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ON CORPORATE SOCIAL IRRESPONSIBILITY

By: Tope Adaramola
 Published December 2nd, 2010

Corporate business institutions all over the world have come to terms with the need to always give back to the society in which they operate for the sustenance of their growth and enhanced profitability. Corporate Social Responsibility has consequently become the hallmark of business success that cannot be underestimated. CSR as it is often referred to is a set of standards to which a company subscribes in order to make its positive impact on the society.

The evolution of CSR in Nigeria like some developing countries is particularly traceable to explorative industries such as oil, mining, or even manufacturing industries sponsor projects for their host communities to remedy the pernicious effect of their activities on the people and the environment. CSR provides a wide spectrum of packages meant to benefit host communities educationally, socially, culturally, etc. There are instances of multinationals who build roads, bridges, award scholarships to students in host communities, among other things. But with the passage of time, CSR has now become a buzz word utilised by some corporate profiteers not only for the purpose of maintaining social relationship equilibrium, but for marketing or sales promotion purposes.

Notwithstanding the benefits which the society could derive from thriving bisinesses, the extent to which some of these companies take their marketing promotions initiative is quite absurd and capable of jeopardising the long term ethical development of our nation.

It is a thing of regret that the media industry is a major culprit in this show of shame as they provide their platforms for such actions.

Almost all media houses have now been hijacked by these corporate bodies whose only concern is to promote “gambling” or “get rich quick” in the name of bonanzas,  musical shows, comedy and other light- hearted programmes that catches the fancy of most Nigerians, old and young alike. Under different entertainment shows, our youths are being orientated to think that all you need to excel is to be an actor, comedian, dancer or a “showman”. This made me to share the fears of an analyst who recently reviewed this shenanigan and concluded that if care was not taken our country would soon become a nation of mediocres and shallow-minded people.

Whilst this writer does not in any way undermine the benefits of entertainment and the need to provoke artistry particularly in the younger generation, a situation where these have now become the central focus by those companies leaves much to be desired. The professionals saddled with branding or corporate promotions needs to know that there are acceptable rules of moderation that are required of all corporate promotions and this must be adhered to strictly.

Granted that corporate business institutions are driven by profit motivation anchored on good mage and patronage, consideration should be given to long term national interest and ethical values. One is convinced that some of those companies with foreign origins are constrained by certain laws in their countries from such unbridled marketing drive. Wonder why they want to turn Nigeria into a theatre of absurdity!

It is time for appropriate government and regulatory authorities to rise up to the challenge of screening promotional content and strategies of companies to avert total erosion of the nation’s already shifting ethical and moral values. It is better and more acceptable for companies to encourage Nigerians, especially the younger generation in the area of educational and scientific development as obtained in upwardly mobile countries of the world. Responsible corporate citizens will surely see the need to focus on assisting in the upliftment of the content and value of the youth. Countries such as United Kingdom, Japan, Germany have moved to the realm of knowledge based economy relying heavily on intellectual resources and scientific development. This feat did not come by flight. It was achieved through the harmony of all forces, including business and government, to achieve the lofty goal. Nigeria operates within a global context and we must begin to think and work towards that direction.

 

Tope Adaramola

is a Public Affairs commentator based in Lagos.

24, Olamiko Street, Dopemu, Lagos




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