The First Bank of Nigeria is a leading bank in Nigeria,and this is evidenced jn it’s ranking as the third on the list of top banks in the country. Yet, the bank has been in a major management crisis that could lead to its disintegration.
Billionaire and Chairman of the Honeywell Group, Oba Otudeko is at the center of this chaos as he and his company, Honeywell Flour Mills, is indebted to the bank to the tune of #75 billion.
Unconfirmed reports say the technocrat might be avoiding the repayment of the loan facility by positioning his son as a director of the FBN.
The allegation is that he put his son, Obafemi Otudeko Jnr, as a non-executive director of the bank to stall the calls for First Bank of Nigeria to divest his shares.
Insiders say that this loan has been considered as ‘non-performing’ for nearly a decade and this is putting the management of the bank under great pressure with the current economic hardship in the country and the uncertainty facing financial institutions.
Central Bank of Nigeria has directed the CEO/Managing Director of FBN to take the necessary measures to ensure the loan is paid in full.
There are more claims that Mr. Otudeko took a loan for facility worth 29 billion naira with the approval of FBN Trustees. Otudeko claims the loan was written off but this is questionable as no board member was aware of it.
Petitions have been sent to the Social and Economic Rights Derivatives Centre, National Assembly and several governmental agencies requesting a probe into how the loan records can no more be found in bank database.
Oba Otudeko owns the highest number of shares after buying over shares owned by Late Aare Arisekola, the former owner of the highest shares in the bank.
Otudeko is already in court with the management over an alleged 5.5 billion naira loan where he acted as a guarantor for his company, Honeywell Group and others including Flour Mills Plc., Siloam Global Services Limited and Anchorage Leisures Limited.
Otudeko Jnr is reputed to be an experienced business but his presence on the FBN board may be a red flag as he will conceal all the illegal dealings that his father had engineered as the chairman of FBNH and frustrate any investigations into the petrol subsidy fraudulent practices his father is accused of.
Investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission are currently ongoing and we are waiting, with bated breaths, to see how this all plays out and how it will affect the First Bank of Nigeria against its competitors considering that she used to be the leading bank in Africa.