An address presented by Mr Chike Mokwunye, Group Managing Director, Royal Exchange Plc, at the 8th Royal Exchange leadership conference for secondary school prefects in Lagos

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Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen
All Prefects here present
Gentlemen of the press,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 8th Annual Leadership Conference for Secondary School Prefects in Lagos State, an event organized by the Foundation for Youth Empowerment and proudly supported by Royal Exchange Plc.
As the theme suggests – The Nigerian Youth in an Entrepreneurship focused economy – all of you gathered here today, are potential entrepreneurs, business leaders and the hope for a better tomorrow. You are all potential leaders of this great nation, Nigeria, who must be ready to step into the shoes of those leading today.
The leaders ruling today will not be here tomorrow and as prefects in your respective schools, you are being thrust into the limelight, with a hope of a better Nigeria, resting on your shoulders.
The question remains – how prepared are you for leadership?
Considering the evolutional stage of our nation, Nigeria, there is no better place to discuss the topic of “LEADERSHIP” than now. You have been placed in a position of leadership in your various schools and I believe that the authorities must have seen something unique before selecting you as prefects.
At the national level, it is often said Nigeria is blessed with abundant resources. All we need is to put the right leaders in place and we can begin the march towards national prosperity. All of you here represent the future of the nation. That is why we, at Royal Exchange, believe that any investment in the youth is an investment in the future of our nation.
‘Leadership’ is the process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. {Chemers (1997)}. Another in-depth definition of leadership states that leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen. {Alan Keith (2009)}
In both definitions there is the element of achieving something positive under the guidance of a change agent who must enjoy the respect and followership of others. So as prefects, your colleagues look up to you as a beacon of hope. As a leading light, each of you has been invested with a responsibility to do the right things and to point the way for others to follow.
It is however, important to note that leadership develops through hard work and careful observation. Therefore, effective leadership can result from innate talent given by nature as well as acquired skills nurtured by tutelage.
This conference, I believe is one of those initiatives designed to impact in you, the virtues of honesty, diligence, hard work and empathy. By empathy, I mean having consideration for others. You must be your brothers’ keeper and protect the weak at all times.
Furthermore, you must respect constituted authority such as government and the school authorities because it is their duty to regulate activities either in your school or in the larger society. No nation can grow or experience prosperity without stability. So I enjoin you today to continue to show exemplary conduct and to uphold high standards that will make you all good ambassadors of your school and the nation at large.
Royal Exchange Plc is Nigeria’s first insurance company, founded in 1921. After 94 years, we have since diversified into providing a wide spectrum of financial services which include general and healthcare insurance, life assurance, finance and asset management as well as microfinance banking. We are here today to identify with your aspiration as future leaders of this great nation because we believe in the potential of Nigerian youths to be the best in their chosen field of endeavour, be it sports, music, engineering or medicine. So whatever you do, remember that you all have a friend in Royal Exchange because we shall continue to support you in order to raise “TODAY’S YOUTHS AS TOMORROWS LEADERS “.
Let me use this opportunity to also commend the Lagos State Government for its continued massive investment in education which has seen the elaborate renovation of school infrastructure and sustained human capacity building of the staff and faculty. It is this focus on education that has attracted our company to offer support for the training of our future leaders.
I want to also thank the management of Foundation for Youth Education for partnering with Royal Exchange to bring about this conference which will transfer many valuable leadership skills and knowledge to school prefects in Lagos state. We strongly believe that leadership training at this youthful level will be most impactful as you step out of school into the bigger society.
So on behalf of the Staff and Management of Royal Exchange Group I say thank you and have a rewarding conference.

Chike Mokwunye
Group Managing Director,
Royal Exchange Plc
21st October, 2015

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