The President of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries of Nigeria (ICSAN), Mr. Mode Ayeku, has said that the over 50-year-old institute will soon be rechristened to reflect its mandate on ‘corporate governance’.
Speaking at ICSAN’s corporate headquarters in Ikeja, Lagos, Ayeku, who is the 27th president, said the roles of chartered secretaries transcends the traditional organising and taking minutes of meetings, to being governance professionals.
He said: “About five decades ago, when you mention ‘chartered secretary’, the attention was solely limited to secretaries of companies, and public organisations. In fact, the impression was that they were just there to take the minutes.
“Interestingly, If you look at the emerging trend starting from the 90s, when we started having code of corporate governance, the role of chartered secretaries have changed dramatically. We are now in a strategic role of being governance professionals.
We are no longer people who sit in the background and being given instructions to carry out. We are now seen as trained professional that will chart a course for best practices in an organisation.
According to him, secretaries are expected to be the central source of guardian for the company and other organisations they work for on issues bordering on ethics, conflict of interest and corporate governance.
Ayeku is optimistic that ICSAN members stand to profit a lot from the proposed name change.
“When you are called a governance professional, it is impossible for anybody to specifically identify who you are. At present, the country has various nomenclatures we have in the economy like secretary, permanent secretary personal secretary, private secretary.
But, because that particular word have been used in various occasions, there is now a confusion when you say you are a chartered secretary.
Continuing, he said: “Chartered secretaries should know they are now dealing with the economy in terms of management and governance of companies and therefore guiding an organisations into doing things that are proper and right.
So, when there are issues in a corporate organisation, everyone knows its either the chartered secretary did not advise the board properly or the company in question refused to heed his advice.
Although he hopes the rechristening might happen sooner than Nigerians expect adding that there is no way the new mandate would not reflect once a new name is conjured. “I can assure you it will not be long,” he said.
He assured that it will be in line with what obtains globally. “Our entire institutes have ‘corporate governance’ (in their new names).
So, by the time the name is finalised, it will show the whole world particularly our stakeholders here that this is the institute saddled with entrenching corporate governance. The name will tell you at a glance that this is a group comprising governance professionals.
We are doing it via the normal process. We have an enabling Act. The name cannot be changed overnight. We have to recourse to the National Assembly to explain to them the new strategic role,” he noted.