Nigerians have been urged to consciously imbibe and integrate morality and other ethical values into their businesses, if they must thrive and remain in business.
The charge was given by Prof. Adewole Adeyeye, while delivering the 3rd Inaugural Lecture at Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology (OAUSTECH), Okitipupa, Ondo State, Nigeria on Monday, 24th July, 2023 at the Main Campus of the University.
The professor of business ethics and secretary, Ondo State Public Complaints, Financial Crimes and Anti Graft Commission in his inaugural lecture titled, “Morality in Business: That Our Business May Truly Prosper,” argued that most businesses in Nigeria are short-lived and unprosperous because business people in Nigeria believe in cutting corners, with little or no regard for the law and business ethics.
“The relationship between ethics and business has long passed the stage of skepticism. There is no need to doubt the relevance of ethics in business because business and ethical are correlated. Ethical practices are obligatory for optimal growth of business development. It will be foolhardy for any business or manager to ignore this fact. An enterprise can have the best of human and material resources, if the integrity capital of such an enterprise is nothing to write home about, it is certain that the business won’t go far,” the lecturer posited.
Prof. Adeyeye, pioneer Dean, OAUSTECH’s School of Management Sciences and lead consultant, United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) submitted that meaningful research has shown that most durable businesses in Nigeria do not last beyond 30 years due to absence of morality and widespread unethical practices such as deceit, fraud, sub-standisation, unfriendly working environment and lack of good customers’ relations among others.
The reverred professor of business ethics maintained that for businesses in Nigeria to prosper, keep growing in patronage and profitability and last for hundreds of years as seen in Asia, America and other developed world, honesty of purpose, integrity, motivations for workers and good customer relations among others are non-negotiable.
“Consumers and stakeholders relate with business positive brand and image for enhanced patronage. When the integrity capital of business enterprise is high, such business enjoys optimal patronage and more profits comes in. With very strong positive brand, business opens doors and opportunities for expansion,” he stressed.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) consultant seized the opportunity to call on the Nigeria government to engender necessary infrastructure programme to support ethical practices in business in the country.
“Efficient ethical practices require infrastructure such as strong legal framework, corporate governance mechanism and strong enforcement regime. When there is no strong ethical infrastructure to support ethical practices, the urge to practice ethics in business is drastically reduced and weakened,” Adeyeye concluded.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, OAUSTECH, Prof. Temi Emmanuel Ologunorisa stated that Prof. Adeyeye’s research has been able to unravel the causes of business mortality in Nigeria and worldwide.
Adding that he has also provided policy framework for ensuring that business do not run foul of the law, so that there are fewer cases of prosecution by antigraft agencies.
The Vice-Chancellor emphasized that the take away from the lecture is that business should not be devoid of morality.
“We should not cut corners, we should not run foul of the law and we should always take ethical issues into consideration when conducting our businesses both at the micro and macro levels,” the VC remarked.
The occasion was graced by the representative of Olowo of Owo, including the immediate past Chief Judge and Chairman, Ondo State Anti-graft Commission, Hon. Justice Akinkuoroye, government functionaries, captains of industries, principal officers of the University, people in the academia, students and other members of public.