Monday 3 May 2021


For Context, what was Ibukun Awosika doing before becoming the Chairman of First Bank?

She built and ran a loss generating office  furniture company called “The Chair Centre ” , a heavily leveraged entity with no clear - cut plan of success.

Then the “Arisekola Mafia” found her worthy for the Chairmanship of Nigeria’s most strategic and Systemic Bank . A Bank that can not be allowed to fail!

The late Chief Alao Arisekola, aka “ Oyinbo Oni Datsun” as regaled by Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey in his 70’s album, a heavily leveraged Nigerian “ Billionaire “ with strong ties to past military governments hailed from Ibadan. Ibadan is where he met this brilliant “ Ijebu accountant “ Oba Otudeko. Oba Otudeko gained the confidence of Arisekola and oversaw his business interests. 

Chief Arisekola was influential at First Bank. He was the one who brought in Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Bank CEO and made Oba Otudeko Bank Chairman.

The CBN has been “baby-sitting “ First Bank over the past 10 years having discovered that the bank was in “grave financial condition with its Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) and Non-Performing Loans ratio (NPL) substantially breaching acceptable prudential standards.

There was the US$100m loan to Chief Bode Akindele , the Parakoyi of Ibadan in the failed attempt to acquire NITEL in 2001 that can’t be wished away and was never recovered. 

Chief Bode Akindele, a man described as a “bottomless pit of money“ died during the pandemic.

In 2018, similar matter of this magnitude happened . When you drive along the Marina Waters in Lagos , you will see an abandoned Oil Rig. That is “Oritsetimehin" rig. It is owned by a very quiet company called Seawolf Energy Services . It was established in April 2007 by Adolor Uwanu and Lagos Big Boy Remi Okunlola. 

The company was mainly financed by First Bank.

This company used company funds to build “ Onome” and “Oritsetimeyin“ rigs . They were built at a cost of $508 million. Onome and Oritsetimeyin are currently kept on Marina waters Lagos and rusting away.

First Bank took possession of the rigs following the company’s inability to pay back an over N100 billion loan.

That loan was acquired by AMCON. AMCON put it up for sale. Receiver/Manager of Seawolf Oil Services remains Barr. Mike Igbokwe (SAN).

It is the equity in that company Seawolf Energy owned by Leadway Assurance Plc and Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund initially makes Mr Hassan Odukale a major stakeholder to become Chairman of First Bank today.

I have been getting calls and messages defending the “Arisekola Mafia”. They allege that the MD Mr Sola Adeduntan is an Islamic extremist with close ties to the impounding Fulani Hegemony equation and that this is a move to wrestle Power out of the Yorubas in First Bank. That having the “Hassan-Odukales” at the helm of affairs considering their family ties to the North, after all their grandfather was “a tailor in Kaduna“ when he started Leadway Assurance. 

That “we must defend the West“.

Some allege that backing Flutterwave, a growing Fintech with ties to the #EndSARS protests is another reason for moving against the Board.

All types of Bullcrap.

But New Media company TECHCABAL summaries the sins of Chief Oba Otudeko.

“In 2013, a N5.5 billion loan facility given to Oba Otudeko’s Honeywell Flour Mills by Ecobank has become the subject of litigation and is in fact still ongoing at the Supreme Court."

Otudeko’s Airtel shares were used as collateral for Honeywell’s Ecobank loan. Yet, in an interesting turn of events, those SAME Airtel shares as well as some Honeywell assets were also used as collateral for the credit facility from First Bank to the tune of N75Billion.

Insider moves at both Ecobank and FirstBank frustrated the perfecting of the liens on those shares. None can lay claim legally to the shares!

 “In a round about way, First Bank now owns the assets pledged to Ecobank.”

“So the same asset (Honeywell and Airtel) is allegedly pledged to Ecobank and none of the banks can move in on these assets. First Bank has an equity position while Ecobank has a debt position.”

This is why the CBN moved.

Too big to fail does not mean too big to be flogged! 

This might be the end of an era. 

The Era of the “Arisekola Mafia”.

Olayinka Oluwakuse, publisher of the now defunct ISLAND DIARY Magazine, a freely distributed monthly lifestyle glossy in the residential and business estates of Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Lekki and Greater Lekki of Lagos.

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