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‘My family went into exile’ — Soludo says banking sector consolidation was ‘dangerous war’

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‘My family went into exile’ — Soludo says banking sector consolidation was ‘dangerous war’

Charles Soludo, governor of Anambra, says the consolidation of the Nigerian banking sector has permanently changed the system — but the process was a dangerous war.

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Soludo spoke on Saturday at the launch of a book, titled, ‘Power of One Man: How the Soludo-Engineered Consolidation Transformed Nigerian Banks to Global Players’.

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Launched on Saturday in Lagos, the book was written by Ray Echebiri, chief executive officer of Centre for Financial Journalism, according to NAN.

Soludo, who served as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from 2004 to 2009, spearheaded the consolidation policy of the Nigerian banking system.

 

According to the CBN, consolidation is the reduction in the number of banks and other deposit-taking institutions with a simultaneous increase in the size and concentration of the consolidated entities in the sector.

It often involves a process where banks merge with or acquire other banks, resulting in fewer but larger institutions.

Reflecting on the banking sector’s transformation, the Anambra governor said it was a dangerous “gambling and war”.

He said his family went into exile after facing multiple threats and attacks from various people following the restructuring policy he introduced as the CBN governor.

Soludo, however, said the consolidation exercise was a major revolution that transformed the industry forever.

“Let me start by a disclaimer, I have not read the book. My gratitude goes to the author of this book and I appreciate my major incredible team,” the governor said.

“I also thank the Nigerian stakeholders for the massive support because it was like a revolution time; today, we are celebrating the possibility of Nigeria.

“The revolution changed the Nigerian banking system forever.

“As a leader, you must be self-sacrificing and ready to pay the prize to avoid personal interest.

“The major message of today is the revolution for the banks themselves, who are now giants, such as Access and Standard Trust Bank.

“I want everyone to know that what is stopping and limiting us from developing is our mind. If we can dream it, we will achieve it.”

In his remarks, Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, urged all economic players and government at all levels to collaborate in order to improve the country’s current situation.

Obasanjo, who was represented by Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River, said the weight of the government is important in improving the economy.

“Like the title of the book says, without the team we cannot win the match; the captain is Soludo, with his team, and I take pride in all the team,” the ex-president said.

“Yes, CBN governor made a policy but the weight of the government is also important.

“When Soludo took over, I could tell the difference between a banker and an economist and we need someone who sees the country holistically.

“We appreciate the author of this book and we look forward to the volume two of the book.”

Also speaking, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos state, said the current leadership of the CBN should utilise the gathering to “test the blood pressure and temperature” of the system.

Sanwo-Olu expressed hope that there would be another review of the consolidation of the banking sector in the next 20 years.

‘NIGERIA’S ECONOMY GOING THROUGH TURBULENCE’

Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun state, said the country’s economy is facing turbulence, urging CBN stakeholders to take action.

Abiodun said appointing the right people to serve in public sectors is crucial for the growth of the economy.

“Currently, the country’s economy is going through turbulence; we need the stakeholders in CBN to do something, so that in the next 20 years we can gather like this,” the governor said.

“Soludo was not an accidental CBN governor because he was so cerebral that he won several prizes all through in his academics.”

Akpan Ekpo, former director-general of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management, said the event was crucial because consolidation in the banking sector is becoming stagnant.

He said the banking sector is crucial to the economy and requires highly skilled individuals to drive the system effectively.

 

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