•Says Bank Under Forbearance, Liquidity Support Can’t Remove Helmsman Without Approval
•Shareholders Weigh Options, Otudeko, Odukake And Adenuga In Battle For Conntrol
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday queried the board of First Bank Nigeria Limited over the removal of the Managing Director/Chief Executive of the bank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, saying the action was without regulatory approval.
The apex bank said the board’s move has “dire implications for the bank and also portends significant risks to the stability of the financial system.”
The central bank stated this in a letter dated April 28, 2021, signed by its Director, Banking Supervision, Mr. Haruna Mustafa, and addressed to the bank’s Chairman, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, a copy of which was obtained by THISDAY.
CBN also demanded a comprehensive response on the matter from Awosika to be delivered to the banking sector regulator latest 5pm today.
The Board of Directors of First Bank had earlier yesterday announced the appointment of Mr. Gbenga Shobo as the new Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
But in a swift reaction, the CBN noted with concern that the action was taken without due consultation with the regulatory authorities, especially given the systemic importance of First Bank as well as given that the tenure of Adeduntan was yet to expire.
“The CBN was not made aware of any report from the board indicting the Managing Director of any wrong-doing or misconduct; there appears to be no apparent justification for the precipitate removal.
“We are particularly concerned because the action is coming at a time the CBN has provided various regulatory forbearances and liquidity support to reposition the bank, which has enhanced its asset quality, capital adequacy and liquidity ratios amongst other prudential indicators.
“It is also curious to observe that the sudden removal of the MD/CEO was done about eight months to the expiry of his second tenure, which is due on December 31, 2021.”
According to the central bank, the removal of a sitting MD/CEO of a systemically important bank, “that has been under regulatory forbearance for five to six years without prior consultation and justifiable basis,” has dire implications for the bank and also portends significant risks to the stability of the financial system.
“In light of the foregoing, you are required to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against the Board for hastily removing the MD/CEO and failing to give prior notice to the CBN before announcing the management change in the media.
“In the meantime, you are directed to desist forthwith from making any further public/media comments on the matter. Your comprehensive response on the foregoing should reach the Director, Banking Supervision Department on or before 5pm on April 29, 2021,” it added.
Meanwhile, the banking sector regulator in another letter also signed by Mustafa, titled: “Re: Audited FIRS Accounts for the Financial Year Ended December 31, 2020,” revealed that the bank was yet to divest its interest in HoneyWell Flour Mills, Barti Airtel and other non-permissible interest.
The Chairman of FBN Holdings, the holding company of First Bank Nigeria Limited, Oba Otudeko is also the Chairman of Honey Well. He used to be the Chairman of Barti Airtel.
However, the CBN in the letter stated: “We are concerned that the bank has not complied with regulatory directives to divest its interest in Honey Well Flour Mills despite several reminders. We further noted that after four years the bank is yet to perfect its lien on the shares of Mr. Oba Otudeko in FBN Holdco, which collateralised the restructured credit facilities for Honey Well Flour Mills contrary to the conditions precedent for the restructuring of the company’s credit facility.
“Given the bank’s failure to perfect the pledge and satisfy conditions for regulatory approval, the restructuring has thus been invalidated and the credit facilities now payable immediately.”
Consequently, the central bank has requested that HoneyWell, “ fully repays its obligations to the bank within 48 hours failing which the CBN will take appropriate regulatory measures against the insider borrower and the bank.”
It added: “Furthermore, the Bank notes the untenable delay in resolving the long outstanding divestment from Bharti Airtel Nigeria Ltd in line with extant regulations of the CBN.
“Accordingly, you are required to divest the equity investments in all non-permissible entities such as Honey Well Flour Mills and Bharti Airtel Nigeria Limited within 90 days. Please you are to forward evidence of compliance in accordance with the timelines above to the Director of Banking Supervision.”
The Board of Directors of First Bank had earlier yesterday announced that the appointment of Shobo as its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) took immediate effect.
Shobo was the bank’s Deputy Managing Director.
According to a statement, the appointment was subject to regulatory approval.
Also appointed was Abdullahi Ibrahim as Deputy Managing Director, while Mr. Ini Ebong, Mr. Segun Alebiosu, Mr. Seyi Oyefeso and Mrs. Bashirat Odunewu, were appointed Executive Directors.
Similarly, their appointments are also subject to regulatory approvals.
Commenting on the appointments, the Chairman, First Bank, Awosika said: “We are proud to announce Gbenga Shobo as our new MD/CEO. His appointment has proven the resilience of our succession planning mechanisms and the value we place on our long-standing corporate governance practices, which underpins the institution’s enduring sustainability and the 127-year legacy”.
The statement explained that Shobo has had a successful career in the bank and elsewhere, culminating in his appointment as Deputy Managing Director.
But all that may now be put on hold as a major boardroom manoeuvre appears to be at play among the three dominant shareholding groups, who are now weighing their options.
Otudeko and his allies with 10 per cent shareholding might be up against an emerging alliance between Oye Odukake (10 per cent) and Mike Adenuga (6 per cent).
Odukale and Adenuga, who THISDAY learnt might have teamed up last night, are pushing for the return of the ousted CEO with the ultimate aim of sacking the board presently controlled by Otudeko.
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UBA Announces New Group Managing Director And Executive Board Appointments
United Bank for Africa has announced the appointment of Oliver Alawuba as the new group managing director as it named four others as executive directors on its board. The appointment is subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Alabuwa’s appointment which became effective on Monday, August 1, 2022 will see him overseeing all the Group’s banking operations across its twenty African country network and globally in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France, and the United Arab Emirates.
The bank also announced the appointment of Muyiwa Akinyemi, as deputy managing director, Sola Yomi-Ajayi, executive director, Treasury and International Banking, Ugochukwu Nwagodoh, executive director, Finance and Risk Management,Mr. Alex Alozie, Executive Director and Group Chief Operating Officer and Ms. Emem Usoro, Executive Director, North Bank.
Oliver Alawuba who replaces Kennedy Uzoka joined UBA in 1997 and has held a series of senior positions, including as the chief executive of UBA Ghana, the chief executive of UBA, Africa and most recently, as group deputy managing director.
UBA group chairman, Tony Elumelu, stated ‘I am very pleased to announce Oliver Alawuba as the new group managing director of the UBA Group. Oliver has extensive experience in Nigeria and our African network and is well equipped to advance our pan-African and global strategy.
“I have no doubt that Oliver will build on the legacy of Kennedy Uzoka, who has exemplified transformational leadership by championing a customer-first philosophy; launching our twentieth operation in Africa, UBA Mali; acquiring a wholesale banking licence for UBA UK in the United Kingdom; and opening our fourth global operation, UBA Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates”.
Alawuba, on his part expressed his commitment to his new role as group managing director saying “I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this great institution and would like to thank the UBA group chairman and the members of the board of directors for the confidence they have put in me to deliver the mandate.”
The newly appointed DMD, Akinyemi, joined UBA in 1998, as a senior banking officer in UBA’s Energy Bank, and has served the Group in Nigeria and our broader Africa network for 24 years.
Also, executive director, Treasury and International Banking, Yomi-Ajayi, has been with the Group since 2004 and has considerable international experience, culminating in her appointment as CEO of UBA America.
Nwagodoh, who was appointed executive director, Finance and Risk Management, joined the Group from PwC in October 2004. He has since held a series of significant roles in the areas of performance management, compliance, financial control and reporting.
The new executive director and group chief operating officer, Alozie, who joined the Group in 2019 and has driven the Group’s digital transformation and operational efficiencies.
Emem Usoro, the executive director, North Bank, joined the Group in 2011 and has served in a series of senior regional appointments across Nigeria, covering the retail, corporate and public sectors.
The board also announced the retirement of the following executive directors, who have completed their tenor, many of whom will continue to serve the broader Group upon regulatory approval of a holding company structure. They are the outgone GMD, Kennedy Uzoka, Uche Ike, Chukwuma Nweke, Ibrahim Puri and Chiugo Ndubisi
A further announcement was made on the retirement of a non-executive director, Ambassador Joe Keshi, who served as vice chairman of the board. This takes effect from August 1, 2022 after a completion of his tenure of 12 years.
The group chairman congratulated the retiring directors on the completion of their tenors and their exemplary records.
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Senate Summons CBN Governor Emefiele Over Naira Depreciation
The Senate has summoned the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, over the depreciation of the naira.
Reports revealed a United States dollar is exchanged to N658 in a parallel market on Wednesday.
The depreciation of the currency fuelled the lawmakers’ decision to invite the CBN governor following a motion by Olubunmi Adetunmbi, senator representing Ekiti north.
Contributing to the debate, Sani Musa, senator representing Niger east, said the naira would appreciate only if the country become a productive one.
“Let’s eat what we have; let’s do with what we have. Naira will continue to appreciate until we start manufacturing,” Musa said.
On her part, Biodun Olujimi, senator representing Ekiti south, accused the CBN of not taking responsibility which has led to the crash of naira.
“Someone should be able to say I have failed, and that is the CBN,” Olujimi said.
“Most of what is happening is because people are taking out the dollar and selling and bringing them back in — we should be penalising somebody for what has happened to the naira-dollar rate.”
“The time has come for us to look holistically into what is happening. What is happening to the dollar is a replica of what is happening to Nigeria.”
The Red Chamber asked the apex bank to stop the express deterioration of the value of the naira.
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Access Bank To Support Education With $1.7m Raised At 2022 UK Charity Polo Tournament
Seeking to improve the state of education in Nigeria, Access Bank has raised $1.7 million at its Charity Polo Tournament held at The Guards Polo Club, Egham, Surrey, United Kingdom on Saturday, 16 July 2022.
The money, the Bank confirms, will be directed towards the building and equipping of over 100 classroom blocks in the less developed areas of Nigeria.
These donations, according to the Group Managing Director of Access Corporation, Herbert Wigwe, “Serve as building blocks towards achieving a brighter future for the country, while challenging the various state governments to take sustainable actions towards ensuring all boys and girls complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education.”
“We thank all attendees and donors for buying into our vision and assure that Access Bank will not relent in its efforts to see that every Nigerian child regardless of tribe, gender and religion is given a fair chance for a better tomorrow.”
Roosevelt Ogbonna, Managing Director of Access Bank, also added that the polo event remained the greatest investment towards ensuring a great future for the vulnerable Nigerian child.
The Polo tournament, which is executed in partnership with Fifth Chukker and UNICEF, in Kaduna, South Africa and the UK has been an extension of Access Bank’s efforts to support anti-poverty and anti-HIV/AIDS campaigns in Nigeria.
This is the first edition of the UK-based tournament to be held since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2,098 total views, 25 views today
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