Olasubomi Balogun, Doyen of Modern Banking Dies at 89

* Buhari, Dapo Abiodun mourn

‘…It is also a monument of a young Nigerian’s determination to succeed and prove that given the opportunity, Nigerians have the capacity to attain a commanding height in the management of financial institutions’

Our Correspondents

Billionaire banker and founder of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Otunba Subomi Balogun passed on yesterday morning in a London hospital after an undisclosed illness. He was 89.
In a swift reaction, President Buhari condoled with his family and affirmed that Chief Balogun, “through foresight, wisdom, and hard work, lived ahead of his time, by starting FCMB.

The high-ranking Ijebu chief’s death has not been officially announced, but sources said his family had informed the Awujale of Ijebuland of his death and a formal announcement would be made soon in line with tradition.
The late banker was born on 9 March 1934 in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State to Muslim parents. He attended Igbobi College, Lagos and thereafter worked briefly as a teacher before leaving for London. He studied Law at the London School of Economics.

Following his graduation in June 1959, he was called to the English Bar in December of the same year. After earning his law degree, Balogun returned to Nigeria to join the Ministry of Justice of the defunct Western Region, and later as an assistant parliamentary counsel in the Federal Ministry of Justice in Lagos.
However, the January 1966 coup prompted a shift in his career trajectory towards the banking sector. He later joined the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank after the coup.

Doyen of Banking
Balogun was a pioneer in the Nigerian capital and money markets. The deceased entered into the financial sector, reshaped and became a household name in the industry until his death.
He first later founded City Securities, a stock broking and issuing house, which handled Mobil, Texaco and Total petroleum marketing companies’ equity offerings. Balogun later secured a merchant banking licence to establish First City Merchant Bank.
When the operations of the bank took effect in 1983, Balogun established an entrepreneurial culture at the new bank in contrast to the government owned banks at the time.
The late FCMB founder was a long-time member of the council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

His philanthropy
Otunba Balogun was a constructive philanthropist and a distinguished church leader who devoted a substantial part of his private resources toward the care and service of the less privileged.
He built a National Pediatric Centre in Ijebu-Ode and donated the centre to University of Ibadan’s College Teaching Hospital.
During one of Balogun’s birthdays, the FCMB in a statement celebrated his philanthropic gestures thus: “His story is that of a man who understood early in life that the true essence of wealth is achieved only when it is deployed to the service of humanity, especially the less privileged. A man of proven immense wealth who is highly regarded, respected and honoured in society, the honour bestowed on Otunba Balogun does not, however, stem from the immensity of his wealth, but from the good use to which he has put this wealth for the service of humanity.”

His Strong Character
Otunba Balogun was a strong character with unwavering inner convictions that earned him resounding successes in many spheres of life.
“I have a very strong character. There is nothing that I did that I wish I had not done. I have no regret over any of my past actions,” the late billionaire said in one of his interviews.
Otunba Balogun devoted his life post-active banking years to serving God, society and doing things that add significant value to humanity.
The deceased converted to Christianity during his secondary school days in Igbobi college. Until his demise, Balogun, a direct descendant of Oba Tunwase of Ijebu-Ode, was the Otunba Tunwase of Ijebuland. He was also the Olori Omoba of Ijebuland, the Asiwaju of Ijebu Christians, the Baba Oba of Ijebu-Ife and the Asalu-Oba of Ijebu Mushin.

Reflecting on His Life
Reflecting on his life in 2019 on his 85th birthday, Balogun said, “I am at peace with my God. I marvel on every occasion at why He has been so kind to me. I don’t have any airs about me; I am always myself. I can only credit this to the amazing grace of God.
“At the climax of anything I may have achieved, I attribute everything to the awesomeness of God and His love for little me. I spend all my time talking about God. A friend recently called me and said he noticed that before I say three words, I would mention God. It is a measure of my appreciation to attribute everything that has happened to me to the amazing grace of the almighty God.

“I am just humbled by the awesomeness of the almighty God to think of a puny human being like me. I see my contemporaries, people who had achieved even before I was born, and those I consider my mentors, and on every given occasion, I am amazed as to why God has been so kind to me. I will spend the rest of my life thanking Him. There are many of my peers who have one problem or the other, but I am still hale and hearty. I still swim regularly.”
He received several awards in his lifetime. He was a recipient of the American Biographical Institute Inc’s Distinguished Leadership Award for outstanding contributions to the development of Investment Banking.

He was also a recipient of the University of Ibadan’s Degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) in recognition of his outstanding achievements both in the field of Law and his contributions to the socio-economic development of Nigeria; a Merit Award for philanthropic services to Ogun State in particular and the country as a whole, and also the Ijebu Development Association award and Council Membership of a number of multi-national Chambers of Commerce.
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria made him a Fellow of the Institute for his pioneering and outstanding contribution to the Banking Industry.

Buhari Mourns Subomi Balogun
President Buhari has condoled “with family members, friends, and associates of the revered businessman, whose legacy of kindness and charity stretched into many homes, institutions, and communities, touching lives through education, health, and multiple empowerment opportunities.”
President Buhari affirmed that Chief Balogun, through foresight, wisdom, and hard work, lived ahead of his time, “by starting the FCMB, which has grown over the years, with branches across the country, and working assiduously for the take-off and success of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.”
The President noted the outpouring of testimonies on the life and times of the legendary banker, especially his towering influence in grooming many talented leaders in the sector, who had since set up their investment platforms, within and outside the country.
President Buhari prayed that the Almighty God will receive the soul of the departed, and comfort all his loved ones.

Governor Abiodun
Mourning the passing of the business mogul and philanthropist, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, described the death of Balogun as a colossal loss, not only to Ogun State, but also to Nigeria as a whole.
He noted that the late Olori Omo Oba of Ijebuland was one of the foremost entrepreneurs who took banking to an enviable level in the country.
Abiodun added that apart from being a business magnate, Chief Subomi Balogun was a devoted Christian, a loving father and husband, as well as lover of Ijebuland.

The governor said the contributions of the late banker to the socio-economic development of Ijebuland and Ogun State was humongous and beneficial to numerous people and entities.
According to the statement, the vacuum created by the demise of Balogun will be difficult to fill, pointing out that his love for humanity and dedication to the service of God was worth emulation.
While commiserating with the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona and the entire people of Ijebu on the passing of the renowned entrepreneur, Abiodun equally condoled the immediate family left behind by him.
The governor, praying for the repose of the soul of the deceased, urged his family members not to grief, but find solace in the fact that Chief Subomi Balogun lived a life of industry, service to God and humanity.

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