By Azuka Ogujiuba
Pan-African banking group, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc., recently organised a befitting sent forth for its former Group Managing Director, Mr. Phillips Oduoza and two retired Executive Directors; mr. Femi Olaloku and Ms. Obi Ibekwe.
The event, which had in attendance customers, shareholders, board of directors, staff and associates, took place at the Eko Hotel Banquet Halls in Lagos. Also present were top dignitaries from Nigeria and the rest of Africa, including the Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi Lamido II, captains of industries like the MTN Chairman, Mr. Pascal Dozie, as well as political leaders such as Governors Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State; Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; and Simon Lalong of Plateau State. Former governors were not left out of the roll call former Governor of Cross River, Donald Duke; Senate Minority Leader and former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio; and former Governors of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba and Gbenga Daniel.
Regulators such as Mr. Abdul- Nashiru Issahaku, the Governor of the Central Bank of Ghana and Ibrahim Mahama, the brother of the President of Ghana, also graced the occasion.
Tony Elumelu, Chairman of UBA Plc, in his remarks at the occasion, paid glowing tribute to Oduoza, describing him as “very cerebral, very diligent, loyal and astute.”
He further described Phillips Oduoza as a wonderful colleague and supporter, a man who loves and encourages progress. “The performance of UBA today, both financial and brand equity, are attributable to Phillips and all the professional teams at UBA. PO, as he is fondly called, has served his time at the helm of the Bank, pushing to achieve the strategic vision as outlined by our board of directors for the bank here in Nigeria and across Africa. He leaves behind a bank that is not only a dominant player in the African financial industry but also has one of the best asset quality ratios in the African banking industry today,” Elumelu said.
The Emir of Kano, who was the Central Bank Governor when Mr. Oduoza was appointed CEO of UBA in 2010, commended him for his reforms as Chairman of the Bankers Committee on the Nigerian payment systems.
“Oduoza is largely responsible for the reforms of the Nigerian payment systems, which the banks and many Nigerians are benefiting from today. He drove the reforms in the sector that has now made it easier for many Nigerians to use their cards locally and internationally and also witness the growth of various e-channels in the country,” HRH Emir Sanusi II said
He praised Oduoza for his contributions to the Nigerian banking system, describing him as a man of integrity who deserves accolades.
Oduoza, who was emotional in his response, thanked the UBA Chairman for his kind words and for taking a bet on him.
He also expressed appreciation to the banking regulators for providing the enabling environment that made UBA to thrive during his tenure, as well as staff and executive management of the bank, whom, he said were largely responsible for all the bank’s achievements during his tenure as GMD. He stated that he would continue to contribute his quota to the development of the Nigerian banking system.
Ms. Ibekwe similarly thanked the bank for the honour done to her. She said she cherished her time at the bank and would continue to be a great ambassador of the UBA brand wherever she goes.
Top Nigerian music acts brought more excitement to an already fun-charged evening. Dr. Sid, as well as Olamide “Baddo” kept the audience dancing throughout. But the night was not just about those retiring, as the bank also used the opportunity to introduce the bank’s new GMD, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka.
It was a sight to behold when the bank’s Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Victor Osadolor, Executive Directors, CEOs from its 18 African subsidiaries and its operations in New York, London and Paris, came on stage waving the flags of their respective countries to usher in Mr. Uzoka.
In his short speech Mr. Uzoka expressed his gratitude the board and stakeholders for the opportunity to be the new helmsman and promised that he and his team would build on the foundation laid by Oduoza to take the bank to greater heights.