Demise of Chief Oladipupo Bailey: Great loss to insurance industry, economy


Tributes, eulogies trail Chief Bailey’s death.

Chief Oladipupo Abiodun Bailey was Nigeria’s second commissioner for Insurance after the legendry Chief Eugene Okwor. Chief Bailey represented the face of Nigeria’s insurance industry against the backdrop of his many revolutionary and charismatic initiatives while in practice as an underwriter, insurance broker, risk manager, risk surveyor and regulator. Chief Bailey’s death early June stirred a whole lot of reactions and activities with many paying tribute to me as was captured by Champion Insurance.

Demise of Chief Oladipupo Bailey: Great loss to insurance industry, economy

By Tope Adaramola

Life is vain and the earlier we realise this as mortals the better. Like the flower of the grass we appear, blossom and then wither away. The news of the demise of former Commissioner for Insurance, Chief Oladipupo Bailey who is also the Managing Director of Shepherd Insurance Brokers Ltd came like a thunderbolt in the wind, particularly to the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers family. Up till the day of his death, Chief Bailey, who was one of the Elders of the broking family had indicated his intention to attend the CEOs Retreat of the Council coming up from June 13-15, 2019 in TCC, Ogere, Ogun State. In his usual friendly and resolute approach, he had contacted the organisers of the Retreat to book him and reserve a space for him at the retreat. Sure, he would have made an impressionable impact, inspite of his indisposition and age, with profound input into the subject matter of discourse and how to move the industry forward if he had attended. Alas, news filtered in that he had breathed his last! What is life afterall?

Space and time may not permit one to give an extensive insight into the life of a man who appeared controversial to some, a gadfly to some, but a friendly ally and proponent of progressive ideas to many. As Commissioner for Insurance, Chief Bailey’s tenure witnessed some progress based on his stoic belief in principles, inspite of the fact that many operators felt otherwise. This manifested in the several battles that the industry had with operators under his tenure as Commissioner for Insurance. For instance, the NIA and insurance companies would not forget in a hurry the recapitalization initiatives that saw many companies going under for a more solvent industry. The Underwriters Body would also not forget in a hurry his fight for insurance professionalism in the headship of insurance companies, leading to the ouster of some MDs who had no professional certificates and by so doing throwing up many who had the certification into headship of insurance companies. As an insider, I know the NIA would not forget the attempt of the deceased in enforcing principles on the and the controversial proper custodian of the uninsured motor accidents fund leading to bitter litigation.

NIA ingeniously used the money to buy its NIA House at 42, Saka Tinubu Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. A highly principled man, Chief Bailey believed that objectivity must be a virtue that must be upheld in any position one finds him or herself. The broking fraternity had some point had disagreement with NAICOM, especially on the NCRIB Act and the case had to go as far as the appeal court where the Council won. All these, Chief Bailey made all who cared to listen realise was nothing personal but meant to give us an orderly society. He later absolved himself seamlessly into the Council as a Broker after his tenure as Commissioner and contributed his part until he breathe his last. Definitely, Chief Bailey is a “generator of ideas” and a restless “intellectual inventor”. The founding of such institutions as Risk Managers Society of Nigeria (RIMSON), the Professional Excellence Foundation( PEFON), Abuja Jazz Club are to his ingenious creation. The Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria of which he was one time President would sorely miss his pioneering roles and initiatives.

He founded the now highly profiled Professionals Forum, the popular Miss Insurance Dance and several other initiatives. A deep thinker and prolific talker, there is no dull moment around him. He had the capability to regale his listeners with legendary tales and stories that would remain etched in their memories for a long time. This writer remembers his wise saying that “every man in life must keep aspiring to inspire before he expires”! He was highly seasoned and represented one of the dying testimonials of the Africa’s, nay Nigeria”s finest tradition of culture and native intelligence. Chief Bailey fought a great fight with grinding indisposition and he faced some vicissitudes common to great men towards the end of his life. But in all these, he never really allowed them to cast him down. This is an unassailable attribute of a great man of faith.

It is quite sad that with the demise of Chief Bailey, the firmament of our national economy, tradition and most importantly, the insurance industry has again been robbed of another iroko tree that would be quite difficult to replace for a long time to come. The President of our Council, Mr Shola Tinubu, FCIB, Governing Board and entire members rue his departure and use this medium to wish those the deceased left behind the fortitude to bear his painful exit. Adieu, the Grand Master!
Tope Adaramola is Assistant Executive secretary, Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB)

Oh Chief (Sir, Dr) ‘Dipo Bailey! Onye Ogadilimma!

By Paschal Emeka Egerue.

I am so pained and numbed. I visited him sometime ago with my entire family and he regaled us with lots of lovely stories including mentoring tales to my kids. Chief Bailey was(if we must use ‘was’) an indefatigable institution founder. He was a bridge builder who knew every practitioner by name. He earned his Igbo Chieftaincy title – Onye Ogadilimma because he was essentially a nice man. Very adroit, he believed in knowledge.

One of my articles in the papers he loved most was – The crises in Insurance practice published in the Champion newspaper of those days. The title of that article was taken from the inaugural lecture of my inimitable Professor and Dean at Nsukka – Late Prof Ikenna Nzimiro PhD, D.Phil who spoke on the crises in the social sciences exposing the value laden expositions of ethnocentric western social scientists. Chief Bailey had in search of knowledge went to do MBA at LASU as a successful elder.

I had asked him at a visit in his house why he undertook that ardous task when he had no more serious point to proof to any person. In his elements, he regaled me with the mathematics of dy and dx and got me overwhelmed. I am yet to see an orator that would match him. His anecdotes came effortlessly. He loved me as a son and relishes to introduce me as an insurance intellectual. He took me on with his grandiose insurance professional village project in his Ogun State even though the prognosis never gave us comfort about the viability of the project. Bailey was an incurable optimist and indeed was the foresighter of the insurance industry’s decision to site the college of insurance and financial studies in Ogun State. He was one of the earlier pioneers of oil and gas insurance practice at NICON and moved on to find his Shepherd insurance brokers. He also founded his insurance company – Presidential Insurance company ltd and was so heart broken but undaunted when the company’s head office, then at Investment House went up in smoke and burnt to pieces. Chief Bailey had a very serious commanding presence. He often created something out of nothing.
There was no doll moment with him.

At conferences, while elders slept, he will ensure that we, the restless young men of those days stay out awake and gist on almost everything till day break. It was the lacuna of what to do after hectic seminars which he tried to fill that gave rise to events like pillar night. Chief(Dr) Bailey was a strong family man. He perhaps died a few years ago when he lost the embrace of his first wife through a dastardly stroke that she suffered. It was never same after, no matter genuine efforts made. He served the insurance Industry with all his heart. He held his head very high even after the controversial circumstance that led to his exit at NAICOM. With the avalanche of sallacious stories of how people at his grade in government made a kill, I couldn’t believe it when at his thanksgiving in his house shortly after his tenure, everything I saw including the yam porridge we ate never betrayed even till to today somebody who abused office.

He was indeed a very great and brave man. His place in Nigerian insurance history is assured. The Insurance industry has done well honouring him while alive especially for founding the industry’s star Professional forum. The earlier feeble attempt by one young lad to write the Chief’s biography is certainly not enough. Something more need to be done to unveil the great man for the future generations of insurance practitioners.
I wish him a lovely journey and may his gentle, jovial, intelligent, wise and irrepressible soul rest in perfect peace. Amen.

Paschal Emeka Egerue, Fellow Chartered Insurance Institute of both London and Nigeria, Fellow, Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers is the former MD/CEO of Afribank Insurance Brokers

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