Sale of troubled banks: Shareholders call for Sanusi’s sack

PSAN: “The CBN governor is out to destroy the banking system. I have never heard that when a bank is in problem, the next thing is to auction it to foreigners. We will resist him and his secret agenda which he has refused to unfold to Nigerians.”

PLANS by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sell off the five troubled banks in the country to foreign investors have been described as attempt not only to put the current shareholders in jeopardy but re-colonise the nation’s economy.

A cross section of leaders of reputable shareholders’ organisations in the country who spoke with Sunday Tribune in Lagos at the weekend against the backdrop of the CBN governor’s speech at its organised roadshow in London on Friday, said it was un-imaginable and unfortunate for the CBN team to use tax payers money to embark on a journey to London with the sole purpose of auctioning the five troubled banks in the country.

They further described the roadshow as a jamboree and unnecessary diversion from the reality on the ground in the sector, stressing that the CBN governor has nothing to offer to the sector and therefore, must go. 

According to the National President, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), Mr. Boniface Okezie, the CBN governor has lost focus, stating that all his actions, utterances and activities since he was appointed, are targeted at destroying the nation’s banking system.

Okezie maintained that the London roadshow was a big shame since the CBN’s sole aim was to go and hawk the five troubled banks on the streets of London, adding that the shareholders are ready to resist him and his secret agenda which he has refused to unfold to Nigerians.

He condemned the ‘know-all’ approach of the CBN governor in addressing pertinent issues in the banking sector, citing the case of the N420 billion injected into the five troubled banks where he never sought any approval from the lawmakers.

He further said while most of the banks were owned by foreigners prior to government’s indigenisation policy, they should not be returned to them since the country had capable hands to return the banks to profitability.

In his contribution, the National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu advocated complete overhaul of regulatory institutions especially the CBN, stressing that the current banking crisis portrays the shortsightedness and misunderstanding of the state of banks and the Nigerian economy.

Nwosu reiterated his earlier position that the Federal Government and the CBN should be held responsible for all the ills that have befallen the banking sector, querying the rationale and parameters used by the apex regulatory bank to sack the chief executives of the five banks over misuse of shareholders funds and lack of risk management capability.

According to Nwosu, shareholders will remain the greatest losers from the CBN’s un-articulated policies, citing the hurried manner in which the examinations of the banks was carried out and the attendant series of rebuttals by perceived debtors.

He noted that the CBN has systematically eroded the powers of Nigerian shareholders, stating that the CBN governor along cannot handle the problems in the sector.

Speaking in the same light, National Coordinator, Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), Mr. Oderinde Taiwo, said the CBN governor has not told Nigerians what his secret agenda is, stressing that he must tell shareholders and indeed stakeholders the sector, the future of the five troubled banks whose executives were removed recently.

He noted that the apex bank is just portraying the nation’s financial sector in bad light, adding that no serious foreign investor would leave his country at present and come to Nigeria.

“The London roadshow is just a jamboree. From all indications, the CBN has already got some investors and want to use the roadshow as a coverup. The CBN is just portraying the country in a bad light. Let Sanusi come out and declare his secret agenda,” he said.

Also, the Chairman, Nigerian Shareholders Protection Association (NSPA), Mr. Godwill Anofi, stated that it was important the apex bank tread softly, stating that it was too early for the apex bank to start searching for foreign investors.

He noted that the trip was another way of wasting public money, adding that similar ones made in the past by other organisations never yielded any fruit.

Anofi stressed the need for the CBN to carry out widespread consultations with stakeholders before embarking on any new policy, noting that the shareholders can not fold hands and watch their investments being taken away from them. 

It will be recalled that the CBN governor, Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had sought foreign investors to invest in the five troubled banks.

Meanwhile, financial experts have described as unfortunate comments by the Chairman of StanbicIBTC, Atedo Peterside that the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Chukwuma Soludo was responsible for the current crisis in the banking sector. 

In a telephone interview with Sunday Tribune, a financial analyst, Mr. Okechukwu Amadi noted that for an industry operator of the caliber of Peterside to come up at this time to castigate Soludo was most unfortunate, stressing that he has never hidden his dislike for Soludo’s policies while in office. 

Amadi further stated that the StanbicIBTC boss was one person that never believed in the consolidation policy from the outset, recalling that he put up a strong fight against the policy since it was going to erode one man ownership of banks. 

He added that as responsible industry operator, he should have made the public know the instructions given by the former CBN governor.

Speaking in the same light, a financial analyst, Dr. Ayodele Ekundayo said it was unfortunate that some of the secrets shared by Soludo are now being made public in order to curry the favour of the new CBN Governor.


Odidison Omankhanlen – SUNDAY TRIBUNE