The Case for Nigeria’s Future: A Private Sector Transforming

Following the successful TEDLagos Ideas Search 2017 event at The Muson Centre, Lagos, I received a surprising email. Surprise because of the source. Union Bank wanted to do an event similar to a TEDx event as part of their celebration of 100 years.

You may ask why this will be so shocking. Well it is for many reasons. Top of the reasons was the realisation that we had an institution in Nigeria that was turning 100! We don’t have many of those!

Secondly, those of us that have been Union Bank customers and, in the case of Diro Systems (my company), also vendors, have had this perception of the bank as super safe and zero risk takers! I grew up with “Big. Strong. Reliable” etched in my memory! Otherwise known as old and set in its ways! Good if you are Nigeria’s 70 odd year old President. Awful if you are a millenial!!

So you can imagine my surprise when I finally got to meet Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem (Head Corporate Affairs/Corporate Communications), I was blown away. We engaged and her ideas were just BIG. That is the only way to describe it. BIG. This was March and by last night when we delivered the “Union Bank at 100: The Next 100 - A Call To Action”, I was a full convert. Along the line I have seen the bank rebrand in a tranformative way and develop a social media profile that finally has millenials talking about them!

As a vendor, I found a bank that was organised, serious and caring about all their partners — vendors, customers, staff etc. They have a solid ERP system that ensures you deliver and you get paid. Simple. In Nigeria, this is novel! They do exactly what they say. In human capital I found Nigerians that have inspired me. I remember, a meeting during the many months of preparations when I was introduced to Onyeka Okoli, the new Brand Manager. We had a good conversation and he put in place a fabulous team that has, in my view, delivered over and beyond.

But what is perhaps the best bit for me amongst all that I have experienced in working with all that I have worked with in that time is the team spirit that runs through all… feel it. Folk that love what they do, feel valued by their employer and enjoy being around each other.

Yesterday it came together as I saw a level of commitment not usual in our environment. Every single person was going over and beyond. This is the 100 year legacy of Union Bank led by Emeka Emuwa (fondly known as EE by every single employee I met).

They are looking to partner with the private sector to raise a N100 Billion Naira war chest to go after the SDG goals. If they are successful (and I have no doubt they will), we are all going to be better off for it!!!

Above with Kelechi who did an amazing job on the Livestream. Cool cat and a joy to have on the FoH platform.

In the little time I spent with EE curating, I immediately saw the transformation. We do not have many Leaders but this CEO reminded me of Cedric Frederick who thaught me corporate leadership at Adepta over 11 years.

The celebrations are done now and already this morning I get the sense of a team that are not done. The Next 100 Call To Action is ambitious. And having seen the team behind it, I have no doubt they will give it their all. If they succeed, we all win. Because for the first time we have a private sector leader innovating change in the biggest and most ambitious way.

Above with Mrs Ngozichukwuka Akinyele, MVP. Project Manager with the most amazing organisational skills.

I am accepting the Union Bank Call To Action. You should too!!

Paddy Anigbo

CEO/MD, Diro Systems

#unionbankat100 #next100 #calltoaction #sdggoals

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