Dr. Christopher Kolade CON Homecoming Dinner 2007


Your Excellency, Dr. Christopher Kolade,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening and welcome to this special dinner in honour of our own  Dr. Christopher Kolade’s homecoming after a purposeful and fruitful five-year stint as Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

I stand before you with a tremendous sense of pride and privilege.  Pride because the person, character and achievements of Dr. Christopher Kolade inspire a great deal of pride in me and I’m sure in all of us gathered here as well as millions of Nigerians. And privilege because I consider it an immense honour to be part of this unique opportunity to welcome one of Nigeria’s most illustrious sons and worthy ambassadors.  I am truly excited, honoured and proud to be at this gathering. And I speak for MTN Nigeria in saying that we as an organisation are delighted to be part of this event organised by the Convention on Business Integrity (CBI) to welcome Dr. Kolade back home.

MTN’s association with and membership of the CBI is one that is based on a mutual philosophy.  MTN and CBI share a common conviction that sound business ethics and good corporate governance are crucial to business and national development.  Despite the challenges of upholding this conviction in our environment, we are committed to entrenching ethical practices and high standards of corporate conduct in Nigeria. We also share in the privilege of being at the receiving end of Dr. Kolade’s support and patronage of the causes for which both the MTN Foundation and the Convention for Business Integrity were instituted. And by tonight’s event, we are again in concert as we seek to celebrate yet another ‘notch to Dr. Kolade’s belt’.

My address would be incomplete without a brief account of this remarkable individual that we have gathered here to honour. I am certain that I am only reinforcing what many of us already know of Dr. Kolade as a change agent, a man of integrity, a visionary, a communicator, a teacher and a true leader. Certainly, the many appointments he has taken are a concise explanation, without going into details, of what is meant by the descriptions I have just given. Dr. Kolade is indeed a change agent through his support for the MTN Foundation’s initiatives that are targeted at improving the quality of life in Nigeria. He is a man of integrity through his chairmanship of CBI.   A visionary, clearly seen through his stint as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, which was based on an unwavering belief in Nigeria and Nigerians. A communicator, having been director general of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation. A teacher, having served as a facilitator at the Lagos Business School. And a true leader as exemplified by 24 years of varying leadership positions of the manufacturing giant – Cadbury Nigeria Ltd.

While it is not possible for me to do full justice to Dr. Kolade’s vision, leadership and excellence in the time that is available for this welcome address, it was however fitting that I touched on these briefly as I have just done. From this very brief mention of his diverse roles in various fields of endeavour, you will agree with me that Dr. Kolade has hit all the high notes in terms of reaching the pinnacles of all the fields within which he has served.

As we gather today to applaud him, let us also truly honour him by emulating his rich and enduring legacy of dedicated stewardship, commitment to the growth of Nigeria’s economy, support for developing society and improving quality of life and enhancement of Nigeria’s reputation at home and abroad.

Sir, today we speak for millions of Nigerians in saying that we are justifiably proud of your admirable achievements in all these areas and thank you for being such a national asset.  We are confident that the future ahead will still see you being further recognised for continued distinction in society and profound impact on millions of lives.

Welcome home Sir and I warmly welcome everyone to this event, and wish you a memorable evening.  Enjoy it.

Thank you and God bless.

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