Dr. Ken Opara has been sworn in as the 22nd President/ Chairman of Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
Dr. Opara took over the CIBN leadership on Saturday, May 21 in Lagos from Dr. Bayo Olugbemi his predecessor and promised to transform and move the institute to greater heights. He pledged that he would ensure the institute’s primary business shaped the future of financial intermediation. He crafted the strategic focus of his administration in the next two years into the acronym “FUTURE”.
The new CIBN leader who was sworn in by Honourable Justice (Dr) Adesuyi Olateru-Olagbegi (Rtd) at the Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos will oversee the affairs of the Institute for the next two years (2022 to 2024).
Opara is expected to bring his knowledge of over 30 years’ experience in diverse areas of banking including Credit, Treasury, Retail, Consumer and Commercial Banking, International Operations and Corporate Banking and has held senior management positions in the industry including Divisional Head, Managed SMEs, Multilateral Agencies & Trade Missions; Division Head, SMEs, Electronic & Consumer Banking; Head, Private & Consumer Banking, Head, Affinity Banking & Corporate Consumer Banking; and Head Consumer & Commercial Banking to bear on the Institute.
Opara, who is also the Executive Director in charge of the Lagos & Southwest Directorate, Fidelity Bank Plc had served as the First Vice President and Chairman, Board of Fellows and Practice Licenses at CIBN.
He has also served and is still on several committee of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mobile Collateral Registry Committee (2014 – 2017); Central Bank of Nigeria N220 billion MSME development fund review Committee (2014); Subcommittee on capacity building for SMEs by National Council on MSME among others.
Opara in his acceptance speech paid tributes to the founding fathers of the Institute who sacrificed and contributed immensely to its growth and development over the years.
Dr Opara told over 5,000 guests, both physical and virtual across the globe that “Our strategic focus is crafted into an acronym “FUTURE” which focus on six key strategic pillars: Financial innovation and transformation, Dealing with industry Uncertainties, Trade and finance collaboration. Others are: Unveiling pathways for membership growth, Reengineering and Rebranding the industry’s business model around Gen Z and Ethical conduct and governance.
Opara noted that with globalisation, the future was largely defined by technology, innovation, efficiency, functional optimisation and fast changing lifestyle. He stressed that the youthful segment of the society was more characterised by these changes, adding that there was the need to drive initiatives that would attract them.
‘Nigeria has one of the highest youth populations in the world out of which 62.26 per cent are within the age of 24 years or younger.
“This demography is aspirational, inquisitive, exploring, innovative, internet-savvy, outspoken, confident, cherishes independence, abhors rigidity as opposed to flexibility, spontaneous and they engage in self-love and expression. “It becomes, therefore, imperative that practitioners should wake up to the smell of this coffee and weave strategy, operations and practice around the youth,” he said.
Opara further said while concerns around safety, control, stability and processes were quite germane, ignoring the existence of this phenomenon whose time had come would be at the peril of any operator.
The CIBN president pledged that the Institute under his administration would play a pivotal role between the practitioners and the regulators while ensuring adherence to sound corporate governance and ethical behaviour.
The newly inaugurated President also assured that he would complete and commission the remaining key projects of his predecessor, adding that he would be doing additional legacy projects.
A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Ernest Ebi gave the charge at the investiture of Dr. Ken Opara that the Independent Electoral Commission and other stakeholders in country’s electoral umpire have been charged to copy the transition of power within the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CIBN, through its peaceful elections. Mr. Ebi pointed out that peaceful elections will amount to economic growth and development.
In a good will message, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, represented by Lagos state Commissioner for finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, applauded the numerous contributions of the banking industry in different areas of the country and Lagos in particular, through the leadership of CIBN.
In his intervention, the outgoing President, Dr Bayo Olugbemi, thanked the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, NDIC CEO, Mr. Hassan Bello, Body of Banks CEO’s and other stakeholders for the support given him during his tenure.
He said that “as I pass on the baton to my successor, whom I have known for many years as a seasoned banking professional, who is very passionate about the Institute, I am absolutely convinced that he would take the Institute to greater heights.
Asides, the swearing in of Opara, three more office holders alongside six elected Governing Council Members also took oaths of office.
The elected office holders of CIBN are Prof Pius Oladeji Olanrewaju, FCIB, (1st Vice-President), Mr. Oladele Alabi, FCIB, (2nd Vice President) and Mrs. Mojisola Bakare-Asieru, FCIB, (National Treasurer).
The Council Members include: Mrs Rafiat Oluwatosin Onitiri, ACIB, Mr Olayinka Alade Odutola, FCIB, Victor Aguwah, FCIB, Olayinka Odutola, FCIB, Mary Aina, ACIB and Segun Oshadare, FCIB.