After becoming the largest individual shareholder in Nigeria’s oldest bank, billionaire Femi Otedola has disclosed that he has no interest in taking up a governance role or becoming a director in First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Limited (FBNH).
The renowned businessman, who emphasized the fact that he is “semi-retired,” explained that he is not interested in becoming the chairman of First Bank Nigeria, or its holding company, FBNH, contrary to speculation.
“Being the single largest shareholder doesn’t mean I must necessarily hold a position in the bank. I believe in allowing competent people to run institutions in a professional manner and to the benefit of all the stakeholders,” the billionaire said.
Otedola is the chairman of Geregu Power Plc, a Nigerian power generation company. He was the owner of Forte Oil (now Ardova Plc) until he sold his stake to Nigerian energy mogul Abdulwasiu Sowami in 2019.
His recent statement, which confirms his stance on Nigeria’s oldest bank, is a response to myriad reports suggesting that his share acquisition was a strategic attempt to take a leadership role in the tier-1 lender.
The statement comes nearly a week after a report revealed that Otedola raised his stake in FBNH by about 2.5 percent, guaranteeing his position as the largest individual shareholder in the bank.
Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa indicates that his purchase of an additional 2.5-percent stake, or 898,730,515 ordinary shares, raised his position in the bank to 2,717,282,140 shares, or 7.57 percent.
Before the transaction, Otedola was in a tussle with Tunde Hassan-Odukale, First Bank’s chairman and the managing director of Leadway Assurance Company.
The ownership tussle was addressed after the country’s Pension Commission confirmed him as the largest individual shareholder of FBNH, with a 5.07-percent stake, or 1,818,551,625 shares.
The additional 2.5-percent stake further cemented his stance as the largest individual shareholder in the Nigeria-based lender.
A notification of share dealing by insiders published on the Nigerian Exchange, Dec. 16, revealed that Otedola purchased an additional 200 million shares in FBNH worth N2.3 billion ($5.6 million) between Dec. 6 and 8.