BY KAZIE UKO
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the apex bank took the decision to sack Oba Otudeko as the Chairman, Board of FBN Holdings Plc, because he failed to subject himself to the authority of the CBN.
Otudeko and the entire board of FBN Holdings and First Bank of Nigeria Limited were sacked on Thursday by the CBN in exercise of its regulatory authority as stipulated in the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020.
The regulator said it acted in order to restore the leadership trust in Nigeria’s foremost lender, following “purported sack” of its now reinstated Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Sola Adeduntan and appointment of new directors.
Shedding more light on what led to the drastic weeding of the boards of the parent company and First Bank of Nigeria, Emefiele said he pleaded with Otudeko not to sack Adeduntan, who the CBN had appointed in 2016 to help stabilise the bank, but he would not listen.
According to the CBN Governor: “I reminded Otudeko that the decision to make such sweeping changes would require prior approval of the Central Bank. 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.
“We were not informed of any misconduct neither were we informed of any query. Indeed, the CBN has been satisfied working with Dr Adeduntan on a stabilisation regime for First Bank since 2016.
“I spoke to Dr Oba Otudeko, he refused to grant my entreaties. I had cause to call two of his major shareholders to call him to ask the board not to take such decisions without the approval of the CBN. He refused to pick the calls of these shareholders, who are co-owners of the bank.
“I called him a second time and had on another phone one of the shareholders on another line listening to me, begging Dr Otudeko that he should not take that decision. He insisted on taking that decision.
“I feel we have done our best and that we will not allow a shareholder who feels that he cannot subject himself to regulatory control and authority to remain as a director of the bank.”