That the Group Chief Executive of Oando Plc, Adewale Tinubu started as a lawyer is not in doubt, nor is his reputation as one of the leading lights in the oil and gas business in contention. However, his advocacy role in gender equality is known to only a few.
In recent times, discourses on leadership and management with a special interest in gender diversity in leadership positions across organisations have been amplified across the globe. While the African continent comes third after the United States and Europe, and first amongst other emerging regions in terms of women representation in boardrooms of top listed companies, some sectors are doing better than others.
Interestingly, Tinubu is often referenced quite impressively during such discussions.
The billionaire businessman, in the past, had spoken in defence of women as well as the grudging refusal to empower women with leadership responsibilities.
As proof that he is walking the talk, Tinubu’s leadership at Oando is currently seeing a surge in the number of women at its top echelon. A review of Oando’s culture shows that it’s conscious of the imbalance within the sector; and as such has always prioritised two things: strengthening indigenous capacity and ensuring gender parity wherever possible. Today, 43 per cent of the company’s workforce is female, compared to 22 per cent across the industry. Of this, 33 per cent of executive-level employees are female, with the hope that its female representation on its board continues to grow.
A few weeks ago, the leading indigenous energy solutions provider appointed two seasoned professional women to its board of Directors: Mrs. Ronke Sokefun and Mrs. Nana Fatima Mede.
Sokefun, an alumnus of Oando, has over 35 years of work experience. In 2002, she moved to the Oando Group, where within a few years she rose to the position of Chief Legal Officer. During this period, she also sat on the Board of the telecom’s giant – Celtel/Zain (now Airtel) as an alternate Director. She served in this position until 2011 when she was called to the public service in Ogun State and proceeded to serve as a two-term commissioner holding diverse portfolios under Senator Ibikunle Amosun’s two-term administration as Ogun State Governor.
On the other hand, Mede has served as a Federal Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, where she coordinated the formulation of the Nigerian Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC).
No doubt, Tinubu is a shining star in the nation’s business climate. His business drive is worthy of emulation by entrepreneurs and prospects, especially in Nigeria’s inclement business environment. The Lagos State-born business magnate has represented everything good and progressive in business for many years.