The President, National Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE);The CEO, NSE, members of the Executive Committee; thank you so much for according Guardian Newspapers Limited this significant opportunity as we clock 35 years of glorious service to our country. On behalf of the board and management of The Guardian, I would like to say thank you and God bless you.
At The Guardian, we are proud to be associated with the 58-year old Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), which services the largest economy in Africa and is championing the development of Africa’s financial markets. Besides, we are delighted to be here because the influential NSE adopts the highest levels of international standards in its operations that we report daily. We are also aware that the NSE belongs to a number of international and regional organizations, which promote the development and integration of global best practices across their platforms.
You are a member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, the SIIA’s Financial Information Services Division (FISD) and the Intermarket Surveillance Group (ISG). We are also told that the NSE is a founding member and executive committee member of the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA).
We can also recall that the NSE enhanced its status, in November 2014 when it signed a Capital Market Agreement with the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) at the UKTI and the Emerging Capital event held at the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The objective of this initiative under the leadership of Mr. Oscar N. Onyema, the CEO of NSE, supported by the President of the NSE National Council then, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, is to strengthen cooperation and promote mutual development between the two Exchanges. The unique agreement supports African companies seeking dual listings in London and Lagos. Sir Roger Gifford, Chairman of the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, witnessed the historic agreement.
We are impressed too by the simplicity of your corporate governance profile, which we have also studied. You have a simple Executive Committee of only three members, supported by National Council and National Committee members who are professionals in the capital market, finance-related institutions and firms.We shall also endeavour to partner with the Exchange on its financial literary programmes from time to time in recognition of the importance we attach to responsible journalism.
We would, in this connection, like to appreciate the recognition you have accorded us by this – as we clock 35 this year. It is marvelous in our eyes.Because of your remarkable profile, Guardian Newspapers Limited, owners of the flagship of the Nigerian Press, The Guardian, with strong brand equity too, may be listed on this prestigious Stock Exchange in the near future. And this is why:
The Guardian (1983-2018) 35 Years
The Guardian is an independent daily newspaper published in Lagos, by Guardian Newspapers Limited. The newspaper has been described as “Nigeria’s most influential newspaper” and so it is widely regarded as “The Flagship of the Nigerian Press”. Established in 1983 by Dr. Alex Uruemu Ibru, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, the newspaper was a pioneer in introducing high-quality journalism to Nigeria with thoughtful editorial content. The newspaper was first published on 22 February 1983 as a weekly, appearing on Sunday. It began daily publication on July 4, 1983 and so July 4th is our anniversary.
In the early 1980s, The Guardian had a long-running campaign against the use of traditional chieftaincy titles, calling for Nigerians to be addressed simply as “Mr” or “Mrs”.The campaign was lost to the power elite who did not want to abide by such simplicity. We can all see the redundancies and vanity upon vanity in the way we are addressed today in the country: For instance, we address people as Barrister Kingsley Akpan, Engr. Andrew Okomu, Architect Abiodun Lawal, Surveyor Obi Okoye, Pharmacist Richard Olorioko, Nurse Esther Attah, Journalist Bimbo Olonade, etc. The only exception would have been the physician in our midst, who can be addressed as Dr. Kole Ajani, (because of his uniqueness as a life-saver, a medical practitioner).
And even in some societies, a doctorate degree holder won’t be addressed as Dr. Musa Ibrahim. He will simply be addressed as Musa Ibrahim, Ph.D. This was the confusion and vanity we tried to avoid but we unfortunately lost the battle for ethical reorientation. You will recall that during the administration of the then Major General Muhammadu Buhari, Senior Reporters Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor were both sent to jail in 1984 under Decree No. 4 of 1984, which suppressed press freedom. The newspaper was on August 14, 1994 arbitrarily shut down for publishing a world-class scoop, which detailed the inner workings of the then presidency under the headline: “Inside Aso Rock: The Raging Battle to Rule Nigeria”.
The founder and first publisher passed on, on my birthday November 20, 2011. The newspaper, his foremost legacy, is being repositioned as a digital, data-driven investigative journal to meet the demand of today’s market.
What ‘The Guardian’ Stands For:
The Guardian is an independent newspaper, established for the purpose of presenting balanced coverage of events and promoting the best interests of Nigeria. It owes allegiance to no political party, ethnic community, religious or other interest groups. Its primary commitment is to the integrity and sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and beyond that, to the unity and sovereignty of Africa.
The Guardian is a liberal newspaper, committed to the best traditions and ideals of republican democracy. It believes that it is the responsibility of the state, not only to protect and defend the citizen, but also to create the political, social and economic and cultural conditions, in which all citizens may achieve their highest potential as human beings. It is committed to the principle of individual freedom, but believes that all citizens have duties as well as rights.
The Guardian does not, in principle, object to the ideology of enterprise, since this would be inconsistent with its commitment to individual liberty and freedom. But it believes that the state must intervene judiciously in the economic life of the nation, in order to minimise the adverse effects of free enterprise.
Without prejudice to the right of individual citizens to exploit labour and capital for their own benefit, The Guardian believes that it is the duty of the state to ensure that less privileged citizens have reasonable and fair access to the basic necessities of life.
The Guardian will at all times uphold the need for justice, probity in public life, equal access to the nation’s resources, and equal protection under the laws of Nigeria for all citizens. The Motto of The Guardian is Conscience Nurtured by Truth.It is our prayer and hope that the NSE continues to meet the needs of its valued customers and achieve the highest level of competitiveness as espoused in its corporate overview as “an open, professional and vibrant Exchange, connecting Nigeria, Africa and the world”.
Thank you for your attention.