Monday, August 24, 2009

REJOINDER: "The Rise and Fall of a Man by Dele Momodu

It is no more news that five banking executives were sacked by the CBN because of their banks’ exposure to excessively high level of non-performing loans. This exposure according to the CBN Governor was attributable to poor corporate governance practices, lax credit administration processes and the absence or non-adherence to credit risk management practices

The media however has been awash with all sorts of stories and conspiracy theories following the sacking of these five CEOs . Opinion seems divided. Some argue that the CBN Governor Lamido Sanusi, is only acting the scripts of the Northern Oligarchs who lost out during the last bank consolidation exercise. Some say, he is out to make an impression, and the only way he can do that is to rubbish Prof. Chukwuma Soludo’s legacy of banking consolidation. One article that however caught my attention was Chief Dele Momodu's titled “The rise and fall of a man”.

The article seems to focus on the public reaction to the recent sacking. Dele Momodu is of the opinion that we are a nation of envious people, looking for every opportunity launch scathing attacks on successful people within the society. He further noted that we have become so disillusioned, and therefore incapable of objective reasoning. According to him “No one was ready to give them (Banks CEOs) the benefit of the doubt. Nigerians have become too disillusioned. Everyman we see with a measure of success must be a rogue”. Mr Momodu also couldn’t understand how a man who spent his whole life in banking profession, and that was seen shaking hands with the Sultan of Sokoto days before his sack can be subject of savage media attack.

I’m in agreement with Dele Momodu that it is inappropriate for any person to gloat over the misery other individuals, especially if you are ignorant of the facts behind their travails. However, the recent sacking of the banking executives is somewhat different. Most of the stories reported in the media about the allegations of impropriety against the executives were not concocted out of rumours. Let’s get this right. The CBN conducted an investigation. The bank executives were found guilty of sharp banking practices, and the CBN took appropriate action.

So what exactly is the gist of Mr Momodu’s write-up? Is he saying that envy is only peculiar to Nigeria? Does he want us to believe that the ‘Pull Him Down” syndrome only exists in the DNA of the average Nigerian. Or is Dele Momodu agitating for a soft landing for the sacked CEOs?

Envy is not peculiar to Africa, neither is it just a Nigerian problem. In every society, there is the tendency for people to be envious of others that are perceived to be more successful than they are. There is also a strong correlation between poverty and envy. Unfortunately, some of the so-called big men in Nigeria don’t understand this. Some of these rich men are very insensitive to the plight of the common man. They look for every opportunity to flaunt their wealth (whether it is genuine or fraudulent), and even sometimes oppress the poor. As individuals, we need to learn to conduct ourselves in humility, especially in a society with some much poverty and deprivation. For as long as the masses see themselves been oppressed by the rich, then the sort of wanton attacks launched against the bank CEOs will be inevitable.

Truth be told. The fact that a former CEO was seen shaking hands with the Sultan of Sokoto doesn’t mean appropriate action shouldn’t be taken against him. It is not the first time that corporate high-flyers or highly influential individuals have been found guilty of mismanagement and financial irregularities. Dele Momodu noted that one of the CEO spent his whole life in the banking profession. But does Dele Momodu know that Bernard Madoff, who ran the biggest finance scam in history, also spent his whole life in finance/investment banking. And at one time Madoff was non-executive Chairman of NASDAQ stock exchange. Can Dele Momodu remember Kenneth Lay, the former Chairman of Enron? Kenneth Lay oversaw the biggest corporate fraud in the US history? Ken Lay was former President Bush right hand man, who was at one time considered for the position of Treasury Secretary. We may also have to remind Mr Momodu about the former Billionaire Sir Alan Stanford. So, let’s not be deceived, Nigeria is not exception and perhaps worse. At least the Madoff, Lay and Stanford of this world were convicted and jailed. In Nigeria, our Madoffs are the Pro-Chancellors of our universities. They are President of professional institutions. They run our stock exchange. Let’s make not mistake, the Nigeria system breeds corruption. The more influential you are, the higher the propensity for corruption. These high-flyers sleep, drink and eat in the corridor of power. They are the ones celebrated on the pages of the national newspapers. They are the same people bestowed with national honours. They are the biggest donors at corporate and social functions.

So having read Dele Momodu’s article, I struggled to understand where he is coming from. Is he suggesting that people shouldn’t talk? If we can openly criticise the corrupt former governors, most of who - strictly speaking – have not been found guilty of corruption, why can’t we talk about bank CEOs? If it is right to launch scathing attacks on President Yar’Adua because of his incompetence, why is it not right to criticise the sharp practices of the banks CEOs?


Anonymous said...

forget it Dele was right and he's free to his opinion. Sanusi is only playing out d script from a cabal. take it or leave it.

deji said...

I love this article. Dele Momodu obviously is misguided and is probably friends with some of the ex Bank Chiefs. He should go and get his facts right. Sanusi Lamido is a professional per excellence and only a fool would say he is playing out a Northern Script. Deji

Alabs said...

Everyone is free to express his/her own opinion and DM has excercised his rights. So also has Seyi and brillantly too! I'm usually disappointed when comments take sides in an arguement, without any fact or proper appraisal. This article appears to present a fair and unbiased view, which should be applauded. When has 'dining with the president' become a criteria that puts you above the law. In global sports, you are acclaimed an international hero when you win gold but immediately shamed if it is discovered to be drug induced. Ask Marian Jones, Dwain Chambers, Ben Johnson......and they have all been in sport all their lives! Oh, and one more thing, they are Non-Nigerians!!! I can also bet that Lord Archer lying and going to jail would have been attributed to envy in Nigeria. Some people just can't live with the fact that your social status has no place in the criminal justice system. If you do the crime, you should be ready to do the time!

Louisa isioma said...

First i will say thank you to Seyi for your unbiased article. However i must add that you were rather lenient with Dele Momodu. Not saying you should have mutilated him, but the truth as we are well aware is that these very same people who have recently been indicted for sharp practices form the bulk of Dele Momodus clientele, so why won't he complain? To those who allege that the CBN Gov is acting out a script, i have one very simple question, are the people in question guilty or innocent? Answer and then decide for yourself if you want to maintain your stand.

Anonymous said...

Thank you seyi for your article.Frankly, i do not believe the CBN governor out a script. Can somebody ask the sacked ceo's if they are guilty or not of the allegation levelled against them. In less than 4weeks the once vibrant and prospective stock market crashed and is still going down before us then somebody will tell us all is well and Nigeria will not be affected by the meltdown. I think its high people are more objective and see through the lines. Mr Momodu i've never been your fan and i cannot be now.

Tubo Azeez said...

With all due respect, I am not surprised by DM's viewpoint on this issue. Afterall he publishes 'OVATION'Magazine and he is patronised by these so called highflyers. These people have also acted as conduits for Government Officials to launder ill-gotten wealth. Why have the sacked bank chiefs not come out with facts to show that their Banks were in a good financial situation. May we continue to witness situations where the wind blows and we see the yansh of the fowl...

Anonymous said...

First of all i want to give kudos to you seyi for engaging us in this discussion,in a way billions of Nigerians and other people will have access to express each other views and get there message pass across.In my own opinion,i feel that if truely the affected bank ceo's are guilty of the offence levied against them,let them face the penalty otherwise prove themselves not guilty as charge.I mean its a 50-50 thing.if the CBN has come out with a list of corrupt bank CEO'S with the charges levied against them...then they should come out and prove it to the whole world that the CBN Governor doesn't know what he's doing.We need to start doing the right thing if truely we have the interest of this country at heart.


Thank you guys for taking time to read my blog. And I really do appreciate your comments.

As for Dele Momodu, I sometimes find his comments condescending. But as the first poster said, everybody is entitled to their opinion.

Many thanks for your contributions.

ChiefO said...

"sanusi is acting out a script of some cabal"

when would he not be? when he gives an award to them first before tearing apart the banks as he did?

hopefully he wont be the embattled CBN governor soon.


@ChiefO, abi o!
Anyway thanks for stopping by.

Taiwo Show said...

As usual Seyi, (oloruko oko mi) you have wriiten a very impartial article. As for Dele Momodu, after he left concord newspapers and went into entertainment journalism , I must tell you that nothing the guy writes can trip me again, he should stick to Ovation.
I don't know why Nigerians will always leave the substance and chase shadows , don't be suprised if his company borrowed money too from these banks and have yet to pay.
I am happy with the developments in the banking industry, my parayer is that it is resolved in a way that people will not be out of a job because Nigerians do business as a one man show even with a board of director in existence.


@Taiwo, many thanks for reading my blog.



Jide Salu said...


Well done on your piece. Dele Momodu is one guy that sticks out for what he believes in and wears his opinions on his sleeve. So on that basis I give him credit.

On his opinions, as I had said over at my end, you either love him or loathe him, that is anyone's prerogative.

God bless you for stopping by at my end.

Seyi said...

@Jide, thanks for stopping by.

SMO said...

Nigerians and lovers of Nigeria be vigilant!

Take note of those who come out and try to defend the indefensible or "Aondoakaa" the corrupt!

Very soon, like Tubo Azeez said, the wind will blow and the "yansh of the fowl" will be exposed.

Seyi, I am sure I speak for many when I say thank you for keeping me informed of important articles etc. that would otherwise pass me by.