By Michael Oche,
The Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), the umbrella body of professional bodies in Nigeria on Monday, said no nation can make meaningful progress without carrying its best brains along.
The APBN members raised the concern during its year 2020 Presidential Retreat held in Ibadan, lamented the sidetracking of its members by government in policy formulations.
In his address at the retreat, President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Dame Olajumoke Simplice, explained that professionals should form the core team in formulating policies.
She noted that APBN should be a veritable ground for appointing commissioners and ministers that would handle sensitive national portfolios.
She said, “An association that is the centre of all professional bodies should have the cooperation of all members to build it u, otherwise there would be a missing link. For example, if someone in Holland who needs the services of a tax practitioner in Nigeria, the APBN should be the place to turn to if the association is well projected and positioned.”
The Oyo State Chairman of APBN, Mr. Kola Lawal, who lamented that the leadership in Nigeria imports brains from other parts of the world at the expense of good brains in the country, said, “This forum is meant for us to meet to discuss ways forward on issues affecting professionals within the country.
“This kind of gathering will create an advantage among professionals on way forward. This is a veritable ground for creating synergy. We are meeting to chat the way forward on advancing the course of professionals.”
In his presentation, Abiodun Olatunji, SAN, also stressed the importance of participation of professionals in policy development of every nation.
He stated that there is need for the professional bodies to unite to contribute to the economic growth of the country especially at this period when COVID-19 has affected the social and economic lives of the people all over the world.
According to him, “Professionals need to participate in policy making for national growth and development.”
In a keynote address titled, ‘Deepening awareness of APBN among stakeholders,’ Prof. Abel Olorunisola, recommended holistic approach to corruption fight in Nigeria saying it is the only way to salvage the nation from the brink.
Olorunisola said, “All that it takes for evil to thrive is for good people to remain silent. It is not sufficient to talk about those who are corrupt. What about those of us who are silent when we see the evil going on? We all have to work together to tackle the issue of corruption.
“Once there is corruption in a nation, there is challenge of loss of national income because what is supposed to be meant for the development of the country ends up in some people’s pockets. The money for the good roads that we are talking about, the hospitals that we are supposed to have had been pocketed. When there is no infrastructure, for instance, electricity, how would the work? When our refineries are not working, how are we not have challenge with price of petroleum which affects all levels?
“Once there is corruption, it affects every facet of national life. There will be challenge of service delivery and overall problem of underdevelopment.
“There are four types of awareness that APBN keep to. They should look inwards and ask who are we, why are we hereand what should we be doing to deepen. They should look at their task awareness by saying what is the job of APBN? They should deepen public awareness, membership awareness to bring in more professional bodies.
“In Nigeria today, we have developmental issues like corruption, crime, Coronavirus pandemic. They are on the tables of professionals such as the engineers, the town planners, police officer, the teachers. We cannot but address the challenges of Nigeria today as professionals.
“There are three parts to corruption. Using bribery as an example; somebody offers a bribe while somebody collects it and we look at those people alone as being corrupt without talking about somebody who stands by watching without saying that is wrong or report. Among the professionals, some are corrupt while some watch while corruption is being perpetrated. We are all guilty.”
Earlier, in his welcome address President of APBN, Chief Olumuyiwa Ajibola, urged governments at all levels to engage the professionals in the country productively in the collective interest of all stakeholders.
He said the annual retreat was envisioned to facilitate intra-APBN interaction with a view to finding solutions to challenges confronting professionals in the country.
He said, “It was also aimed at addressing external policies of both government and private sectors which tend to impact on our practices. Amongst others, one of the key objectives of the retreat is the development of APBN itself into a stronger, more responsive and resilient organisation.”
According to him, this year, in view of the hard times being experienced by the Nigerian professionals and the world at large, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the council and Board decided on the following retreat theme, “Deepening Awareness of APBN among stakeholders.”
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