COMFORT EKELEME, Asst. Business Editor
The recent congratulations given to Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank Limited, Dr Adesola Adeduntan by President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to attract commendation as shareholders said it is sign that the government is appreciating hardwork in the country.
Buhari’s congratulatory message was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
The president said the award was a vote of confidence on Nigerian professionals, many of who rank among the best in the world.
He said, Cranfield School of Management is giving Adeduntan the award because he exemplifies the values of the school and serves as ‘role model to students and potential students, which is an endorsement that should make every Nigerian proud.
Analysts believe that the award of the 2019 Cranfield University Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, United Kingdom to Adeduntan was in recognition of key milestones the bank has achieved under his leadership.
Interestingly, major shareholders of First Bank Limited who joined the President in celebrating Adeduntan, on his award noted that the honour has proved that FirstBank as a great institution, is doing well and is in hands of good managers both at the group level and the bank itself.
The shareholders who spoke to Daily Champion separately in Lagos stressed the need for stakeholders to believe in the ability of the management to move the bank forward.
National Chairman, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), Boniface Okezie who described the award to Adeduntan as well deserved said it is great that the president for once has acknowledge this great potentials among Nigerians.
He said, there is urgent need for Nigerians to believe in our own, adding that the government being the regulator should not destroy its own people by their actions and utterances.
“We have great men and women in the country doing great thing and they are being appreciated around the globe for what they are doing. It is great that the president for once acknowledged this great potentials among Nigerians kudos to him, meaning we have to believe in our own and trust them when they are appointed in a place of position because if you don’t appreciate them others will and it will become an embarrassment for them when they allowed outsiders to discover the enormous potentials.
“It is high time we began to do so and remove this notion that a prophet is not with honour in his own country because of where he or she comes from, that will not help at all.This is the time we can bestow honours to our own people when they do well both within and outside the country.
“We should not give our national honour to misfits or money bags rather give it to those who have excelled in their field of endeavour. It is good for us as shareholders of the bank and we congratulate him as well saying that he should strive to see that the bank get back fully to where it belong in order to contribute to the Group for the good of all stake holders,” he said .
Also speaking, A Shareholder Activist, Alhaji Gbadebo Olatokunbo said “as Nigerians,we are very happy and proud for the award and recognition on one of us and to be candid, Nigerians are really doing very well in so many human endeavours all over the globe.
“FirstBank is the oldest in the banking industry and an off shore of British legacies in Nigeria, but as a shareholder, it is the return on investment that matters and the bank is not there as expected as at today.
“I had my First Bank account at the bank’s present headquaters in the early 70’s as a young man,but so many other banks that came after the bank were really a delight to investors more than the bank in terms of return on investment and other areas,which were serious concerns to me and some loyal Nigerian customers.
“Though some moves were made,but they were too late and too little to have meaningful effects on the end results of the bank. Banking of today needs very serious proactiveness and our bank should,if not must be seen as the pathfinder to other banks,” he said.
Speaking further, Olatokunbo said, there is need to have products/operations that would attract the younger generation and mend the mode of operations.
National President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Mikail, said “as a shareholder, I believe that it will be a challenge to other , so that they can also be recognized.
“But what really matter most is dividend pay out to the shareholders. We hope the board would be able to declare dividend at the end,” he said.
Adeduntan, who attended Cranfield School of Management in 2004 as British Chevening Scholar, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Banking of Nigeria (CIBN) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).
The bank chief has positioned FirstBank as a leader in promoting financial inclusion in Nigeria. The bank has continually reached the underbanked and un-banked population to reduce poverty, bolster economic growth and development of Nigeria and these milestones have earned him the award.
Adeduntan is one of the 21st century visionary men who dared, achieved and moved longstanding businesses to enviable heights. He has succeeded where others feared to try.
As a global thought leader, Adeduntan is well-sought after and has shared his experience and expertise at notable events across the world espousing and even envisioning financial inclusion in the next 125 years.
These events include the 2019 Ethical Finance Conference in the UK which had in attendance over 500 leading finance practitioners from all over the world, including Sarah Breeden, Bank of England; Dame Susan Rice, Banking Standards Board; Gary Gillespie, Chief Economist, Scottish Government; a keynote speaker at 2019 University of Edinburgh Sustainable Business in Africa Forum; The Africa CEO Forum 2018, Abidjan; the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) Annual State of Nigeria Conference as well as 2019 LSE Africa Summit.
Adeduntan has won other laurels due to his sustained professional achievements; significant economic and social impact; leadership qualities as well as a role model. These include the 2018 African Banker of the Year in African Leadership Magazine Persons of the Year Award in South Africa.
Adeduntan who took the role to run one of Nigeria’s biggest Tier-1 bank since January 1, 2016 has kept in on a path of sustainable growth and contributions to the nation’s domestic economy.
Prior to his appointment, he was an Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer for the Bank since 2014 when he was appointed to the Board of the Bank. Before joining FirstBank in 2014, Adeduntan was a Director and the pioneer Chief Financial Officer/Business Manager of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
He has served as a Senior Vice-President & Chief Financial Officer at Citibank Nigeria Limited, a Senior Manager in the Financial Services Group of KPMG Professional Services and a Manager at Arthur Andersen Nigeria, among other exciting career paths.
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