Hayford Alile: Honouring a Bourse Czar

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TRIBUTE

By Jason Okoro

On October 1, 2018 what many avid capital market players and watchers like myself never expected happened. The death of Apostle Hayford Alile was announced. The late Apostle Alile was the pioneer Director General of The Nigerian Stock Exchange from 1976 to 2000. He was also the first man to bid mother earth good bye amongst the privileged leaders who have helmed the affairs of the Lagos bourse since inception in 1960.

The Man, Hayford Alile

Apostle Alile was an avid philanthropist, erstwhile Director-General of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and Spiritual Leader of St. Joseph Chosen Church of God. He was a leading investment banker who in the last four decades made valuable contributions to national economic growth and public policy formulation.

Born on April 24, 1938, Apostle Alile was educated at Loyola College, Ibadan, for his secondary school education before proceeding to the then University College also in Ibadan for his first degree in Physics. Later, he proceeded to Howard University, USA, where he earned another degree. His thirst for knowledge and education seen insatiable as he enrolled at the Rutgers State University of New Jersey, USA, for a master’s degree in Business Administration.

Upon completion of his MBA, Apostle Alile was appointed the Assistant Director of the Rutgers University Entrepreneurial Development Center, New Jersey, and the Rutgers Minority Investment Company Incorporated. He served in these offices for about three years between 1969 and 1972. He moved on from the services of the university to the corporate world as Investment Adviser and Broker at Investors Diversified Services Incorporated in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, between 1972 and 1973.

Apostle Alile was a lover of sports. For 12 years, he was Trustee and Treasurer of the Nigerian Olympic Committee (NOC). Despite his busy schedule, he was very active in the Old Boys’ Association of his Alma Mater: Loyola College, Ibadan, where he served as the President for many years. He also served as President of the Harvard Business School Association of Nigeria.

He was a recipient of the Nigeria National Honours awards of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) and National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM). Apostle Alile was a life Member of Nigerian Economic Society, and was a Fellow of several professional bodies, including the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM), Institute of Directors (IOD) and Chartered Institute of Secretaries and Company Administrators.

His Professional Exploits

Apostle Alile was appointed the pioneer Director-General of the NSE, where he held sway for more than two decades, from 1976 to 2000. He was a leading investment analyst, economic and financial consultant and a boardroom guru of exceptional quality. Apostle Alile’s outstanding achievements at The Exchange include the physical movement of The Exchange’s operations to its current location in the hub of the Nigerian financial district; trading automation, which significantly improved international access to the Nigerian capital market; and the launch of the All Share Index (ASI).

Apostle Alile served on the board of the defunct Oceanic Bank and Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc. He was Chairman of the board of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, UTC Nigeria Plc and Unilever Nigeria Plc. He also served as a Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria between 1999 and 2005 upon leaving his position as DG of the NSE.

The deluge of tributes to this quintessential capital market guru affirms the impact he has had on many people and corporations.

In a press release released by NSE, the Chief Executive Officer, Oscar N. Onyema, eulogised Apostle Alile and reminisced how he constantly made himself available to The Exchange even in retirement. In his word, “Most recently, we remember his wise counsel and measured contributions during his meritorious service as a Member of The Exchange’s Membership Verification Panel, whose activities assisted the National Council in finalizing The Exchange’s Membership Register”.

He further said “Apostle Alile’s contributions to the capital market and organised private sector will continue to be referenced.He was indeed a visionary leader, whose foresight and impact on the operations of the NSE remains evident several years after the end of his tenure as director-general of The Exchange”.

In his tribute,  Abimbola Ogunbanjo, President, National Council of the NSE said, “Nigeria has lost one of its most patriotic and visionary corporate leaders. Apostle Alile was an outstanding authority on the stock market and its operations and he rightfully laid a solid foundation for The Nigerian Stock Exchange. As an Exchange, we shall remain grateful to him for providing the inspiring leadership required at the formative stage of the Exchange”.

President Muhammadu Buhari described the late Apostle Alile as a selfless person. According to a statement by President Muhammadu Buhari’s media aide Femi Adesina who commiserated with the family, he showed patriotism to the West African nation. “President Buhari believes the rich educational pedigree of Apostle Alile and his strong spiritual background were used for the benefit of the country, commending his sense of patriotism and national outlook in promoting peace, unity and setting up The Hayford Alile Foundation to cater for the poor”.

Celebration of Life & Times

In mourning his passing, the NSE observed a one-minute silence in his honour during the trading hours of Tuesday, October 2, 2018. It was gathered that on Wednesday, November 7, 2018, members of the Alile family that will possibly include his children and widow will have the honour of closing the trading for the day. The event, our source further revealed will commence at 1.30p.m with a reception of the family and will continue at the trading floor at about 2.00 p.m. The ceremony is expected to bring together, past and present Presidents of NSE, Doyens of stockbrokers and stakeholders who have had the privilege of knowing the late Alile more intimately. A bespoke lunch is planned for the guests attending to round off the event at the Exchange.

It will appear that the closing gong event by NSE is a fitting prelude to the farewell tribute and service of songs event that will be held at Harbour Point, Victoria Island, Lagos at 6:00pm on same November 7, 2018. This event will be an expanded opportunity for a wider audience from corporate Nigeria to pay their last respect to a man highly reputed for his integrity in the boardroom and prodigious financial market leadership.

Also in a statement released by the family via Dr. Clement Alile also listed a service of songs at St Joseph’s Chosen Church of God, a Church he headed for 20 years. A funeral service will be held at St Joseph’s Chosen Church of God followed by interment in his private residence, No 4, Eriale Street, Benin City.

Conclusion

The name Alile and his numerous achievements will continue to be mentioned in many boardroom and thought leadership fora. He is a bible on how contemporary leaders can emulate to raise the bar and build lasting institutions. At a time like this, Nigeria needs leaders who are selfless and inclusive in the achievement of growth and development. For the capital market, it is a huge loss of a man that can be easily adjudged the encyclopedia of the Nigerian Capital market. Rest on, Hayford Alile.

  • Jason Okoro, a public analyst, wrote from Lagos