Ripples On Sack, Reinstatement Of Adeduntan, Generates CBN’s Statement. ‘First Bank Too Big For One Person To Own’

The Oasis Reporters

November 26, 2021


‘First Bank..too big for one person alone to bestride’

‘Who is the highest shareholder in First Bank of Nigeria Plc?’
The dust, the surprising sack of First Bank of Nigeria Plc Managing director and swift reinstatement leading to the reappointment of Dr Adesola Adeduntan continues to rule heated off the cuff discussions on Nigeria’s Broad Street in uptown Lagos.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday weighed in on that topic and said the 127 year old bank is too big and strategic for one individual to own outright.

Addressing journalists at the end of the bimonthly Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja (Nigeria’s political capital), CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele described First Bank as a domestically important bank in Nigeria, adding that “if anything happens to the bank; that means something is wrong with Nigeria’s banking system. First Bank is so big that one person cannot own it.”

Speaking on who holds the highest shares of the bank, the CBN governor said CBN will “take SEC’s position as a regulator of the capital market on who is the majority shareholder in the bank”.

Dr. Adesola Adeduntan whose earlier sack unleashed a chain of reactions…now reinstated, reappointed.

He added that he is happy that Nigerians are showing interest in the shares of First Bank which has a direct relation to the intervention of the apex bank in First Bank six years ago. When the CBN intervened, he said First Bank’s shares were going for N2 per share but after the intervention, the bank’s shares are now selling for N11.

At the end of the MPC meeting, the committee unanimously voted to retain the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 11.5 per cent; retain the Asymmetric Corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR; retain the CRR at 27.5 per cent, and retain the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.

Commentators in the commercial city of Lagos say it may take a long while before any bank Managing director would be unilaterally given the boot, especially if the said helmsman is perceived be doing well, going by industry standards.

When Dr. Adesola Adeduntan was surprisingly sacked by the board of the bank a few weeks back, the ripples were heard at the Central Bank of Nigeria and the swift move of the Governor, Godwin Emefiele in promptly reinstating the embattled MD gave signs that stability must rule the financial sector and this has given confidence in the market.

Stability and growth appear to be a guiding policy of the CBN at a time like this when rising inflation is troubling the nation and the government seems not to appreciate storms that may further cause additional problems to an already overheated economy.

Greg Abolo with additional reporting by The Nation

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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