The Oasis Reporters
July 23, 2021
The year 2021 is already in the second half, but at the time it ends with banks announcing their balance sheets, even the mid-year report has indicated that women in the boardroom would have some long glasses to clink. They’ve been giving a good account of themselves ever since they started rising, to take their place.
This article shall be examining the climb of the amazons, but greater attention shall be paid to how they are lifting their gender and winning together.
The feminine gender has faced huge inequalities and they may remain so for a long time. There have been economic inequalities. Access to opportunities has been low. In most societies all over Nigeria and Africa, access to land assets even within families are poor. This is even worse for women especially in the north where basic education is denied women like the world witnessed in the Malala Yusufzai case in Pakistan and the Chibok school girls kidnap case in Southern Bornu, Nigeria.
South Africa perhaps remains a bit different, a country that emerged from apartheid less than 30 years ago. Though economic inequalities exist, the rainbow nation has long been one of the highest ranked by Gini coefficient, a widely used measure of income inequality.
Coming down to Nigeria, while gains have been more, sometimes galloping for women in the south due to vast opportunities in education, women in the north continue to lag at the bottom. Therefore when you visit any bank in say Kano, Maiduguri or Dutse, chances are that the cashiers you are going to meet, may be economic “migrants” so to speak, from the southern part of the country due to the effects of educational opportunities. Girls in the north are largely left out.
When the erstwhile managing director of GTBank, one of the leading Nigerian banks disclosed in September 2020 that he was shopping for a successor, focus was beamed on the top echelons of the bank’s top executives and Miriam Olusanya was announced as Managing Director, thus becoming the first female to occupy that position.
Days earlier, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) had announced Yemisi Edun as its MD/CEO, though she had been on the seat in an acting capacity in January after the immediate past Managing Director, Adam Nuru proceeded on a leave. She too becomes the first female Chief Executive of the Tier-2 bank that was floated by Otunba Subomi Balogun, a former insurance guru with NICON insurance before becoming a merchant banker and now, substantial owner of the fast growing commercial lender.
On the 2nd of January 2021, The Oasis Reporters had broken the news that Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe has assumed office as the MD/CEO of Fidelity Bank Plc.
By mid-year, The Oasis Reporters also lauded Fidelity Bank’s transformational strides under Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe that has set the bank on a path of continuous growth and improvement which could be seen from the Q1 2021 unaudited results of the Bank.
According to Proshare, ‘Fidelity Bank’s Q1 ‘21 PBT beat our forecasts soundly’. PBT grew by 54% to N10.1b from N6.6b, gross earnings grew by 7.7% to N55b from N51b and PAT grew by 64% to N9.6b from N5.9b from the previous quarter. Going by this trajectory and from all indications, the Bank is on course for another good performance in Q2.
Onyeali-Ikpe has skillfully challenged the status quo with subtle but innovative strategies while working to elevate Fidelity Bank to the top tier of financial institutions. Upon resumption, she outlined seven key pillars on which the leadership of the bank would rest- all of them geared towards positioning Fidelity Bank PLC as an industry leader. These pillars are Brand Refresh, Workforce Transformation, Accelerated Growth, Digital Transformation, Service Excellence, Performance Discipline and Innovation.
Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe’s participation in several initiatives at Fidelity Bank including the issuance of a $400m euro bond and more recently, the issuance of a 10-year N41.2 billion local corporate bond – the largest corporate bond ever issued by a Nigerian bank equally drew commendation from economy watchers as has always been reported.
These bonds are currently listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, allowing bond investors to trade on the securities.
When other financial powerhouses were elevating the feminine gender to top positions, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe was on hand to felicitate with them in goodwill messages. A noticeable re-purposing was observed that Fidelity Bank was on a trajectory to build strongly on social relationship management, build ground influence mapping as well and activate action into the local and global space for the benefit of the financial community and society at large.
Little wonder that Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe was on hand to invite blogger Linda Ikeji, a leading social media influencer to interact and give a pep talk to the Fidelity Bank team.
The experience sharing session at Fidelity was “the real deal”, according to insiders at the meeting.
When Linda Ikeji told them how her entrepreneurial journey in blogging started 15 years ago and how she blogged for free for the first 4 years without earning a dime, it was obvious that the motivational talk was targeted at women specifically and society in general about the importance of hard work and consistency in anything one does. Even when failure stares, ‘rise up and start again’ by evolving all over.
It was apparent that as a transformational leader and a major change agent, Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe would be open to public conversations about how to accelerate transformation and social justice, especially for the feminine gender to rise and take their place.
It would be aimed at engaging a multidimensional index to disrupt Nigeria’s distinct spatial footprint of poverty by showcasing women on the rise and supporting others via financial and inspirational work ethics to break the back of institutional poverty endemic in the nation.