Why We Sacked First Bank Directors – CBN

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Why We Sacked First Bank Directors – CBN
Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has said that its decision to sack all the directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited and First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc was in order to preserve the stability of the bank so as to protect minority shareholders and depositors.

The apex bank had on Thursday fired all the directors and appointed new persons to fill the void.

The sack was announced by governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, at a press briefing in Abuja, Punch reports.

Emefiele said the decision was taken by the management of CBN, the apex regulator of Nigeria’s financial sector, following the query which the CBN had earlier issued the Board of First Bank for removing Adesola Adeduntan as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, without regulatory approval.

He said, “Following further review of the situation and in order to preserve the stability of the bank so as to protect minority shareholders and depositors, the management of the CBN, in line with powers conferred on it by the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 2020, has approved and hereby directs as follows:

“The immediate removal of all the directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited and First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc.”

Subsequently, Emefiele announced the appointment of new directors in FBN Ltd and FBN Holdings Plc.

The CBN governor listed the new directors of the holding company to include Remi Babalola, as chairman and UK Eke as managing director.

Among the directors are – Dr Fatade Oluwole, Kofo Dosekun, Remi Lasaki, Dr. Alimi Abdulrasaq, Ahmed Modibbo, Khalifa Imam, and Peter Aliogo.

For the bank, Emefiele named the chairman as Tunde Hassan-Odukale, while Adesola Adeduntan was reinstated as managing director.

Other directors of the bank include Tokunbo Martins, Uche Nwokedi, Adekunle Sonola, Isioma Ogodazi, Ebenezer Olufowose, and Ishaya Elijah B. Dodo.

Gbenga Shobo was named Deputy Managing Director; Remi Oni, executive director; and Abdullahi Ibrahim, executive director.

According to Emefiele, the CBN begged the board members of First Bank severally not to remove Adeduntan but the pleas were ignored.

He said, “This decision came to us as a surprise. This bank has been under regulatory forbearance intervention since 2016.

“The decision to make such sweeping changes would require prior approval of the CBN. I pleaded with him to step down the decision and that we could hold a meeting to discuss the issues.

“Given that the current managing director was running on a tenure that is expected to expire on December 31, 2021 and as far as we are concerned, there was no need for such changes.”

The CBN boss stressed that given the apex bank’s regulatory intervention and forbearance regime, it felt that if there was any misconduct on the part of Adeduntan, he should have been queried.

He said the CBN should have been informed and the apex bank should have been a party to such an action to punish Adeduntan.

“We were not informed of any misconduct, neither were we informed of any query,” the CBN helmsman stated.

On why the bank decided to spare the MDs, Emefiele said, “We felt that because we’ve worked with them from 2016 till now, what we saw was more of a breakdown of governance and insider abuse by shareholders and we felt that we needed to stamp our authority to reappoint them and give them a chance to continue to remain executive directors, deputy managing director and managing director of this bank.”

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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