Philips Oduoza, group managing director and chief executive officer, United Bank for Africa, UBA, is convinced of one thing – a business reputation suffers severe damage by being associated with corrupt practices in the public mind. So, in line with that conviction, he recently led the board and executive management of the bank to sign a declaration with the Convention on Business Integrity, CBi, to uphold the platform of credibility which members of the convention share.
For the CEO, the inclusion of the bank as a member of the convention tallies with its corporate statement of principles, H.E.I.R., which stands for Humility, Empathy, Integrity and Resilience. According to him, “for us, these corporate statement of principles are not just concepts; they shape our corporate behaviour and define the way we do business.”
While admitting that the event underscores the bank’s unwavering commitment to carry out businesses with the highest sense of integrity and responsibility, Oduoza was quick to add that “it is a further affirmation of our adherence to CBi’s codes which define the minimum standard for business integrity.”
On why UBA took the decision to join the convention, Oduoza said, “As one of the largest financial services institutions in Africa, with operations in 19 countries including Nigeria, the bank’s global spread and multi-organisations ensures that it deals with multiple customers, regulators, banking rules and business guidelines, all demanding the highest standards of corporate integrity, hence, we want to be above board in all we do.”
Soji Apampa, executive director, CBi, while commending the bold step taken by UBA, said “it is our quest to consistently encourage businesses to be part of the CBi vision, which is to empower people, their transactions, systems and institutions against corruption.” According to him, CBi works to add value to its members through mutual accountability and peer review schemes. Apampa noted that CBi was instituted to promote ethical business practices, fair competition, and to further entrench the values of the code of business integrity. No doubt, the requirement for acceding to the CBi are detailed and stringent, but the benefits too are commendable. Aside attracting social-responsible businesses, it also enhances members’ reputation, among others.
The convention, for over three years, has continued to gain support and followers in Nigeria, and is recognized globally as very innovative. It is also seen as a positive contribution from Africa to global best practices relating to the promotion of good governance at the governmental level and vis-à-vis the private sector.
With the signing, UBA has become the 23rd member of the CBi, and according to Onari Duke, a member of the board of the bank, the step is not only in the right direction but one that is a giant leap for the bank.