My First Bank journey: Ibukun Awosika speaks on CBN sack


Ibukun Awosika

Ibukun Awosika

By Abankula

Ibukun Awosika, who became the first female chairman of First Bank of Nigeria in 2016, has spoken on the sack of the board by the Central Bank of Nigeria and her tenure.

In an Instagram post titled, My FBN Group Journey, Ibukun said she always “acted in honour and integrity with the utmost interest of the institution”.

She also said she and the sacked board had brought “First Bank of Nigeria to a place where it is more than able to deliver utmost value to its stakeholders and the nation at large”.

Awosika’s board and the board of the bank’s holding company were all peremptorily sacked by the CBN on Thursday, to preserve the “the stability of the bank, so as to protect minority shareholders and depositors”.

The decisive action followed the announcement on Wednesday by Awosika of the appointment of Gbenga Shobo as the bank’s CEO, when Adeduntan still has eight months left to finish his tenure.

The CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele queried the boards for the appointment, without its regulatory approval.

The CBN also opened a can of worms about the bank, about insider loans, by board members that are not compliant with lending rules.

“The CBN’s recent target examination as at December 31, 2020 revealed that insider loans were materially non-compliant with restructuring terms (e.g. non-perfection of lien on shares/collateral arrangements) for over 3 years despite several regulatory reminders.

“The bank has not also divested its non-permissible holdings in non-financial entities in line with regulatory directives,” Emefiele said.

Awosika did not pointedly address the issues raised by the CBN for ousting her board, but fed her over 200,000 fans on Instagram, with positives on her 11-year journey with First Bank and its affiliates.

Read her statement:

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In October 2010, I was appointed to join the board of First bank of Nigeria.

A few months later, I was appointed to chair the board of its start up FBN Life Insurance Limited (a joint venture with Sanlam of South Africa). As its pioneer chairman, I had the privilege of working with a strong management team led by Val Ojumah.

Together with the rest of our team we built a company that became profitable in twenty four months and continues to be so.

In early 2013, I was moved from FBN Life Insurance Ltd, to assume the chairmanship of FBN Capital working with a brilliant team led by Kayode Akinkugbe as the Managing Director.

We worked hard to build the institution, bought Kakawa Discount House which I was again asked by the Group to Chair. We eventually merged the companies to create the FBN quest Merchant Bank Group, which I chaired until my appointment as Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria on January 1st 2016.

For over five years , I have worked with a dedicated team of board and management , with the support of Central Bank of Nigeria to rebuild and restructure the institution for its future. This included cleaning up non performing loans, establishing good operational governance systems and processes, building controls and an effective and robust risk management system.

I am confident we have brought First Bank of Nigeria to a place where it is more than able to deliver utmost value to its stakeholders and the nation at large.

As a board, we acted in what we clearly believed to be in the best interest of the bank and we had great plans and aspirations for where the bank could go to in its future, building on all the work that has already been done in the last five plus years.

Without a shadow of doubt, I will unequivocally state that I have always acted in honor and integrity with the utmost interest of the institution, all our stakeholders and the Nation.

Thank you.

Ibukun Awosika

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