The Chairman of Audit Committee Institute (ACI), Mr. Christian Ekeigwe, has called for the establishment of Akintola Williams University of Africa.
Ekeigwe who is a fellow of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA, Massachusetts), described Mr. Akintola Williams as the father of the accountancy profession in Nigeria, and Africa.
When established, he said, Akintola Williams University of Africa will be a constant reminder to all accountants in Nigeria and, indeed Africa, of the salient contributions of Akintola Williams to the accountancy profession in Nigeria and the whole of Africa.
Ekeigwe made the call in his ‘A Letter to my Profession III’ titled ‘A Pithy Call for Akintola Williams University of Africa – Generational Gratitude Matters.’
He said “Our benefactor, mentor, and doyen, sage and luminary, in the pantheon of accounting, the centenarian Pa Akintola Williams, exerted discretionary energy to grow the profession in our community, for the benefit of posterity …. For his forbearances we are beholden to him.”
Describing Williams as a “beauteous decoration of accounting and our civilisation,” he said Williams “lives his life affirming the promise of accounting, guarding financial truth, ensures that audited numbers remained inviolate, ensuring the sanctity of illocutionary audit opinion, and did not lead clients and society to trust the untrustworthy.”
He is a fine man of responsible prosperity who did not exploit, but rather healed, the vulnerabilities of society when he practiced accounting.
Ekeigwe stated that, unarguably, the best way accountants in Nigeria and Africa can say a befitting ‘thank you’ to Williams is to establish a university in his name, noting that the university will also contribute to his wish of leaving a legacy that honours the “promise of accounting” with true professionalism.
According to Ekeigwe, “The promise of accounting or accounting promise is the totality of what society expects from accounting and which the accounting profession has historically pursued to deliver”.
He stated that accounting promised society to be a faithful, steadfast gatekeeper that will bring certainty to stewardship accountability for Performance, Results and Efficiency.
Interestingly, he said, Williams, a phronimos, lives up to the promise of accounting and his life in accounting practice reassured investors that the sanctity of audited account numbers is inviolate and that the illocutionary force of the words of his opinion conferred certitude to “true and fair view” of the affairs of the entity as presented.
“The Akintola Williams University of Africa should also be a brand-new institution, not a remake or renaming of some ossified institution with superannuated infrastructure, malodorous culture; it should not be an ostensible educational institution but which exists only as a modern engine of credentialism. (And it will be diminishing to just name a Department of Accounting in a university or college or a building after him.) Such institution might be beset by aspecific hysteresis that defies forces of progress.”
Ekeigwe is genuinely and deeply worried for the future of the accounting profession in the country, as the current generation of accountants has evidently developed aliteracy, and is being taken by credentialism without true empowering education, but with “rush to solve,” hedonistic, instant gratification inclinations. He is particularly worried by the impact of technology addiction on the younger generation of accountants. According to him, technology addiction is diminishing the ability of the younger generation of accountants to prescind to thinking to be “informed, awake, alert and attending” to the duties of an auditor, adding that the younger generation wish that artificial intelligence would automate thinking. He pointed out that “in their aliteracy the younger generation no longer love reading tomes of printed books containing the wisdom of our profession (despite their being full of intellectual promise).” According to him, traumatized and occupied by the distractions of information overload, the younger generation prefer online summaries of someone’s thoughts. He described this as a big learning disability, maintaining that the younger generation needs to be made to see it as such.
Ekeigwe acknowledged the fact that the world stage that accountants of the future will serve will be more feral than during Pa Williams’ years in practice. He therefore advised that in addition to being disciplined, the accountants and auditors of the future must be indomitable and stolid in character, assured of responsible prosperity, in order to strongly contend with indurate Dark Triad “snakes in suits” found in boardrooms who have the audacity to dupe auditors.
He however noted that Akintola Williams & Co. was presciently ahead of others in training accountants of the future. He explained that “It is for this reason, among others, that I believe that a prepotent Akintola Williams University of Africa, riffing on the model of Pa Williams and his partners, and certainly on the experience of other accountants, will contribute to the great future of the profession in Africa by training accountants in a way that restores society’s reliance on the original condition in the audit compact with the accounting profession”.