The BIG Battle In First Bank Nigeria – Otudeko, Odukale and Adenuga for Control

The BIG Battle In First Bank Nigeria – Otudeko, Odukale and Adenuga for Control

The news was that First Bank of Nigeria Plc had appointed Gbenga Shobo, the erstwhile deputy GMD, as the GMD/CEO of the 127-year old banking giant. He was to take over from Adesola Adeduntan.

People, there is brewing warfare in First Bank. The Central Bank of Nigeria has queried the Board for removing Dr Adesola Adeduntan without regulatory approval; he has 8 months in his contract to go. The letter was addressed to the bank’s Chairman, Ibukun Awosika.

First Bank is fine. What is happening here is a battle of who controls this bank, according to ThisDay. Oba Otudeko & co with about 10% on one side, and Oye Odukale (with 10%) and billionaire Mike Adenuga (with 6%) alliance on another.

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 Odukale (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.

Depending on what the apex bank does, you may see a new guard in the pioneer bank. This battle has nothing to do with the bank but interests. Sure, First Bank books and ratios may not be superb, but what is happening is not about those; CBN was already helping on those. I want you to wish the elephant well.

“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.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reporting. Pardon my copying in full for context.


First Bank of Nigeria Limited has appointed Gbenga Shobo as its managing director/chief executive officer effective from April 28.

Mr Shobo, who until now was the lender’s deputy managing director, will take over leadership from Adesola Adeduntan, who will be retiring in accordance with the bank’s term limits for chief executives, having headed it since 2016.

“His appointment has proven the resilience of our succession planning mechanisms and the value we place on our long-standing corporate governance practices, which underpin the institution’s enduring sustainability and 127-year legacy,” Ibukun Awosika, chair of the bank’s board of directors, said Wednesday in a statement reported by The Cable.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has queried the Board of the First Bank of Nigeria Plc for removing Dr Adesola Adeduntan, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, without regulatory approval.

The query is contained in a letter dated April 28, 2021, signed by the CBN Director, Banking Supervision, Haruna Mustafa, and obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The letter was addressed to the bank’s Chairman, Ibukun Awosika.

Mr Mustafa said that the action was taken without due consultations with the regulatory authorities, especially given the systemic importance of the commercial bank.

CEO Adebola

He noted that the tenure of Mr Adeduntan has yet to expire.

“The CBN was not made aware of any report from the board indicting the managing director of any wrongdoing 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 expiration of his second tenure which is due on Dec. 31, 2021,” he added.

Mustafa noted that the removal of a sitting MD/CEO of a systemically important bank was not good.

“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 5p.m. on April 29, 2021,” he said.

NAN reports that First Bank on Wednesday announced the appointment of Gbenga Shobo as the new Managing Director and Chief Executive Director.

Mrs Awosika said that the appointment was subject to all regulatory approvals.

She said that Mr Shobo succeeds Mr Adeduntan who would be leaving the bank in accordance with the bank’s term limit for its chief executive after successfully leading the bank since January 2016.

:These decisions will take effect from today, April 28, 2021,” Mrs Awosika said.

“We are proud to announce Gbenga Shobo as our new Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer.

“His appointment has proven our resilience of our succession planning mechanisms and the value we place on our long-standing corporate governance practices, which underpin the institution’s enduring sustainability and 127-year legacy.

“Shobo has had a successful career in the bank and elsewhere culminating in his appointment as the deputy managing director in 2016 prior to his appointment as the managing director.

“The board is confident that Shobo has the experience and the understanding of the bank and the know-how to lead the bank through this next phase of growth, which is focused on positioning First Bank as the preeminent bank in our chosen market, delivering value to our stakeholders,” she added.

Mrs Awosika said that the bank also appointed Abdullahi Ibrahim as the Deputy Managing Director.

According to her, Ini Ebong, Segun Alebiosu, Seyi Oyefeso and Bashirat Odunewu were also appointed as executive directors.

She noted that these decisions were subject to all regulatory approvals.

(NAN)

Nigeria’s First Bank Incredulous 30 Million Target

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3 thoughts on “The BIG Battle In First Bank Nigeria – Otudeko, Odukale and Adenuga for Control

  1. This is where it gets tricky, when you have strange bedfellows as major shareholders in an organisation, a common feature anyway. When guys with divergent views on what the future of the organisation should look like, control major voting blocs, the organisation is in for gyrations which can only end in some sort of quandary.

    But just for context sake, is First Bank’s GMD tenure six years or five years and four months? Because from what Chairman Awosika said, I struggle to understand which ‘term limits’ and ‘all regulatory approvals’ she was referring to. I mean, why would corporate titans sound like politicians here? The CBN said it wasn’t aware of the sudden removal, despite its support in keeping the bank smiling, while the Chair says all correct sir! Something is not adding up.

    As for the 2017 unfounded prediction of 30 million customers, it generated a massive debate here, and some attacked us for not believing the bank’s dreamlike projection, even when there’s no foundation for believing; now we know…

    Well, it’s a fight amongs elephants, and chickens and crickets need to take cover, before a misstep from the giants send them into oblivion.

    Reply
  2. Actually – today, all banks can claim all customers as customers since every NIBSS customer is a customer to all banks! So, anyone can declare whatever. FBN has 31 million customers when the total customer base is 42 million in the industry (according to BVN). With the moving metric, I have updated the post!

    Reply
  3. Awopetu Emmanuel · Edit

    All this things don’t add up and I am particularly concerned on the reputation of Ibukun Awosika.

    I came for an exam and its stated it would be 2hours, 45 minutes to the end of the exam you logged me off and say I have reached time limit.

    Obviously something is wrong, no case of wrongdoing, misconduct of whatsoever before the new appointment or were they over happy that the new guy would come in and couldn’t wait to get him into main stream leadership?

    If he was doing badly why just now, so it shows that there is more this case we are not hearing about.

    Reply

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