Owen Akenzuwa Asaba
As a way out of the nation’s economic throes and in keeping with the Nigerian Local Content Law, the Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited (NAOC), said it is diversifying into other areas of capacity development as it focuses on developing and capacity building in small and medium businesses.
Speaking during a succession planning workshop for Eni Small and Medium Scale Vendors, held at Orchid Hotel, Asaba, last week, the Vice Chairman and Managing Director, NAOC, Massimo Insulla, said that the workshop, the first time to be rotated across its operations states, was designed to equip owners, partners, proprietors and management of small/medium sized-entrepreneurs with the skills and best practices in planning for the continuity and sustainability of their businesses when the owner exits through incapacitation, retirement or old age.
He said that part of the initiative of Eni in the areas of promoting Nigeria Content Development and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the pioneering JV independent power project (IPP) in Nigeria with the constitution of power plants in Okpai and delivering of 480MPV of power into the national grid to stimulate the economy to create jobs.
While noting that the company’s vendor finance scheme started in 2014, in collaboration with Stanbic IBTC and Zenith Banks, which according to him has provided opportunities for its contractors to access funds at favourable conditions. Massimo said that as a responsible corporate citizen, Eni has continued to ensure strict compliance with the provision of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industries Content Development Act (NOGICDA) 2010.
In his address, the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, explained that notable Nigerian business outfits, especially sole proprietorship and small scale enterprises, have failed to span beyond the lives and times of their various founders, because adequate succession plans were put in place by their owners.
Okowa said the first thing all entrepreneurs must do is to secure the future of their businesses by incorporating valid strategies that will engender the wholesome ownership and management control of their businesses in case of retirement, incapacitation or death of the actual owners.
“Indeed, it can be said that we have a succession crisis in Nigeria. In this country, we have had notable businesses or trading companies that were the toast of the nation several decades ago, but unfortunately, they are nowhere to be found today.”
“These companies owed their successes to the vision, rugged determination and business savvy of the strong personalities that founded them; but once their founders died or became incapacitated through retirement, old age or sickness, these companies gradually faded away from the scene.
“It is much a tragedy that the younger generation of Nigerians, especially those below the age of 30 have rarely heard about these companies that were the rave in the 70s through the 80s,” he added.
He noted that a good succession plan saves a company from infighting and disintegration in the case of any tragedy, observing that “without it, the company will be mired in all kinds of legal battles as family members and staff battle to take control of the business when the owner is gone.
While submitting that a succession plan will guarantee the peaceful retirement of business owners, Okowa explained that good succession planning must follow the template modeled by Jesus Christ, who trained his disciples, watched them act and finally assigned them to do that which they have learnt from him over time.
Earlier in his remarks, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitory Board, Simbi Wabote, represented by Temi Jemede, Zonal Director, Edo State/Delta State, commended NOAC for organising the workshop despite the severe challenges facing the industry.