The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reversed the sack of Adesola Adeduntan as Managing Director of First Bank Nigeria Plc (FBN) while announcing a new board for FBN Holdings headed by Remi Babalola.
The sack comes 24 hours after the erstwhile board announced the retirement of Adeduntan as MD, with Gbenga Shobo named interim managing Director.
CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele announced the dissolution of the board at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, saying it did not follow regulatory approvals and that the board failed to heed to a query.
The Board of FBN on Wednesday announced the replacement of Dr Adeduntan, the erstwhile MD and was replaced by Gbenga Shobo, a DMD.
The bank also appointed Abdullahi Ibrahim as the Deputy Managing Director. Ini Ebong, Segun Alebiosu, Seyi Oyefeso and Bashirat Odunewu were also appointed as executive directors of the bank.
CBN during the briefing said despite all entreaties from the sacked board members to rescind their decisions, they refused.
Chairman of the First Bank Holding Company, Oba Otudeko was sacked alongside the Chairman of the Bank, Ibukun Awosika after previously querying them on Wednesday in a letter to the bank.
In the query letter signed by the CBN Director, Banking Supervision, Haruna Mustafa, the apex bank said the tenure of Adeduntan has yet to expire.
“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.”
Daily Trust reports that the CBN intervention helped the bank which was on lifeline since 2016, to work out its Non-Performing Loans (NPL) through provision for write off of at least N150 billion from its earnings for four consecutive years.
At the briefing, Emefiele said: “By our last assessment, FBN has over 31m customers, with a deposit base of N4.2 trillion, shareholders’ funds of N618 billion and NIBSS instant payment (NIP) processing capacity of 22% of the industry.”
He said it was imperative to protect the minority shareholders, and the protection of the over 31m customers who see FBN as a safe haven for their hard-earned savings.
CBN then announced the appointment of officials for the bank. For the First Bank Holding Company, it appointed Remi Babalola as Chairman; Dr. Fatade Abiodun Oluwole, Kofo Dosekun, Remi Lasaki, Dr Alimi Abdulrasaq, Ahmed Modibbo, Khalifa Imam, Sir Peter Aliogo as directors and UK Eke as Managing Director.
For the bank, Tunde Hassan-Odukale is Chairman; Tokunbo Martins, Uche Nwokedi, Adekunle Sonola, Isioma Ogodazi, Ebenezer Olufowose, Ishaya Elijah B. Dodo; Sola Adeduntan as Managing Director and Gbenga Shobo as Deputy Managing.
Remi Oni and Abdullahi Ibrahim are Executive Directors of the bank.
“There is therefore no cause for panic amongst the banking public, given that the actions being taken are meant to strengthen the bank and position it as a banking industry giant,” CBN said.
Remi, 56, who is taking over from Otudeko, was a Minister of State for Finance from July 26, 2007 to September 16, 2010 and resigned as minister under controversial circumstances in the wake of the furore generated by his claim that the NNPC was broke. Before he became minister, he was ED at First Bank.
The new first bank chairman, Hassan-Odukaleo who succeeds Awosika is the MD/CEO of Leadway Assurance Company Limited since January 01, 2020.