Gamaliel Offoritsenere Onosode, a Nigerian technocrat, administrator and a former presidential candidate is dead.
Onosode died at the age of 82 years.
He was educated at the Government College, Ughelli and the University of Ibadan, and emerged in the 1970s, as one of Nigeria’s leading educated chief executives, when he was at the helm of NAL merchant bank of Nigeria.
Over the years, he has risen to become a leading boardroom player in Nigeria’s corporate environment and was also a former presidential adviser to President Shagari and a former president of the Nigerian Institute of Management.
An Urhobo man, born and raised in Sapele, a suburban city in the current Delta State by a disciplined father, he sometimes credited the strict family background and practice as being a complementary factor in his success as a disciplined civil servant and corporate administrator.
Throughout his career, Onosode has chaired several private and public sector businesses and initiatives.
He was the Chairman of Dunlop Nigeria Plc (1984–2007), a former chairman of Cadbury Nigeria Plc (1977–93), the Presidential Commission on Parastatals (1981), Nigeria LNG Working Committee and Nigeria LNG Limited (1985–90) and the Niger Delta Environmental Survey (since 1995).
He is also the Chairman of Zain Nigeria, a GSM telecommunications company, the oldest GSM operator in Nigeria.
Onosode was Presidential Adviser on Budget Affairs and Director of Budget (1983). He is a Fellow of the Economic Development Institute of the World Bank, the Nigerian Institute of Management, of which he was President (1979–82). He is also a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, having been elected to membership of its Board of Fellows in 1998.
In addition, Onosode is immediate past and inaugural President of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, immediate past Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Uyo and immediate past and inaugural President & Chairman of Council of the Association of Pension Funds of Nigeria.
He is an Honorary Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters and holds Honorary D.Sc. degrees of Obafemi Awolowo University (1990), the University of Benin (1995), and the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (2003) as well as Honorary D.D. degree of The Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso (2002).
Onosode’s business career has waded through different sectors of the Nigerian economic environment.
Though, he was a part of a profligate democratic experiment which was the Nigerian Second Republic, Onosode tried to bring a disciplined approach to public finance.
Towards the end of 1983, when public confidence in the economic direction of the country was eroded and accountability was lacking in government subsidies to public enterprises, he was brought in to find solutions to the lackluster performance of public enterprises, as the head of a Nigerian Commission on public parastatals and to bring in a disciplined approach to government subsidies.
The offshoot of his honest and disciplined approach earned him respect from subsequent administrations. A report which was later tagged the Onosode report, an outgrowth of his role as the chairman of the commission to review Nigerian parastatals was the first in the nation to tackle comprehensively, the industrialisation drive and capital spending which dominated the oil boom of the 1970s and the early 1980s.
The report identified five major defects in planning which it believed had become evident by the end of 1983: Public capital expenditure rose during the oil boom at a much faster rate than Nigeria’s physical, technical or financial abilities.
Huge expenditure on particular industrial projects did not yield expected returns because of “inappropriate choices in their selection, size, design, location and management.”