ADDRESS BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR INSURANCE MR. O. S THOMAS
AT INVESTITURE CEREMONY OF MR. TOPE SMART AS THE 23RD
PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN INSURANCE ORGANISAITION (AIO) HELD
AT EKO HOTEL, LAGOS ON WEDNESDAY 8TH SEPTEMBER, 2021
I bring greetings from the Board, Management and Staff of the National Insurance
Commission. It is with all honour and humility I stand before you this evening after
what I believe to be a successful completion of the 47th African Insurance
Organisation Conference and General Assembly and also to witness the
investiture of Mr. Tope Smart as the newly elected President of African Insurance
Organisation. I must sincerely express my gratitude to God for the successful
hosting of this Conference.
Your Excellencies, the Nigerian insurance industry is still basking in the euphoria
of the presence and the message of support of His Excellency President
Muhammadu Buhari GCFR at this year’s AIO. The reason being the very first time
that any Nigerian President or Head of State will personally attend any program
of the insurance sector in Nigeria. We are not taking this for granted and we
remain grateful to His Excellency.
It is also of great joy for me and the Nigerian insurance market to have His
Excellency, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Professor
Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo SAN, GCON grace the Gala night of the 47th AIO
Conference. Your excellency, we remain grateful.
The presence at the 47th AIO Conference of the leadership of our nation including
the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Dr. Zainab
Shamsuna Ahmed and now at this Dinner the Executive Governor of Ondo State,
Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu SAN is an indication of a new dawn in
the insurance sector in Nigeria. The insurance sector in Nigeria and Africa will
leverage the counsel and support of the leadership to up its game and take its
rightful place as an instrument of intermediation.
I want to use this medium to congratulate as well thank the out-going President of
the AIO, entire Executive Committee and the Management for their stewardship, steadfast commitment piloting the affairs of the organisation in what can be said to be the most trying moments of this decade and indeed for giving us the opportunity to showcase our potentials to the African insurance market and
beyond. On behalf of all Nigerians, we must tell you we are grateful and we are
proud of the outings.
The founding fathers of the AIO had a very thoughtful foresight by making sure
we have this forum that has over these years had achieved tremendous success
in harmonising the African insurance markets and bringing together experts of
different insurance faculties annually to discuss burning issues affecting the
continent and the rest of the world. I believe the outcome of all our deliberations
in the last few days will go a long way in helping us thrive higher in achieving our
goals and objectives.
I want to say to the incoming President Mr. Tope Smart that the journey ahead
may not be all smooth especially due to aftermath effect of the COVID19
pandemic and the shapes of our economies across Africa presently. There is huge
task ahead of you and your team, but working with you over the years gives me
high confidence that you are equal to the task and I can vouch for your hard work,
resilience, foresight and determination. I am sure we are all going to be proud of
your tenure in the AIO. We will give the organisation necessary support it requires
as we have always done and in return we expect that Nigeria as a member is going to reap all benefits of its membership in the organisation in line with the new strategic objectives of the AIO.
It is worthy to say that the African insurance market is in dare need of serious
collaboration and synergy now than in other time in the past as we rightly agreed
here that we must look inward if truly we want to make an impact. Time has passed that we rely on foreign or international support from the west and other super powers as the world at large is overwhelmed by so many issues.
Developing the insurance markets across Africa is no longer a choice but a
necessity. Not only in Nigeria that there is huge growth potential in insurance but
is over Africa that we can unite and develop insurance business there is a lot our
governments will get economically.
The signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has
provided an avenue to foster unity and integration within the Africa region. It provides an avenue for achievement of a common market for goods and services;guaranteeing free movement of human resources, investment and technology.
But let me charge the new leadership of the AIO to cap it by vigorously persuade
the governments across the continent to play their roles in providing the necessary
support, creating an enabling environment for insurance activities to flourish,
continued lifting of border barriers making movement of resources almost
impossible, promote healthy competitions amongst member states and
promoting knowledge sharing across the continent among other objectives that
will make insurance business thrive within the African markets.
Let me charge the new leadership that by the year 2022 the AIO will celebrate its
Golden Jubilee (50 years) being established in 1972 which means you can also
write your achievements in gold for coming on board at this critical time. We
expect to see great stride and landmark achievements when your tenure is over
and the baton will change hands.
In conclusion, I will like to thank the entire organising committee for a job welldone. I urge member states, Management and staff of the AIO to give the incoming President the necessary support and encouragement he requires from
them in his tenure, I pledge the support of the Nigerian Insurance industry to your
success as President of the AIO. I wish the outgoing President, a Woman General
in time of war who has done extremely well a well deserved rest on the successful
completion of her tenure.
Mr. Tope Smart, I pray that God will give you the strength and wisdom to build on
existing legacies of the AIO and create new opportunities for the African insurance
market as you take over the leadership.
I wish you a successful tenure as President of the AIO.
O. S. Thomas
Commissioner for Insurance/ CEO