I decided to start a new category called role models. Every month, I will name a woman/man as the NRM Nigerian Role Models) of the month, some one who exemplifies enviable qualities in any sphere of the nation. This idea was prompted while I was preparing for my engagement to speak to some secondary school students in Osun State. The topic was mentors and role modeling; your part which I has previously posted some hours ago. While thinking about this topic I remember I was once was asked to give an example of a Nigerian who exhibits all the values I know about leadership, and I searched for days (try it!). One of the problems the emerging youths of the nation are facing is the shortage of good examples to follow (or at least their recognition). We are bombarded in newspapers with celebration of thieves, murderers and saboteurs, and the affinity for significant individuals to use achievements, status and business profits for luxury purchases-whether for fancy housing, cars, or expensive public donations to demonstrate wealth – without questioning the source. This has firmly enlisted us among the army of places where the end justifies the means. We therefore, in the spirit of a new Nigeria, need to be recognized by a new character.
The process of re-engineering the New Nigeria cannot therefore be left to chance, since people will naturally grow into what the prevailing environment conditions them to become. What else could be responsible for four people rushing and struggling to enter an empty 18-seater bus in Lagos? –Conditioning. The future is never a coincidence; it was the desire and dream of someone. Therefore this category will in my own way, showcase people who are defining the Nigerian spirit, by their dint of hardwork, diligence and resilience. Or what else is the Nigerian spirit? Money, affluence, yahoo, business… (that is a topic for another day). I must warn you that they are humans and I admit they can fail and have lapses, but yet they stand tall as those who desired and pursued true values worth emulating.
I present as my premiere NRM (Nigerian Role Model), Dr. Erastus Bankole Akingbola (MON).
Dr. Erastus B. O. Akingbola, is the current Vice-Chairman/Group Chief Executive of Intercontinental Bank Plc., is an achiever and an unquestionable quintessential banker. When he was a child, Akingbola wanted to be an ambassador. Dr. Akingbola, holds an MBA degree from the University of Lagos in 1986. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, London and Nigeria, the Nigerian Institute of Management and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN). He has had over 34 years continuous banking practice embracing commercial banking, merchant banking, discount house operations, leasing and insurance. He started his banking started with the then Barclays Bank (now Union Bank) where he learnt the ropes and rose to the position of accountant by 1977, before leaving for NAL Merchant Bank Limited as Executive Assistant in the Operations Department. He rose rapidly at NAL, becoming a Senior Manager in 1984.
In 1987, he was appointed controller of operations in the First City Merchant Bank Limited where he had thorough moulding under the tutelage of Otunba Subonmi Balogun. Akingbola profited immensely from his previous exposure. He functioned in this capacity till 1989 when he co-founded and was appointed the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Nigerian Intercontinental Merchant Bank Limited (now Intercontinental Bank Plc.). He is currently Chairman, Intercontinental Securities Limited; Chairman, Associated Discount House Limited, Director, WAPIC Insurance Nigeria Plc; and Chairman, Tropics Finance Limited.
Dr. Akingbola has attended several banking and executive management courses both locally and internationally in the USA (Harvard Business School), France, Switzerland, Singapore, and Britain etc. He was elected in 2004 to represent West Africa in the Executive Board of the African Bankers’ Forum, an arm of the AFREXIMBANK, which seeks to integrate private sector banking institutions in Africa for continental business finance. AFREXIMBANK and ADB are the only two financial institutions owned by all African governments.
He served as President, Lagos Business School Alumni Association and President of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN). He has been conferred with several awards including Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), a national award by Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo in recognition of his monumental contributions to the development of the Nigerian economy. He is an Associate, Institute of Bankers (AIB) London; Member, Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM); Fellow, Chartered Institute of Bankers, London; Fellow, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria; Fellow, Chartered Institute of Management; and Fellow, Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.
Akingbola also bagged the Kwame Nkrumah Award from the Nkrumah Foundation in Ghana in 2004 as CEO of one of the leading financial institutions in Africa. Back home he was a recipient of the Zik’s Leadership Award. All these and many more were bestowed on Akingbola in 2004 alone in recognition of his pedigree in Corporate Governance. Recently in the month of May, he has been inducted as the current president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.
He is a board member of the United Christian Broadcasters, a philanthropist of repute and a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God. and a trustee of the Grace So Amazing Foundation, a foundation that has strategically distinguished itself as one indigenous ministry that has warmed its way into devotional lives of Christians all over the nation
He defined a career, and has been consistent.
He, from my research has pursued his banking career from the lowest of the low into the pinnacle of the banking industry in Africa. He has avoided the tendency to jump from one field to the other when things were getting tough, when probably we feel we will get a better deal elsewhere. He’s stood fast, and the rewards are rushing in, but he started somewhere, running roots deep to develop the expertise and competency required to rub shoulders among the best banking moguls in the continent. He holds an MBA in general management from University of Lagos, and had earlier in his career, equipped himself with professional qualifications in major areas of banking, management and administration necessary to become competent at different stages along the way. This highly rated banker has at every stage of his career, taken his organisation to greater heights, even in the face of obvious difficulties.
His professional work was a ministry tool, not just a job
Years ago, it was ODB (our daily bread) that was reigning as a leading devotional in the nation. But then Grace So Amazing Foundation (GSAF), pioneered by Dr. Akingbola and his wife Mrs Akingbola who is also an ordained pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and a member of the United Christian Broadcasters, Hope for Widows, African Mission and several Christian and charity organizations. This couple despite schedules have left no one in doubt that their corporate business has an eternal significance. They, supported by passionate members alike, have continued to use their position and disposition as tools to spread the gospel, distributing free devotional booklets to Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, South Africa, Kenya, and other parts of the African continent. They didn’t just have jobs which they see as a hindrance to their service to God; it has become a tool of service.
Comments? Lessons you have learnt? Leave a comment.