By Henry Umoru
THE atmosphere wasÂ yesterday mistaken for a burial ceremony as staff of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) wept profusely following the exit of the Registrar-General of the Commission, Ahmed Almustapha after putting in eight years.
This scene was unfolded as soon as the outgoing Bauchi State born Almustapha whose tenure ended June 27, 2009 addressed the Management and staff of the Commission. He had to leave on Friday against the backdrop that the date would be on Saturday, a non working day. He became the CAC boss June 2001.
The premises of the Corporate head office located in Maitama, Abuja was symbolic of a deserted village, the ever busy CAC was an opposite of its self, the staff were seen in group discussing the man they all described as a father who was there for them always.
Meanwhile, sources have it that the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Chief Achike Udenwa was recommending a woman to President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua to take over from him, just as the source said that a woman would be needed now against the backdrop of the present board of CAC, which has Jimoh Ibrahim as the Chairman to strike a balance.
The Outgoing Almustapha who disclosed that he was able to de-list 10,000 out of the about 400,000O companies, said to be dead or dormant, from the list of registered companies in Nigeria, urged the staff and the incoming management to build on the foundation he laid, adding that the achievements recorded were collective, just as he stressed that he was leaving behind a system that can drive itself.
Al-Mustapha who lamented the problem of power and illiteracy as part of the challenges he faced as the Registrar General, stressed that â€œbefore the final delisting, the Commission exhausted all the procedure by CAMA which include three notices and a serialized publication in various news papers in the countryâ€
According to him, there were oppositions while he tried to make some positive changes which brought the commission to the enviable position it is now occupying, adding, â€œIâ€™m leaving a system that is International Standard Organisation (ISO) compliant that can drive the Commission. Even if Iâ€™m here or not, by the grace of God things will continue to work and probably even better.â€
It would be recalled that CAC that Almustapha had said that â€œover 500,000 registered companies dating from 1912 since the colonial time. But from the time the companyâ€™s registry became independent in 1990 to date, around 280,000 companies have been registered. We register on the average, 300 companies a day. We have different types of companies. What we call Business Name is known in some countries as Sole Proprietorship.
Most of the accounting firms, law firms, some petty traders and petty contractors register themselves under Business Names because it is simpler, less cumbersome, less expensive and implies less documentation. Because of the advantages, many people go for that form of business registration. The disadvantage however, is that you donâ€™t have the legal protection afforded by law, as do the Limited Liability Companies. We have almost 1.5 million Business Names registered.
â€œBefore it was made independent, the Corporate Affairs Commission was a part of the Ministry of Commerce. In the year 1990, it was made an independent organisation. It is responsible for the registration, formation and regulation of the administration of companies generally including winding up of companies. We also offer other incorporation services like certified true copies of companiesâ€™ documents, registration or change of names, debentures and mortgages of all companies, etcâ€¦
â€œThe idea is that members of the general public should be able to conduct searches to know whether a company is healthy or not and know the current liabilities of the companies they are interested in. We also do other ancillary services like increase in share capital of companies starting from the formation and administration through the winding up of all companies in Nigeria .
The Outgoing Almustapha a graduate of law from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1978 with Bachelor of Laws, had worked with the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), responsible for insuring Banks Deposits where he became the Board Secretary and Legal Adviser with the NDIC before he was appointed the Registrar General at the CAC in June 2001.