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Personality in Focus

Adesola Adeduntan: Award Winning Financial Game Changer

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By Eric Elezuo

Only a few persons would believe that the Managing Director of FirstBank Nigeria Plc, the indefatigable Dr. Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan is just 50 years old. He was 50 on May 7, 2019. This is as a result of the achievements that have trailed his young life. Just a few days ago, Dr. Adeduntan bagged an international award as Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by Cranfield School of Management, United Kingdom. This is even as FirstBank was named biggest mover of 2019 according to KPMG Report within the same period. It is not incorrect to say that Adeduntan is a creative achiever.

Born Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan on May 7, 1969, in Ibadan, Oyo State, the banker started his early education at Ibadan Municipal Government Primary School (IMG), Adeoyo between1975 and 1981, for his primary education before proceeding to Urban Day Grammar School, Old Ife Road, Ibadan, where he had his secondary schooling. His excellent to duties created a space for him to become the Deputy Senior Prefect in his final year in 1986.

In the same year, he was admitted to the University of Ibadan in to study Veterinary Medicine, and qualified in 1992 as a Veterinary Surgeon, a profession he hardly practiced before switching over to financial management.

Consequently, in 1994 he joined Afribank (Nig) Plc., and was posted to the Ibadan Main Branch as a graduate trainee. He spent 18 months there learning the ropes, and working in various areas of banking operations including cash management, clearing, credit risk management, and foreign operations.

Between September 1995 and May 2002 Adeduntan worked with Arthur Andersen Nigeria, rising to become manager in the firm’s financial services industry business, leveraging on the 18 months mentorship he received at Afribank. In this role, he led and managed the statutory audit of a number of leading Nigerian banks.

In August 2000, he served as an instructor at the Andersen World-Wide Induction training for new hires in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. He also served as the lead instructor for the Local Office Basic Accounting Training and Induction course in 1999. It was while he was with Arthur Andersen that qualified as a chartered accountant in 2000.

With more feathers to his cap, Adeduntan moved to the financial services industry in KPMG as a senior manager in June 2002, and served diligently till October 2004 when he bowed out. At KPMG, he co-pioneered the firms’ financial risk management advisory services. He was also a KPMG-accredited Trainer and facilitated several internal training programmes.

When he left KPMG in 2004 to study, he pursued a Master’s degree in Business Administration at the Cranfield School of Management, where he was a British Chevening Scholar. He graduated in September 2005.

Armed with yet another great feather, Adeduntan moved to Citibank Nigeria Limited in 2005 where he became the Senior Vice-President (General Manager) and Chief Financial Officer. He was saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the bank’s financial and product control functions, quality assurance and operational risk management. he was on hand to assist the bank in its recapitalisation during the banking consolidation era.

In October 2007, he called it quits with Citibank, and a month later, pitched tent with the Africa Finance Corporation, as the pioneer Chief Financial Officer and Business Manager.

His achievement at the AFC includes leading the team that secured an A3/P2 investment grade international credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service in March 2014. This made the Africa Finance Corporation the second highest-rated lending financial institution in Africa.

In July 2014, he was appointed an Executive Director/Group Chief Financial Officer of FirstBank, where he was responsible for the bank’s financial control, internal control and enhancement, business performance management, treasury and procurement functions.

On Monday January 4, 2016, Adeduntan succeeded Bisi Onasanya, and assumed duty as Managing Director of FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, and its commercial banking subsidiaries including FBN UK, FBN Ghana, FBN DRC, FBN Guinea, FBN Gambia, FBN Mortgages, FBN Senegal, FBN Sierra Leone and First Pension Custodian Limited.

He coordinated his functions so professionally that on December 7, 2016, he was awarded the 2016 Banker of The Year award by the Leadership Newspaper “For refusing to ‘go with the flow’ even when the temptation was high and the reward substantial, and for reminding his colleagues that banking is nothing without integrity”.

A man of many beneficial and influential parts, Adeduntan currently sits on the board of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, and as a non-executive director on the boards of the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), FBN Bank U.K. Ltd., Universal Payments Plc., and FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

In just four years at the helm of affairs at FirstBank, Adeduntan has turned the tables and rewrote banking narratives, delving into all aspects of human endeavour to see to the development of SMEs, youth entrepreneuship among many others.

In his speech at the kick off of FirstBank’s celebration of 125 years of unbroken business operations, Adeduntan hinted as follows:

“From that very modest beginning in 1894, First Bank has traversed an incredible journey of delivering impeccable financial services to its customers and supporting the building of the modern-day Nigeria and indeed, West Africa, including our early pivotal role as the monetary and fiscal policy regulator for the entire West African region,” he said.

“As a long-standing institution, which even predates Nigeria as a unified entity, FirstBank is entrenched in the nation’s development; woven into the very fabric of society, with our involvement in every stage of national growth and development.

“At the amalgamation, independence and through the seasons ever after, we have been here marching hand-in-hand with you and our dear nation. We have enabled financial, technological, industrial and societal advancements, achieving very many firsts over time.”

Adeduntan has seen to the sponsorship of prolific enterprises to guide the youths on the right path. These include the African Fashion Week which took place at the Oriental Hotel and Youth Empowerment Seminar at the Harbour Point Event Centre. These shows among a whole lot have a lot of testimonials following.

Adesola is married to Mrs. Adenike Adeduntan and together they have three wonderful children.

For your ability to change the game, and make positive impact in the economic advancement of Nigeria, and very many other countries, especially where FirstBank domiciles, you are our Boss of the Week.

Congratulations sir!

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Personality in Focus

John Okelue Okpoli: Pacesetter, Pathfinder and Pioneering Expert

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By Eric Elezuo

The ultimate measure of a man, they say, is not where he stands in the moment of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy. The willing man is an achiever in whatever situation he finds himself. He don’t just achieve, he creates or rather pioneers a million ways to getting things done. There are however, very few men in the universe, who have worked extremely hard to create opportunities, even from nothing, carved out veritable future for not only themselves but also for generations to come. One of such men is Delta born finance and asset management guru, Okelue John Okpoli.

Fondly called The Pioneer, John Okpoli, who is reputed to have pioneered almost everything he is involved in today ranging from academics, career, family, associations and many more, was born into the family of Dr. (Sir) Felix and Lady Dorothy Uzor Okpoli on October 6, 1978.

He started at a very young age to exhibited the featues and qualities of a gifted child, becoming a pathfinder and pace setter for his mates, contemporaries and collegues both on the home and academic fronts. His leadership abilities threw themselves to the fore, and could not be extinguished as he nurtured it step by step through to the adult he is today.

Young John kicked off his academic journey very early in life when at the age of four, he enrolled at Delta Steel Primary School, Owvian Aladja Delta State in 1982. But owing to geographical relocation because his father was a civil servant, he continued and concluded his elementary education at Iyobosa Primary School, Benin City in 1988, and obtained his First School Leaving Certificate.

John started his secondary education at Greater Tomorrow Secondary School, Benin City in 1989, but moved to Lagos thereafter and attended Ikeja High School, Ikeja where he concluded his seconadary i education in 1994. He was at the end of the day, rewarded with the prestigious West African School Certificate as he ‘cleared’ his papers in a single sitting, and with notable grades.

His exploits while at Greater Tomorrow Secondary School Benin City created a leverage for him to become a member of the Interim Executive committee of the 1994 set later in life

In 1996, John Okpoli was admitted into the University of Benin with the 1995/96 set to study Mathematics and Economics. He graduated with B.Sc honours in 2000 as a high flyer.

Being a goal getter with unquenchable zeal to acquire and sustain, and one whose focus and attention to details is second to none, Okpoli undertook a Special Executive MBA Programme at the Metropolitan School Of Business and Management in 2013. He knew what the future was going to throw at him, and he was prepared.

Highly equipped to face the harsh business environment, Okpoli began turning things around, and practically became a builder, an apostle of some sort, creating firsts and pioneering strong financial business ventures, which have stood the test of time, and are still flourishing till date. In fact, Okpoli has the proverbial Midas touch to make things happen and turn anything to gold.

As the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fundvine Asset Management Ltd, Okpoli singlehanded pioneered the setting up of all the company’s subsidiaries. He didn’t stop there. When the cruise boat of job relocation took him to AT&A as the Chief Operating Officer, Okpoli again brought his wealth of experience to bear, creating new vistas and breaking barriers. It is not by accident that the firm is today a force to reckon with.

The pioneering achiever went ahead to work with Sasware, a Signal Alliance agency as Head of Operations, and his story has bordered on performance, capacity building and expansion. He is a go-getter in its simplest term.

It is worthy of note that under his watch, Fundvine Hathaway Asset Management Ltd, rebranded and rolled out new enticing products.

Hear him: “I think I owe everything that has happened to me, and still going to happen to me to God. He has been more than kind to me, releasing in me the right words and actions at the right time.

“My success stories of pioneering ability, expansionist approach and general achievements, have remained legendary, and I hardly fail. This is the zeal and call I take to any establishment I find myself for the service of mankind.”

Among many other pioneering activities of John include but not limited to being among the pioneer set of Mathematics and Economics department of the University of Benin. He went ahead to become the pioneer president or leader of distinct associations while on campus, including Project committee, UNIBEN Mathematics Class of 99 and Emerging Leaders Network (An Intiative Of Centre Of Leadership).

A very humble person, Okpoli gives credit to God for his ‘little’ efforts so far, and to his father, Felix Okpoli, who retired as a zonal General Manager with the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA). The senior Okpoli was the first product of Electrical/Electronic Engineering from Ubulu Uku in Delta State.

In the same vein, his maternal grand father Reverend S. I. Nwabuoku was the pioneer/first Anglican priest in the Anioma part of Delta State just as his uncle, Ven. (Dr) I. E. Nwabuoku was the pioneer Chief Medical Director, University of Benin Medical Centre and Vicar General, Anglican Diocese, Benin City.

Basically, pioneering ability runs in the family. It is left to the imagination what a person of John Okpoli’s Calibre can do to an establishment or best still, a political institution. He is truly an asset; a much sought after one for that matter.

Okpoli, among many secular and formal endowments, is blessed with so many professional qualifications such as:

– Project Management Institute U.K 2011

– Nigerian Institute Of Management 2002

– Institute Of Credit Administration 2004

– Institute Of Cost Management 2002

– Economics Institute 2004

He may be a man about town, hovering from one boardroom to another, yet he is an accomplished family; a beloved and cherish husband to his beautiful wife, Oberhi Mary Okpoli, a prolific lawyer and Head of Chambers of Prince M.P Ohwovoriole (SAN) in Lagos.

Between John and Oberhi are wonderful children, who are steadily following the greater heights footsteps of their parents.

Congratulations John, you deserve our personality in focus honours

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Personality in Focus

British Prime Minister, Fiancée Announce Birth of Baby Boy

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s fiancée, Carrie Symonds, on Wednesday, gave birth to a “healthy baby boy” in a London hospital, a spokesman for the couple said.

“Both mother and baby are doing very well,” the spokesman said in a surprise announcement, as Symonds was not thought to be due until later in the year.

(AFP)

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Personality in Focus

Akporiaye Takes Over As NANTA President, Assures Continuity

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By Eric Elezuo

In line with the constitution and guidelines governing the affairs of National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mrs. Susan Akporiaye has officially taken over the affairs of the association. She took over from the immediate past president, Mr. Bankole Bernard, who steered the group for two consecutive terms.

In her acknowledgement speech to the teaming members of the association, Akporiaye assures continuity while at the same time details a new beginning.

Pledging to achieve more together with everyone on board, she called for effective strategies’ to address local challenges in the travel and tourism world as well as the damage the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic has caused.

Below is her detailed statement:

CONTINUITY AND THE BIRTH OF A NEW BEGINNING:

Dear members of NANTA, our principals, elders and the media.

This morning, our president, who is now the immediate past president, my brother and friend, Bankole Bernard wrote to hand over the affairs of the association to me in line with consultation with our Board of Trustees and the executive members.

Yesterday, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, most able gentleman and leader, Mr Steve Isokariare also sent a message to put me on notice to steer the wheel of our progressive association for the next two years.

While the uncertainty that becloud our dear nation, industry and the world persisted due to Covid-19, many expressed anxiety about the possibility of the change in baton at this uncertain times….which is human.

While this line of thought gained ground, particularly with the desirable need to postpone our Kano AGM which could have afforded us the opportunity for me to present my manifesto to you as your incoming President but also to formally adopt our established physical handover protocols.

Nonetheless we all have to deal with the realities of the “Force Majeure” situation that Corona Virus have brought upon us. By God’s grace we shall overcome it.

So we have digitally taken over and all the legal protocols for hand over have taken place overseen by our very capable Board of Trustees.

On one hand you are assured of continuity because I was one of the outgoing executives of the last administration.

On the other hand this is the birth of a new beginning as the incoming exco takes over under my leadership as the 44th President of NANTA.

We must admit that while we have global challenges brought on by COVID-19. We also do have some pertinent local challenges facing our members and their businesses which we must confront and come up with effective strategies to address.

In due course the incoming executives shall engage and consult with all of you as stakeholders in order to establish and validate our priorities.

I will then be articulating these priorities with strategies on how to move us forward.

I know there is a huge challenge to re-access our reach and physical engagement process in view of covid 19 and the impact on global Travel.

We are conscious of the pressure to rebound and gain immediate foothold yet determined to guide our members to follow established federal and states governments protocols on covid 19 and practice safety and social distancing as recommended by health officials globally.

This statement is to assure you all including our Friends and Principals that NANTA is united and in safe hands under my watch.

The Watchword under my Watch will be TEAMWORK .

As stakeholders you all have ideas not just the excos. As President i will ensure you all have the right platform to provide inputs for continuous engagements whether physical or digital.

But I reassure you as President my priorities will be YOUR priorities.

Therefore, the new exco and I will in due course address you all on the course we wish to chart, praying for assistance, suggestions and presence in all we shall endeavor to do on your behalf.

Once again, let me express my profound gratitude to Mr Bankole Bernard, the board of trustees, elders, my fellow partners in leadership, all zonal leadership and members, not excluding our very supportive friends in the travel and tourism and the media.

Having accepted to stand and hold forth as the 44th NANTA president, I ask God Amighty to grant me wisdom and knowledge to lead this great body and make it greater than ever before.

Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM NANTA)

Thank you all so much and may God bless Nigeria and may God bless our beloved NANTA.

Susan Akporiaye
National President NANTA

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