WHO’S THE STOCKBROKERS’ PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE?

   Stockbrokers prefer a president who has the will and capacity to reposition the economy, writes Sola Oni

GOD, give us men! A time like these demands. Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands; men whom lust of office does not kill; men whom spoils of office cannot buy; Men who possess opinion and a will; men who have honour ; men who will not lie; Men who can stand before a demagogue and damn his treacherous  flatteries without winking! Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog in public duty, and in private thinking – Josiah Gilbert Holland

The Annual Stockbrokers’ Conference and inauguration of a new President of Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers  (CIS) are two of the major activities of the Institute. These high-profile events attract who’s who in the political and economic space, locally and internationally. The events provide major avenues to critique the current state of the economy and set a road map for the federal government on how to take advantage of the capital market to finance the economy.

On Wednesday, September 7, 2023, the Institute shall commence its 2022 Conference, scheduled for Benin city, the Edo State Capital to Friday, September 9 with a compelling Theme: “ Capital Market and Agricultural Development in Nigeria: Issues and the Way Forward ‘’. The choice of Benin is symbolic as this may not have been possible without the physical and spiritual support of the Executive Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, a frontline stockbroker. This is a wake-up call to other state governments to align with the Institute at this period of dire need to salvage the Nigerian economy.  Obaseki understands the widening gap between the federal government’s economic policy and utilization of the capital market. He is uncomfortable with the ongoing use of Ways and Means to finance the economy by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He knows that relying on printing of currencies to finance the economy is the fastest means to nurture hyperinflation and reduce the value of the Naira to a worthless paper. Nigeria’s  debt servicing figure has become an

albatross, yet the government is playing with theoretical ratios to defend the monster. This is causing a great damage to our economy. Obaseki once lamented the implications of sharing money monthly in Abuja by all state governors at the expense of growing the economy through creative means. But he was a lone voice in the wilderness. His view was immediately debunked with untenable response from the federal government. 

The current ray of hope is that the  eminent facilitators at the Benin Conference shall speak to the theme by addressing the following critical issues: Commodities Exchanges and Agricultural Development in Nigeria;  the Cost of food importation with the adverse effects on forex earnings; harnessing technology to drive innovation and growth in the capital market, financial inclusion and capital market literacy in Nigeria and market regulation in the digital age, among others. I hope the federal government through the Ministry of Finance shall for once set a record by  implementing the communique of the Conference to the letters. This will be a quantum leap towards revamping the Nigerian fragile economy.

In the Institute’s 30-year of robust operation, one of its most engaging investitures was that of 2016, when the  unassuming Oluwaseyi Abe, was sworn-in as the President. Perhaps by coincidence or providence, the flagbearers of the top three political  parties for 2023 presidential election: Atiku Abubakar (PDP), Bola Tinubu (APC) and Peter Obi (LP) were the topmost guests.  Each of them explained what could be done to salvage the economy, unknown to everyone that the economy  will continue to shrink. Six years after, each of them is busy engaging various stakeholders to ensure victory for his party in the forthcoming 2023 election.  

Stockbrokers are multidimensional professionals that have something in common – the need to ensure accelerated growth and development of the economy on sustainable basis. They need this because securities markets are derivatives of the economy, and this explains why the market is regarded as the barometer that gauges the mood of the economy.

As certified investment advisers and portfolio managers, stockbrokers need economic stability to predict the future of investment. Optimism to win the presidential election next year is running high among the three top contenders. They are preparing for presidential campaign. Horse- trading is the order of the day at every party. Each party will begin to engage the electorate with manifestoes. Every manifestoes has a tinge of black box as nobody can say with certainty the extent to which the winner shall be faithful in its implementation. 

As for Chartered institute of Stockbrokers, there is no single political party for all its members for 2023 presidential election. It’s a game of international politics – no permanent enemy, no permanent friend but permanent interest. Stockbrokers have largely suffered untold hardship due to mismanagement of the economy. For 2023 Presidential hopeful, stockbrokers  are interested in a turnaround manager. At the minimum, stockbrokers prefer a President who has the will and capacity to reposition the economy. They need a leader, imbued with the skills, competencies, and brand equity to excel, and make history.

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Oni, an Integrated Communications Strategist, Chartered Stockbroker and Commodities Broker, is the Chief Executive Officer, Sofunix Investment and Communications

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