Mabogunje takes over as LCCI President, commits to service of Chamber

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It was glitz and glamour at the weekend as the newly elected President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mrs. Toki Mabogunje was inaugurated as President of the Chamber for next two years.

In her acceptance speech, Mrs. Mabogunje while describing the day as another milestone in the history of the Chamber, also described the even as an auspicious moment for her as the 3rd woman in 131 years to become the President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

While appreciating God and the distinguished members of LCCI for considering her worthy of becoming their President, she noted that “It is both an honour and a challenge which I accept with the utmost humility and a deep sense of responsibility.”

She continued, “I pledge to continue to dedicate myself to the service of the LCCI, to ensure that the Chamber retains its foremost position as a leading private sector advocacy organisation in Nigeria and the flagship of the Chamber of Commerce movement in the country.  We belong to the exclusive club of organisations in Nigeria that are over 100 years old and ours is a legacy brand. As I receive the mantle of leadership of the Chamber, I do not take this responsibility lightly. Effectiveness, performance and sustainability will be my watch words as we adapt to the demands of the 21st century business environment and the 4th industrial revolution.

“My journey at the LCCI began with the decision to establish a business development consulting firm. It is said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Sometimes you are lucky to have a cheerleader and motivator for that first step. Barely 6 years into my membership of the LCCI, Past President Dr. Herbert Ademola Ajayi approached me, seeking to infuse the Council with younger active members. He co-opted me to Council and this introduced me quite early to the governance of our great Chamber.

Following the successful implementation of a number of innovative programmes which I designed, Past President Otunba Femi Deru, proposed my nomination as a Vice-President in the Executive Committee in 2011. A few years later, sequel to my leadership of the turn-around of the Business Education, Services and Training unit (BEST) as well as the rapid growth in the membership of the LCCI, Past President Chief (Dr.) Mrs. Nike Akande (CON), supported my nomination and subsequent election to the position of Deputy President of the LCCI. This put me on track to succeeding today as President of the LCCI and I must reiterate the 3rd woman in 131 years and the youngest woman ever.”

The new LCCI President maintained that the private sector was pivotal to the transformation of the Nigerian economy say “we need the private sector to create wealth from which the government can generate revenue; we need the private sector to generate employment to minimize the problem of unemployment, poverty and insecurity in our society; we need a virile private sector which will make our country a respected member of the comity of nations.”

She observed that at the LCCI, they would sustain the momentum of their advocacy to foster a conducive environment for the private sector to thrive while urging all who represent businesses who were yet to join the LCCI to come and lend their voice to others.

“Our advocacy seeks to ensure that the business community is able to have its voice heard on issues that are important to it. We defend and safeguard your rights. Your views and wishes will be genuinely considered when decisions are being made about the business environment.  We will continue to work in close collaboration with our partners – the Lagos State Government and its agencies; the Federal Government and its Agencies; other state governments; development partners, diplomatic community, the Media and other stakeholders.  We will ensure that our advocacy achieves the right level of effectiveness which will be measured by the response of various tiers of Government to our proposals on policy direction in the interest of the organized private sector”, she stated.

Mrs. Mabogunje appreciated the immediate past President of LCCI, Mr. Babatunde Paul Ruwase who she referred to as having served the Lagos Chamber with profound dedication, commitment and passion adding that “he did what he felt was right, always following his heart, never holding back, doing what he knew needed to be done.”

“I was truly blessed to serve as his Deputy. Past President Babatunde Paul Ruwase FCA has left indelible marks in the Chamber’s history and we will continue to build on his worthy legacies.  As he joins the league of our revered Past Presidents, he has promised his continued support. We will continue to reach out to him from time to time to benefit from his wealth of experience. On behalf of the Council and members of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, I wish to congratulate him for a very successful tenure of office and to express our appreciation for his immense contributions to the development of the Lagos Chamber”, she added.

Earlier in his welcome address, the outgone President of LCCI, Mr. Ruwase stated that LCCI had continued to maintain its leadership position in the organized private sector adding that it was striking strategic partnership with similar private sector (OPS), relevant government institutions and international organizations to promote and protect the interest of the Nigerian business community.

He pointed out that successive administrations in the Chamber had continued to build on the legacies of their predecessors which according to him were the secret of the progress and stability they had achieved over the past 131 years.

“We give the almighty God the glory; we also give thanks to the founding fathers for the achievements. Let me specially appreciate and recognize our Board of Trustees and Honorary Vice Presidents for their remarkable contributions to development of our Chamber. They have made tremendous sacrifices of their time and resources to nurture and sustain our Chamber over the years. I thank our BoT members and Honorary Vice Presidents most sincerely.

“This investiture dinner is to celebrate the new LCCI President, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje and other elected officers of our Chamber. It is also to give gratitude to God almighty for the achievements we have made over the years. This is an occasion to appreciate all members of our Chamber, our officers, Council members, our friends and partners and the generality of the Chamber membership. This dinner offers a platform for networking with allies in the public and private sector, the diplomatic community and development partners.

“As a Chamber, we remain committed to the transformation and diversification of the economy; we believe that the private sector is better placed to create wealth from which the government will generate revenue. We need the private sector to generate employment, to mitigate the problem of unemployment, poverty and insecurity in the country. We need a strong private sector to make our country s respected member of the comity of nations”, he said.

Highlights of the investiture dinner were the inauguration of the new LCCI President, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, goodwill messages from dignitaries to the event including the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatund Olusola Sanwo-Olu who was represented at the event, award presentations, musical interludes and so much more.

Photo: New LCCI President, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje.

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