By Oracle Zent
That CBN desolusion of Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria over Oba Otudeko N75b unpaid loan reminded the Oracle how such inaction in the past from CBN destroyed National Bank in the eighties or Farmers Bank in the fifties and Agbonmagbe Banks in the sixties at a time borrowers failed to pay back.
Mr. Oba Otudeko the owner of Honeywells is not alone, most Nigerians never believed in paying back loans. It is how they reason in Nigeria in most cases they would think the bank will develop dementia and forget they borrowed any money or a miracle would remove the debt.
It is either called “Owo ijoba or Owo olowo” syndrome as to why payment is difficult to uphold.
Mr. Oba OTUDEKO is not a King but at FBN he acted like a King, his words and actions said so too or why would any Chairman of the oldest Bank in Nigeria refuse to pay and even gotten the MD of the Bank fired.?
Unknown to many FBN in 1894 started as Bank of British West Africa to promote business with West Africa and some of Government in Africa , it was about same year Egba United Government signed Banking license to the British owner to operate a branch in Abeokuta the capital of EUG.
In 1965 or so when Nigerians acquired 13% of the bank and in 1971 it became Standard Bank of Nigeria after Nigerians bought 38% of it and the British the owner stepped aside and later the Bank changed the name to First Bank of Nigeria to mark the history of banking in Nigeria.
First Bank did not expand international as expected it operated fewer branches outside Nigeria, with just limited locations in London and South African, the focus was and still is Nigeria
With the expansion under FBN Holding Company, FBN was reduced to one of the companies under the FBN holding company in which Oba Otudeke was eventually the Chairman, which made his words and actions that of a King with unlimited access to depositors funds.
As the Chairman of the holding company, the MD of FBN now a subsidiary was just a staff who could not question his superior at the top of the Holding company over unpaid loan of the Chairman and when he the MD did. He got fired.
It was why the MD was removed and CBN came to the rescue of the management and the future of depositors fund.
The Press conference from the CBN Governor was detailed enough on how Oba Otudeko was counseled to retract his action and failed and he should not be pitied.
Is Oba Otudeke alone in this type of inside privileges which denied millions of Nigerian loans already in the pockets of the big guys?
The answer is No.
Did Central Bank Governor act right or he just used Otudeko as a scapegoat? Or are all the Directors of the Banks in Nigeria free from the same actions of Otudeko?
These are some of areas that should be looked into as the CBN Governor was careful in the replacement of the Board with the same ethnicity that was there before otherwise it could have placed the actions of the CBN in bad light if it has been otherwise. CBN made it difficult for critics to inject tribalism into it unlike what Sanusi a Fulani and former CBN Governor did in the past to four leading banks in the Nigeria.
We are yet to see the end of Mr. Otudeko palava with FBN and when and if all his properties would be used to offset the N75b including his Honeywell Company.
Some even linked the problems of the former Chairman Otudeko to all the properties of Ibadan businesses late Alhaji Alao Arisekola who had all his properties and shares confiscated by the same bank over unpaid loan in billions of Naira and how other directors grabbed them for themselves.
Whatever it is, we are yet to see the end of it, similar event happened to Oceanic Bank and CBN came in with big stick when Sanusi was the CBN Governor one of the Ibru Family ended up in jail and the bank later merged with ECOBANK.
Will Oba Otudeko go to jail? He may even be dragged to the Court or he may even run away. Or this is the end of it? Time will tell the Oracle says if Oba Otudeko wants to go dirty, he may spill the beans on others with similar actions of his that may wreck the banking industry.