[From BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia]
Former Rector of the Abia State Polytechnic and Professor of Management at the Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU), Ezionye Eboh has advocated the establishment of a Corporate Offence Court to curb the spate of corruption in the business world.
Prof. Eboh, who made the call while delivering the 61st Inaugural Lecture of Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU), also suggested that ‘Introduction to Management’ should be made compulsory or General Course in all universities in the country to impart Management knowledge to the youth.
The Lecture was titled: “Management: Everything, Everywhere (Imara hazie, irie uru), contended that Management was everybody’s business
Eboh, a Professor of Management, explained that putting a Corporate Offence Court in place would help to regulate the activities of boardroom players, safeguard corporate businesses and punish offenders.
“There should be the establishment of a corporate offence court to try corporate offences. This will facilitate the trial and prosecution of corporate offences. There is so much under-the-table (underhand) plot at the boardrooms. A specialized court, made up of members with specialized skills will help track and punish offenders,” the ABSU Management teacher said.
According to the Management expert, “there is need for public enterprises (and the whole gamut of public sector) to offload their excess luggage and do everything within the structural process to reduce their operational costs to enhance efficiency,” stressing that efficiency would help to increase corporate profit, maximizing shareholders’ welfare and encouraging other prospective investors to invest in various enterprises.
Eboh identified corruption as a major factor influencing mismanagement of businesses in Nigeria, as wel as growth and development of the nation.
“A developing country like Nigeria needs to judiciously manage its available resources, avoid all forms of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds and ensure an enabling environment for all forms of business operations.
“However, over the years, greed, bribery, kickbacks, amongst others, have become the accepted way of life of many Nigerians, thereby denying the huge majority, the opportunity to health living and denying the country the opportunity to emerge as a major player in the global economy.
“Suffice it to note that corruption is one of the causes of poverty in Nigeria. It has become woven in the way of life of many citizens. Corruption is anti-development at all stages of our Progress. Corruption disrupts the flow of resources from the source to the masses, thereby thwarting targeted allocation, and so, inability to achieve targeted goals, the Professor of Management asserted.
He further said that corruption was affecting the rate of investment and cost of doing business in the country.
“Corruption raises the cost of doing business in Nigeria through multiple taxation. Various official and non-official charges on domestic and foreign investors do increase the cost of business take-off and operation in Nigeria. There seems to be a concentric cycle of inefficiency, chiefly orchestrated by the corrupt proclivity of many public and private sector managers,” Eboh said.
He therefore suggested the strengthening of Nigeria’s institutions and regulatory frameworks; and urged individuals and corporate organizations to refrain from unethical practices, “because if they do, the regulatory framework/institutions will catch them, no matter who they are.”
According to him, corruption is fertilized by negative societal values, whereby Nigerians measure a man’s worth in society by how much he has and called for a re-orientation in that regard.
For profitable management, he said there was need to prepare students in the task for leadership in both the public and private sectors of the economy by exposing them to “Introduction to Management,” which, he said should be made compulsory General Studies (GST) in all Universities in the country.
He emphasized that every human being was a manager, managing limited resources available to achieve predetermined ends, as he maintained that management cuts across all activities as long as a group of people have come together to achieve a common purpose.
“As a process, management involves the coordination of an organisation’s resources towards the accomplishment of its primary goals,” adding that materials, human, financial and information were essentials in carrying out Management functions which include planning, organising, staffing, directing, delegating, coordinating, reporting and budgeting.
Arguing that the foundation of the field of Management was laid by God Himself when He created Garden of Eden and appointed Adam to manage it, the Professor said:
“The fall of man at the Garden of Eden, strictly speaking, marked a failure of management,” he said, adding that “God did not take it kindly with an unprofitable servant like Adam who allowed the investment entrusted in his hands to crumble,” stressing that the base-line theory of investment is driven by profit.
He therefore tasked all managers to always discharge their duties diligently and efficiently, as there is no reward for unprofitable servant.
In his closing remarks, the Vice chancellor of ABSU, Prof Maxwell Onyemachi Ogbulu, thanked Prof Eboh for clinically identifying mismanagement as the bane of the society. He declared that the University was proud of him and thereby admitted him as one of the most Distinguished Professors of the university.