TEK: a Leader and Legend bids the world final farewell
Taukeme Edwin Koroye (TEK), death drew the final curtain on your eventful life on
Saturday, November 18, 2017. It brought a painful end to your valued contributions
to corporate Nigeria, especially the Nigerian financial services sector and Accounting
profession, where your legacy of integrity, strength of character and professionalism
are aspired to by practitioners.
With these uncommon outstanding qualities, you soared to the pinnacle of your
career, and never allowed the ‘power of office’ to corrupt your values. Everyone who
met you attested to your brilliance, and acknowledged your huge contributions to the
vibrant sector at the heart of the nation’s economy.
TEK, our path first crossed at Access Bank, from where you retired as an Executive
Director in 2014. As one of the leaders in the Bank where ‘Generals’ lead the battle
from the front, you inspired a crop of new professionals and raised an army of a new
generation of business leaders, whose expertise today sustain the industry.
Again, we met at Nestoil when you came out of retirement to help with the ongoing
restructuring of the leading indigenous Engineering, Procurement, Construction and
Commissioning (EPCC) Company. In your assignment as Group Executive Director
(Finance and Operations), you brought fresh energy and passion to the organisation,
and built solid bridges across employee networks.
From Abuloma in Port Harcourt to Warri where the company has operational bases,
through Okija in Anambra State to Uyo in Akwa Ibom State, and projects sites across
the country, employees knew that a leader had arrived the organisation. You bonded
and connected with employees individually, and visited their work locations to
understand their daily challenges, just as you did as Executive Director, Operations
and Information Technology at Access Bank.
Our second meeting brought me closer to you because of shared experience and the
fact that my relationship with you improved after you had left Access Bank. Unlike
my initial closeness to you, which was inspired by my admiration of your use of
language (diction), often read from mails to staff and in memos and where I acquired
the expression ‘take a dim view of’, the second meeting provided access to
discovering your wonderful personality.
You were first a teacher of men, a leader of people, and then a legend as you helped
build institutions. TEK, like most men of substance, you shunned the limelight, and
allowed mankind to enjoy the value you brought to bear, instead of seeking personal
glory that inspires ordinary men.
For members of ‘Citi Bank Class of 1987’, most of whom have become business
leaders and accomplished in their own right, leaders like TEK are rare. His vision,
expressed in his model of how the Internal Control and Audit functions should run in
a Bank, conceived mid-career, although with several adaptations now, served as the
compass that guided many to their accomplishments, and revolutionized Anti-Fraud
frameworks of Banks.
If I expressly credited you with outright professionalization of the Internal Control and
Audit functions in the Nigerian banking sector, you would disagree because you
always recognized the contributions of other people. So, the visibility of your
influence on the career path and role as a forerunner, have reserved a revered place
for your name in the history of the profession.
Beyond your career, you had a genuine love for mankind and always expressed
concerns about crumbling social values and lack of infrastructure in our society. My
last discussion of these issues with you was upon my return from Bayelsa State,
particularly the Ijaw speaking parts. I recounted to you my experiences as I
journeyed through Bomadi and Burutu Local Governments in Delta State to
communities in Ekeremor Local Government in Bayelsa State.
Disconsolately, I vividly painted to you the pictures of neglect, deprivation and
hopelessness I saw on my visit to those communities. The dire conditions in these
villages forced me to admit that life is not truly fair, and its generosity does not come
without a price. I struggled to reconcile the level of indigence in the Ijaw speaking
communities I visited with the fact that the State is one of Nigeria’s largest Oil
Rather than being disturbed my account, you expressed familiarity with the situation
and regretted that your inability to change the situation of the people in the area. In
an emotion laden voice and your characteristic candour, you said “Segun that is
where I come from,
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