The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has removed all the directors of First Bank of Nigeria Plc and those of First Bank Holding Company. Those sacked include Chairman of First Bank, Chief (Mrs) Ibukun Awosika and the Chairman of First Bank Holding, Oba Otudeko.
The apex bank had queried the Board of the bank for removing Adesola Adeduntan as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer and appointing Gbenga Shobo as MD/CEO designate without regulatory approval.
On Wednesday, April 28, the directors of the bank at its board meeting, removed Adeduntan as its MD and announced the appointment of Gbenga Shobo as its new Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer. The board of directors stated that Shobo’s appointment was with immediate effect and is subject to all regulatory approvals.
However, at a press briefing held today, April 29, Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the CBN, queried the board of directors’ decision to remove Adeduntan without due consultation with regulatory authorities. Emefiele reinstated Adeduntan as the managing director and chief executive officer of First Bank of Nigeria Limited.
In a letter sent to the bank, the CBN said it was not aware of any wrongdoing or misconduct by Adeduntan that led to his removal.
A letter signed by Haruna Mustafa, CBN’s director of banking supervision, reads in part:
“The CBN was not made aware of any report from the board indicting the managing director of any wrong-doing 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 expiry of his second tenure, which is due on December 31, 2021.”
The apex bank also faulted the appointment of Abdullahi Ibrahim as deputy managing director, as well as the appointment of Ini Ebong, Segun Alebiosu, Seyi Oyefeso and Bashirat Odunewu, as executive directors. The apex bank, however, directed U.K Eke to remain the group CEO of FBN Holdings Plc.
Emefiele at the press briefing, announced the constitution of an interim board to clean up the large lender and stabilize the company.
With the sack of all the directors, First Bank Holdings will now have Remi Babalola as chairman while First Bank Limited will have Tunde Hassan-Odukale as its Chairman.