Gbenga Francis Shobo: Firstbank Nigeria Limited, a foremost financial institution in Nigeria is currently in crisis as it is currently in troubled waters with the Central Bank of Nigeria – CBN over several issues.
The Central Bank is coming hard on Firstbank over multiple cases of circumvention of due process.
Top on the catalogue of issues currently rocking the bank is the financial scheming of its Chairman, Otunba Dr. Oba Otudeko who is the current Group Chairman of the bank’s Holding Company, E-nigeria! Can now report.
Again, the banking regulator is also unhappy over the sudden replacement of Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan with Gbenga Francis Shobo without routing it through due process.
In a strongly worded letter to the board of Firstbank, the CBN noted that its attention has been drawn to the “Purported Management Change at First Bank Nigeria Limited”, which saw the emergence of Gbenga Francis Shobo as new MD/CEO; stating that it is particularly concerned that the action was taken without due consultation with the regulatory authorities given the systemic importance of Firstbank.
In the letter from the Apex bank signed by Haruna B. Mustafa it stated that its attention has been drawn to media reports that the Board of Directors has approved the removal of the current Managing Director of the bank, Dr. Sola Adeduntan and appointed a successor.
The CBN noted that since Adeduntan’s tenure was yet to expire and there was no report from the Board of any infraction, there therefore appears to be no apparent justification for the removal.
The CBN said it was particularly concerned because the purported removal of Adeduntan was coming at a time the CBN has provided various liquidity support to reposition the bank.
Adding “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 removal of a sitting MD/CEO of a systematically important bank that has been under regulatory forbearance for 5 to 6 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.
It has instructed First Bank to explain why disciplinary measures 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 to the media.
The bank is expected to respond on or before 5pm on Thursday, April 29, 2021.
There is no doubt that these are trying times for Nigeria’s oldest bank, we would keep you posted on how this drama unfolds in the next couple of days.
Also we shall bring you more details on how Oba Otudeko’s bad debts have plunged Firstbank into financial crisis over the years. Keep a date.