Awosika insists her board acted in First Bank’s interest
It appeared that while her reign as the Chairman of one of Nigeria’s biggest lenders, Ibukun Awosika and members of the Board of Directors forgot who was truly in charge. That momentary slip cost her and the entire board members their jobs, as the Central Bank of Nigeria wielded the regulatory hammer that eliminated the board on Thursday.
But nothing ever appears as they seem, as the first woman to chair the board of Nigeria’s oldest financial institution, on Saturday broke her silence on the sack of her board by the CBN, insisting that the board acted in the best interest of the lender.
“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,” Awosika said in her first reaction to the clean out of members of her board from First Bank by the CBN In the post titled: “My FBN Group Journey,” she published on her Instagram page.
The bone of contention was the dismissal of the Bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Adesola Adeduntan and the appointment of Gbenga Shobo as a replacement.
Adeduntan was sacked despite the fact that he has eight months to go as the CEO of First Bank and allegedly without the usual consultation with the CBN.
Consequently, the CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele had queried members of the Board on his replacement.
On Thursday, the apex bank ordered the reinstatement of Adedutan while it sacked all members of the Board of the Bank headed by Awosika.
The CBN said the move was to preserve the “the stability of the bank, so as to protect minority shareholders and depositors”.
The apex bank also revealed that the Board members had embarked on taking insider loans and have failed to divest from their investment in non-financial entities.
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“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.
But in the Instagram post, Awosika insisted that the sack of Adeduntan as managing director of First Bank was taken in the best interest of the institution.
She also narrated her work with different entities within the First Bank Group and defended her five years’ service at First Bank of Nigeria.
“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,” she said.
Read her full post on the Instagram page below: