In the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of the Nigerian business world, effective board governance is a cornerstone for sustainable growth and success. A crucial player in this framework is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who holds the responsibility of not only steering the company toward its goals but also ensuring that the board of directors operates efficiently. In this article, we will delve into the pivotal role of CEOs in ensuring good governance, maintaining transparency, and building a strong board of directors in Nigeria.

The Role of the CEO in Board Governance

  • Setting the Tone at the Top

A CEO’s leadership style and ethical behavior significantly influence the organizational culture. By demonstrating a commitment to integrity and ethical conduct, CEOs set the tone for the entire organization, including the board. This commitment to ethical standards is essential in a country where business ethics are under constant scrutiny.

Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018, Section 2.4.1 – “The board should set the ethical tone for the company.”

  • Effective Communication

Transparent and open communication between the CEO and the board is essential. CEOs should ensure that the board is well-informed about the company’s strategic direction, financial performance, and any significant risks or opportunities. Effective communication fosters trust and alignment between the CEO and the board.

Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018, Section 5.1.1 – “The board should have access to accurate, relevant, and timely information.”

  • Strategic Leadership

The CEO plays a crucial role in formulating and executing the company’s strategy. By actively involving the board in strategic discussions and seeking their input, CEOs can harness the collective wisdom and experience of the board members, leading to better-informed decisions.

Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018, Section 4.2.2 – “The board should contribute to the development of the company’s strategy.”

Building a Strong Board of Directors

  • Diversity and Independence

A strong board comprises diverse members with a range of skills and experiences. CEOs should work to ensure that the board is not only diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, and age but also independent of any undue influence. Independent directors can provide unbiased insights and act in the best interests of shareholders.

Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018, Section 3.0 – “The board should have an appropriate mix of executive and non-executive directors.”

  • Regular Board Evaluations

CEOs should promote regular evaluations of board performance. This process helps identify areas for improvement, enhances accountability, and ensures that the board remains effective in its oversight role.

Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018, Section 6.3 – “The board should conduct regular performance evaluations.”

  • Adherence to Corporate Governance Codes

CEOs should ensure that the company adheres to relevant corporate governance codes, such as the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance. This demonstrates a commitment to best practices and can enhance the company’s reputation among stakeholders.

Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018, Preamble – “Companies are expected to comply with this Code.”



Effective board governance is paramount for the success and sustainability of Nigerian businesses. CEOs play a pivotal role in fostering good governance by setting the ethical tone, maintaining transparent communication, and building a strong and diverse board of directors. By adhering to best practices and the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance, CEOs can contribute to the growth and prosperity of their companies while upholding the highest standards of corporate governance.

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