firms are obliged to pay over to the underwriters whatever premium they collect must be paid over to the underwriters within forty-eight hours.

In addition, brokers are obliged to keep their commission account separate from their clients’ account.  This is a complete departure from what prevailed  previously when brokers would collect premium and do whatever they liked with the money – even investing  the funds in property and whatever took their fancy regardless of the risk of tying up short-term funds in long-term investments – and obvious reap for disaster.  

Also, brokers are now vicariously liable to the tune of 20 per cent if the underwriter is unable to meet its obligation.  In essence, the broker truly earns his commission by giving his/her clients expert, advice and ensuring that valueis added.

Perhaps, I should share with you the front page report of “The British Medical Journal,” dated October 15, 2010.


“A life insurance agent called upon me last month proposing that if he brought me cases for medical examination he would promise substantial increase to my professional income if, in return, I took out a policy on my own life with him.

I point blank refused to do so.

He introduced three or four cases, and this morning, when accompanying a case for examination, he again broached the subject of my own insurance, and on my repeating my former refusal to be so bound, be declared, in a manner intended to be threatening, and in front of the insured, that this was the last case he would bring to me.

The incident confirms the correspondence recently appearing in your valuable issue relative to the methods of insurance agents – I am, etc.”

- W.Ff. MacCarthy.

Mr. Fola Adeola Chairman of Allianz Insurance has debunked the claim that the Nigerian government has borrowed N6.1  trillion out of the N8 trillion under the control of PENCOM (National Pension Commission) whose current Director-General is Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar.   PENCOM is a regulator and it is within its powers to provide guidelines to the PFC’s [Pension Fund Custodians] whose role is to keep safe custody of pension assets on trust on behalf of contributors, while the PFA’s [Pension Fund Administrators] are the ones who are to open Retirement Savings Account (RSA) for employees, invest and manage pension fund assets, payment of retirement benefits and accounts for all transactions relating to the pension funds under their management.

What is in the custody of NSITF (Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund) are to cater for employees work-related accidents, monitor and mandate all employees to comply with this initiatives.  It covers all work-related accidents and injuries to employees.

More and more international insurance companies are spending huge sums on Think Tanks; Research and Development; focus groups etc.  Some of them have even appointed Chief Economists.  It is all money well spent in order to deepen their knowledge and anticipation/assessment of risk combined with risk management anchored on big data/data-mining.

Their Nigerian counterparts have no choice but to follow suit.  It would enable us to gain insights into why we remain relatively poor instead of being prosperous; why we are on the verge of being declared a failed State when we should be stable and peaceful; and why we are piling up debts instead of thriving on savings.  The last time Nigeria’s debts had escalated to:……………………….It does not require rocket science to discern that the bane of our society is the reckless misuse of public power and resources for private gain.  This runs pari passu by the neglect of our sacred responsibility to groom future leaders and provide them with not only the requisite skills but also mould their character with a view to ensuring (insuring !!) their enduring and unassailable integrity.  In the insurance industry success is generously rewarded and failure is duly sanctioned.  That is crucial lesson we as a nation can afford to relegate to the background.  On the contrary, it has to be accorded the privilege of occupying the centre stage.  That is indeed the beginning of the adding value chain instead of washing our energy and resources on perennial crisis management which may (if mismanaged) lead to the disintegration of our nation.  The insurers must break cover and come to our rescue.  It is not an easy task.

I recall now in 2010, I attended conferences in Luxembourg and Geneva.  The two conferences were about “Global Risk Assessment and Risk Management.”  The top shots in insurance were very much present.  So also were security experts from various parts of the world.  It was self-evident that they knew their onions.

The information and data they had on Nigeria and the lapses in our security architecture were simply  amazing.  According to them, the security had crumbled and was on the verge of total collapse due to numerous factors – neglect, inter-agency rivalry, poor funding, low morale; dodgy leadership, ethnic/religious tension, politics, corruption and sleeze etc.  In addition, technology was still analogue when the rest of the world was digital.

To make matters worse, late Colonel …..Ghadaffi the President of Libya ???? had been doling out huge sums of money to African leaders and sundry politicians (both moslems and Christians) while pursuing his political agenda.  He wanted to be the King of Africa !!  Also, he had stockpile weapons far beyond the needs of Libya.  Hence, when his regime collapsed, the weapons found their way, in the hands of rebels and insurgents right across the Sahara Desert to the northern belt of West Africa – from Mauritania to Republic of Cameroons.  Consequently, it was inevitable that there would be a spill over into Nigeria for which we were glaringly unprepared.  What was looming on the horizon was monumental insecurity which would feed into our nation’s economic woes and further worsen our plight.  It was a vicious circle.  At the top of the menu were violent religious extremism and terror as was being espouse by Boko Haram.  AK-47 was the choice weapon and it was available in vast quantities.  The bandits and thugs got a bargain.

Even before I left Europe for home I was obliged to convey the warning of looming anarchy to our government at the highest.  The response was lukewarm.  They could not be bothered about the protection of our nation’s wide and open spaces not to talk of the remote riverine areas and creeks as well as forests which were obvious candidates state of the art technology – drones, satelites, day and night vision intelligence etc.

The only thing that the government was pursuing then was a dodgy N10 billion contract which was awarded to a Chinese company GTZE to supply CCTV cameras for Abuja and Lagos.  It has turned out to be another messy deal.




What was a matter of concern was that there would be an inevitable consequences – the more the security situation deteriorated the more funds required for other critical needs such as health, education and infrastructure would be diverted to fighting insurgents.  On CNN, our Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning disclosed that in the last six years security has gulped a whopping N10.02 trillion; and between January 2019 and April 2021, a total of N1,008.47 trillion was released to the Nigerian Army alone.  ……………………….. (Arc.).  As for the National Security Adviser, Major-General (Arc) Babagana Monguno (ex-King’s College), after raising the alarm about non-decay of military equipment which had been purchased, he did a worse.  He recanted. 

As evidence that our nation is yet to obtain insurance cover, here is the front page of report of “ThisDay” newspaper of May 8, 2021.


“Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, His Grace Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, has said that the recent alarm raised by the federal government alleging plot to overthrow the present administration may be an indication that things were not well in the country after all.

He also lamented that Boko Haram terrorists had continued to ravage the land while herdsmen/farmers menace had been allowed to fester and spread, developing into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and brutal killings.

Speaking at a media interactive forum yesterday in Abuja, Kaigama said that there was a strong perception that the country’s economy was heading for the doldrums unless the menace of corruption was arrested.

While reacting to recent statement issued by the presidency alleging that some past political leaders and religious leaders are plotting to overthrow the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, Kaigama said that something must have gone wrong for the government to be contemplating a possible military take-over.

“I do not know what the politicians are doing among themselves, all we want is a stable democracy, a democracy that is productive and sensitive to the needs of the common man. A democracy that addresses problems and basic necessities. We are into discussing such unnecessary things like overthrow of government and military take-over.

“I thought we have forgotten that vocabulary. That people are even hinting about military take-over, is a sign that something is not right. But I thought it is a vocabulary that we will never, never again mention in the history of Nigeria.

But if it is being discussed whether real or imaginary, then it means we need to be attentive, especially those in leadership, he said.”

Clearly, the insurance gurus were absolutely right in 2010.  They were prophetic.  Permit me to place on record that my firm, J.K. Randle Professional Services took the initiative to host a Security Summit in 2011 on:


A Summit to address the concerns and challenges regarding SECURITY (of Lives, Property & Investment).  Theme:  Security & Risk Management:  On Land, In the Air, and At Sea.  At Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on 27th January, 2011.

I remain eternally grateful for the assistance and encouragement we received from Professor Adesoji Adelaja and Ambassador Olayiwola Laseinde from the Office of the National Security Adviser who managed to persuade the then National Security Adviser, Lt. General Owoye Andrew Azazi, to declare the Summit open.  What was amazing was the patriotic fervour of Nigerians – both from here and the diaspora in offering very thoughtful suggestions and incisive observations.  Some of them travelled all the way from the United States of America and other far flung places to make their contribution.   This was long before ZOOM came on the scene.

Unfortunately, there was no follow up action on the part of the government.  However, the terrorists delivered two severe jolts in 2011.

The Abuja office of the United Nations was bombed with devastating consequences.

“The 2011 Abuja bombing was a car bomb explosion on Friday, 26 August 2011 in the Nigerian capital Abuja's UN building that killed at least 21 and wounded 60. A spokesperson from the Sunni Islamist group Boko Haram later claimed responsibility. 

At about 11:00 WAT in the diplomatic zone in the centre of the city the car bomb vehicle broke through two security barriers. Then its driver detonated the bomb after crashing it into the UN reception area. The bomb caused devastation to the building's lower floors. The building is said to be the headquarters for about 400 UN employees but it is not clear how many were inside the building at the time of the attack.

A wing of the building collapsed and the ground floor of the building was badly damaged. Emergency services were quickly on the scene removing dead bodies from the building and rushing the wounded to hospital. Cranes have been brought to the blast site to move the mass of rubble and ensure that no-one is trapped there.

The blast killed at least 21 people and injured 73. The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri, said: "This is not an attack on Nigeria but on the global community. An attack on the world. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the attack as an 'assault on those who devote themselves to helping others'[3] The attack is the first suicide bombing in Nigeria to attack an international organisation.

In September 2011 the Nigerian Department of State Security alleged that Mamman Nur was the mastermind behind the attack and offered a ₦26 million (US$160,000) bounty. Also four men appeared in an Abuja magistrates' court charged with organising the bombing, and were remanded in custody to a federal high court hearing.”

Equally devastating was the attempt by the terrorists to assassinate the Inspector-General of Police …………………… by following the security vehicles protecting him right into the Police headquarters, Louis Edet House in Abuja.  There were foiled just in the nick of time otherwise they would have bombed the nerve centre of Nigeria’s security.

……………… of the attempted assassination.

Perhaps we should add a historical dimension to the challenge posed by the urgent need to come to the rescue of our nation and thereby restore the image and reputation of the black race.  We have always had our detractors.  Here is a quote from Napoleon Bonarparte of France (1769 to 1821) who having been crowned Emperor in 1804 sent General Leclere (his brother-in-law) to crush the revolution in Haiti, a French colony.  The leader of the black uprising was the legendary Toussant Louverture.  

It does not get any more racist:

“My decision to destroy the authority of the Blacks in Saint Domingue, Capital  of Haiti,  is not so much based on considerations of commerce or money, as on the need to block forever the march of the Blacks in the world.”

That is why we should pay special attention to the front page of the “Sunday Independent” newspaper of May 9, 2021.


“Insurance operators in the country are expected to pay N4.5 billion as claims benefits to over 2000 businesses that were affected during the protest. 

Mr. Ganiyu Musa, Chairman of Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), who disclosed this at an interactive session with insurance journalists in Lagos, noted that operators are still collating claims and every genuine claim will be settled. 

Musa said: “The number of insured businesses that were affected at the last count was about 2000 insured loss and the industry have settled over N4 billion claims in respect of the #EndSARS protest. Once they are documented and completed, we have the commitment of our members that claims will be paid timely.” 

The association is on top of developments on the aftermath of the protests and will continue to encourage members to pay all genuine claims in line with the extant policies. 

On the Consolidated Insurance Bill 2020, Musa said: “NIA welcomes the review as it will align the Act with global best practice and promote the business of insurance in the country.” 

According to him, the current insurance legislation is outdated and has made it impossible to do things that need to be done. 

On the African Insurance Organisation Conference, AIO 2021, Musa said: “Originally planned for year 2020, COVID-19 was a force majeure due to health protocols and travel restrictions. With availability of vaccines, reduction in infection rate coupled with relaxation of travel restrictions and other protocols around the coronavirus disease, the AIO Executive Committee and the NIA have agreed to hold it from 4 – 8 September 2021. A hybrid conference has been agreed and we solicit your support in hosting the best conference ever.” 

Speaking on the Nigerian Insurance Industry Database/Nigerian Insurance Industry Portal (NIID/NIIP), Musa said: “The Nigerian Insurance Industry database was established to reduce soft market practices and eliminate fake insurance policies. 

“The Association has taken a step further by creating the Nigerian Insurance Industry platform to enable vehicle owners’ purchase their third-party motor vehicle insurance cover from the comfort of their homes and telephones. 

“So far, we are seeing a lot of traction on the platform across the states of the Federation and we are hopeful that other states will key into the project before the end of the year.” 

On the Marine Module, he said: “As you are probably aware, the Central Bank of Nigeria has since integrated the NIA Marine Module into the National Trade portal and all insurance certificates required for import and export are generated from the portal. This, no doubt, signals the end of fake Marine Insurance Certificates at the Ports.” 

Musa stated that he became the Chairman of the Council of Bureaux of the Ecowas Brown Card Scheme at its 37th Ordinary Session in January this year.” 

Beyond that we should urge both brokers and underwriters who wish to embark on the rescue mission to rescue Nigeria to endeavour to add value to what has already been delivered in the report of Nobel Laureate, Professor Michael Spence who headed the World Bank sponsored Commission on Growth:



Here is an extract:

“We believe in the strongest possible terms that inclusiveness is an essential ingredient of any successful growth strategy.  It is a vital ingredient without which the entire process could capsize.

There is a direct and glaring correlation between growth and poverty reduction.  There is abundant empirical evidence to raise it from the level of speculation to the level of assertion.

However, there is a caveat which does not detract from its general universal application.  Countries, especially those in Africa, may be hampered by their small size, landlocked and isolated geographical location and long history of dependence on natural resources, ethnic divisions and weak States.”

The task ahead is huge.  Hence, we must commend “The Punch” newspaper for devoting its front page on May 10, 2021 exclusively to insurance:


“The National Insurance Commission………





“Pension Fund Operators ………………………..



However, on its front page on the same day (May 10, 2021) The “Nigerian Tribune” newspaper insisted that we still have to contend with demons who constitute a major barrier between poverty and misery versus prosperity and happiness.


……….Food crisis looms as farming activities decline.

“No fewer than 400 Nigerians were murdered by Boko Haram, bandits and herdsmen in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, latest report from the Bismark Rewane-led Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) has said.

Besides, the report stated that bandits also kidnapped about 150 persons during the period under review.

Quoting Civic Media Lab as a source, Rewane, in the report, gave the details of the killings, stating that Boko Haram and other Islamic terrorists murdered 100 people: random shooters/arsonists killed 40 people, herdsmen killed 60, while bandits murdered 200, noting that the recent was the abduction and killing of some Greenfield University students.

He blamed causes of what he described as “woes of insecurity” in the country on multi-dimensional poverty that is eroding consumer disposable income; high unemployment and lack of opportunities.”

He remarked that insecurity and insurgency have become the watchwords of most Nigerians, adding that the problems have become so daunting that they are now being used interchangeably.

“The correlation between inflation and insurgency is now a raging and controversial debate.  Many analysts believe the insurgency causes inflation, while the situation suggests that inflation and unemployment breed desperate and dangerous citizens.  Economic insecurity, as they say, is the mother of all hopelessness,” the FDC boss said.

Rewane noted that the woes of insecurity has caused the nation’s economic loss, leading to food crisis as farming activities decline, spiralling inflation, loss of new investments and increase in capital flight.

Besides, he said woes of insecurity has led to no hub status as African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfC-FTA) progresses, destruction of properties and infrastructure, squeeze in corporate margins, displacement effect and rise in emigration.

Economic fallout of insecurity, Rewane said, has made Nigeria to become a high risk destination as Canada, United States of America (US), United Kingdom (UK) and Australia issued travel warnings on Nigeria.

Besides, he said that as a result of the economic fall-out, multilateral organisations could be forced to declare Nigeria a pariah state and downgrade it credit rating.

Suggesting short and medium term solutions to insecurity in the country, the renowned financial and economic analyst  urged the Federal Government to increase armoury, bridge government trust deficit, address the political enigma surrounding insecurity, strike out religious bias, and tackle social-economic problems swiftly.”

On CNN, Professor Dani Rodrik of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University waxed lyrical about the primacy of “first order principles” as a sine qua non for those countries who aspire towards economic growth.  

“In order to leapfrog from aspiration to concrete and measurable achievements, first order principles must kick in.

We are talking of protection of property rights, contract enforcement, market based competition, appropriate incentives, sound money, debt sustainability.  You also need robust institutions.  Good institutions are those that deliver these first order principles effectively.”

I hope you will permit me to delve into nostalgia – when chartered accountants use to “groove and booze” with insurers (both brokers and underwriters) in London.  It is amazing how time flies !!   We are reeling the tape back almost fifty-five years when during summer, underwriters would play against brokers at cricket or tennis.  Sometimes it would be football or golf.  However, the climax was the Chartered Accountants versus Insurers squash rackets match, hockey or polo at Windsor Great Park in the presence of the late Duke of Edingburg.

After a week of sporting festivities, what followed was the Black Tie Dinner at Mansion Hall, in the City of London.  The Guest of Honour would usually be the Lord Mayor while the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be the Special Guest.  The tradition was that a Chartered Accountant would be invited to speak for fifteen minutes (no serious stuff) and the following year it would be the turn of either an insurance broker or underwriter.  

Anyway, I think it was in 1970 that it was the turn of the Chartered Accountants.  Lo and behold, it was KPMG’s Slot.  For some reason, the guy who was selected had injured himself during the polo match.  Without any prior consultation with me, he suggested J.K. Randle as his replacement.  It was like a death sentence.  When it was my turn to speak, I reminded myself that I was born in the toughest part of Lagos – Okepopo.  No shaking.  Take no prisoners.  Just in the nick of time I remembered the story of how the four largest  insurance companies in Britain – Legal and General Insurance Company Limited; Royal Exchange Assurance Company Limited; Commercial Union Limited;  and Prudential Insurance Limited decided that they were spending too much money respectively and individually on advertisements.  So they decided they would pool their resources and hire just one advertising agency to advertise on behalf of all of them.  The brief was thrown wide open.  Guess who came up with a winner ?  It was the Chairman of Grant Advertising Nigeria Limited.  The winning advert was a circle divided into four segments.  Each segment had a couple who were in bed.  What was required was an explanation of what each segment in the circle represented.  It turned out that the first segment which showed a married couple in bed stood for “Legal and General” while the second which showed Queen Elizabeth and her husband the Duke of Edingburgh in bed represented “Royal Exchange” while the third segment which showed a businessman and a call girl in bed represented “Commercial Union”.   As for the fourth segment which showed a young lady who insisted that her boyfriend must use a condom, that was “Prudential”.

As I made for the exit, the audience rose to their feet and insisted on more.

Fortunately, just in the nick of time I remembered the story of how during the Second World War (1939 – 1945) the insurance companies in Britain sponsored an anti-smoking campaign.  The strap line was: 


It was all over the country on huge billboards.  All was well until a “Gregorian” (ex-St. Gregory’s College, Obalende, Lagos) took it upon himself to write on every single billboard he came across:


Then was also the case of a 90-year-old Gregorian who was travelling on the train between Edingburg and London.  

Unfortunately for him when the train got to Reading, the ticket inspector insisted on checking that all passengers had tickets with the correct fare

The Gregorian panicked.  Lo and behold he could not find his ticket.  However, luck was on his side.  The ticket inspector was all smiles:  

“Sir, you were my senior at St. Gregory’s College.  Of course, I recognise you.  Not to worry.  I’m sure you paid the correct fare.”  That was not sufficient as the old man protested:

“I must find my ticket to remind me of where I am supposed to be going so that I know when to get off.”

I suspect that insurers remember the case of the comedian Ed Burn (…….to…….) who was interviewed on CNN on his 100th birthday by a young lady.

“Ed, is it true you still smoke ten large Cuban cigars every day?”

Answer: “Yes, I sure do.”

Question: “Ed, do you really quaff six bottles of Don Periguon Champagne

every day?”

Answer: “Of course, I do.”

Question: “Ed, is it true you still chase young ladies?”

Answer: “Yes, indeed.”

Question: “Ed, what does your doctor think of all these excesses by a man 

of your age?”

Answer: “My doctor?  He is dead.”

Only recently the oldest man in the world, 128-year-old Bob Wellensky was interviewed on CNN and was asked for the secret of his longevity.  Straight out the blurted out:

“Wild women and wild whiskey, Jack Daniel.”

Also, CNN was intrigued by the life-style and life insurance policy of a Nigerian (a Gregorian !!) who was living in Kano and had four wives.  It was the indefatigable Richard Quest who took him on.

“Sir, how do you manage to cope with four wives?”

Answer: “No problem.  My religion permits me to have four wives.  You 

must be sure you can afford to treat all of them equally.

Same car for each wife.  The same clothes for them and all the

children eat together.  Also, when I travel they all accompany me.

Richard “Alhaji, I understand all that but what about the physical side:

    Quest: I mean your sexual obligation.

Answer: “No problem.  Monday is for wife number one; Tuesday is for

wife number two; Wednesday is for wife number three; and 

Thursday is for wife number four.”

Richard “What about Friday?”


Answer: “Friday is reserved for my girlfriend”.

As for the former two-time Governor of one of the Northern States of Nigeria who is now a Senator, rather than succumb to blackmail over a picture of him in bed with two young ladies, he just upgraded his life insurance policy to an “All Risks Cover” and carried on with his life.  None of his four wives complained or left him.

Anyway, insurance companies have their own way of coping with all sorts of exigencies and human foibles.

At the Old Bailey, a lady was charged with insurance fraud.  What intrigued the judge was not only that she had been married six times and all her husbands were named Williams.  However, what was even more puzzling was that five had died of poison except for the sixth one who died of a head injury.

Justice Mark Pemberton-Delvan carefully adjusted his glasses and demanded from the accused:

“Mrs. Williams, I take it that it was just co-incidence that all your ex-husbands bore the name Williams but what I cannot fathom is why five died of poison but the last one died of head injury.

Each and every one of named you as his next-of-kin and sole beneficiary of their life insurance policy.  

Mrs. Williams was ready to oblige.

“My Lord, I picked them from the telephone directory.

I also made sure that they had life insurance policy.

After each honeymoon, I put poison in their tea and they died.”

The judge then enquired:

“What about your sixth husband?

Answer: “My Lord, he was wicked and stingy in addition to being stubborn.  He bluntly refused to drink the tea.  So I hit on the head in order to

persuade him.  Unfortunately, he died.  My Lord, it was an accident

I plead for leniency.”

Thank goodness for our in-built resilience.  A case in point was that of a crooked businessman who made sure that his factories were always overinsured.  Whenever his factories caught fire he was quick to submit his hefty claim.  The insurance company always paid up and he would go off to the Caribbean on vacation for extended holidays.  Anyway, there he was lying on the private beach of a five-star hotel when a Gregorian planted himself on the adjacent beach chair.  A conversation soon ensued.  The crooked businessman boasted that he was a regular visitor to the hotel no matter the cost.  He confessed that he had been taking his insurers for a ride after setting fire to his numerous factories and cashing in on his policies.  He then demanded of the Gregoian:

“How about you?  How can you afford to stay here?”  The Gregorian took pains to explain that he had set up a huge factory in his village but it was destroyed entirely by floods.  He was so traumatised that he needed to get away for a while and pursue his insurance claim later.

Instead of sympathy what he got from the eager businessman was:

“I know how to start a fire but how do you start a flood?”

It was a very enterprising Ralph Wandsworth, the new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guardian Insurance Plc who on taking over ventured into leisure and entertainment in an attempt to diversify the company’s investment portfolio.  

He invested in a circus that was going all over Britain.  From one village to another, the circus drew huge crowds.  The main attraction was that at the end of each evening’s performance, Ralph would grab the microphone and offer a huge prize of £5,000 (five thousand pounds) to anyone in the audience who was willing to stake the sum of £1 (one pound).  What they had to do was persuade the giant elephant to do two things – node its head (up and down) to say yes; and thereafter shake its head (sideways) to signify no.   Night after night nobody could succeed.  

The company was making tons of money every night.  Ralph became a hero on account of his acclaimed genius.  

All went well until a Gregorian turned up.  He waited until everyone had tried and failed.  Then went up to the elephant and kicked it in the groin.  The elephant gave a huge roar of pain and the Gregorian made his exit.

He was back on the following night.  Again he waited until all others had tried  and failed.  Then he went up to the elephant and grabbed it by the flap of its ears.  He whispered to the elephant:

“Do you remember what I did to you last night?”

The elephant promptly nodded (with its head going up and down) to signify yes.  Elephants never forget!!

What followed was another question:

“Do you want me to do it again?”

Obviously in fright, the elephant was sufficiently alarmed at the prospects of another kick in the groin.  It obliged by shaking its head from side to side to deliver a very powerful message – No.

The Gregorian duly collected the bountiful prize.  When the circus moved to the next village, Ralph nearly had a fit when he sighted the Gregorian.  Again, the Gregorian pull the stunt and collected the bounty.

Thereafter, at every village the Gregorian would be there to collect the prize after everyone else had failed.  Consequently, the insurance company lost a great deal of money and that was the end of its foray into circus business.  From being a hero, Ralph became a villain.  He was fired for being reckless.

At about the same time, another Gregorian found himself out of work.  He was sacked by Hogg Robinson.  In desperation, he went to London zoo and let the head game-keeper know that he was ready to take any job.

The game-keeper was perplexed.  He had no vacancy.  However, his gorilla had died of old age on the previous day.  He was still grief-striken especially as the gorilla was a huge favourite amongst the tourists.  He had a brainwave, the Gregorian would be dressed in the costume of a gorilla.  Everything went according to plan.  The tourists did not suspect a thing as the gorilla pranced up and down in its cage much to the delight of the tourists especially children who threw grapes and banana into the cage for the gorilla to feast on.

For several weeks, the Gregorian was making good money.  Then he made a critical error while taking refuge from the barrage of grapes and bananas being thrown at him.  He wandered into the next cage which unknown to him was occupied by a lion.  He was petrified as the lion pounced on him.

“What emerged from him was:  “Mo gbe.” Which is Yoruba for “I am done for.”  He then added: “This is not the way a Gregorian should die.  To his utter astonishment, the growling lion roared back at him.

“Omo iya” which in Yoruba translates as “My brother (brethren) relax.  Me too I am a Gregorian.”

Both insurance brokers and underwriters have a lot to learn from elephants and lions when it comes to assessing and managing risks.  Far more profoundly, 97-year-old Professor Henry Kissinger, a former US Secretary of State warned on Zain Asher’s programme on CNN (One World):

“For the first time in human history, humanity has the capacity to extinguish itself in a finite period of time.  We have developed technology of a power that is beyond what anybody imagine 70 years ago.  And now, to the nuclear issue is added the high-tech issue, which in the field of artificial intelligence, in its essence is based on the fact that man becomes a partner of machines and machines can develop their own judgement.  In a conflict between high-tech powers, it is of colossal significance.”

As for George Eliot, he prefers animals to humans.

“Animals are such agreeable friends.  They ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.”

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