In this report, SUNNY IDACHABA examines impact made by Ebitimi Banigo; Ima Niboro; and Ndidi Okereke Onyuike; while they were holding public offices and asks where they have been after leaving these positions.
This Niger Delta man, who is a former minister of science and technology under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was a foremost banker.
He was the chief executive officer of former International Merchant Bank (IMB) in the days that merchant banking was a boom in the country.
Banigo and a group of investors started the now-defunct Allstates Trust Bank following the deregulation of the banking sector.
The banker, who later became a monarch, was involved in a scandal at some point when he was named as one of the Nigerians with choice property in London.
According to reports, he was one of the 130 foreign buyers in Britain’s tallest residential skyscraper.
It was said that the billionaire owns a £2.7 million apartment in the residential towers where he barely resides. The tower, St. George Wharf, dominates River Thames in Vauxhall area of South London with 214 luxury flats costing a minimum of £1 million. This is beside his issue with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the recommendation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which audited the bank’s financial records and alleged Banigo and his associated companies were beneficiaries of extended loan facilities amounting to more than 35 per cent of shareholder equity, a violation of the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act.
It is not clear where this former minister and banker has been since he left the public scene.
Ima Niboro was appointed as managing director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) President Goodluck Jonathan in the twilight of the administration.
Niboro was before then Jonathan’s special adviser on media as vice president. Originally, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Niboro, however, decamped to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2016 following the defeat PDP suffered in the 2015 general elections.
After his defection, Niboro explained that he dumped his former party over alleged poor and decaying state of infrastructure in his home state of Delta.
He said he intended to align himself with stakeholders in that state and at the central level for rapid development.
According to him, “My membership of the APC is true; it is not a sudden switch. I have had 18 months to study the situation as it concerned my ward, local government, community and even my state. I have to conclude that there is time for everything. “This is the time for us in Delta to link up with the federal government in order to bring development to our land.
“To what extent his defection has so far impacted the state is what cannot be clearly ascertained and it is also not clear where he could be at the moment and what he is equally doing.”
Ndidi Okereke Onyuike
Madam Ndidi Okereke Onyuike is a former director-general of Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE). She is the first woman to have occupied that position, before she retired a few years ago through what is known in official quarters as the instrumentality of ‘sack’ by the then Aruma Oteh-led Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Often described as a powerful lady, Onyuike’s impressive performance in board room politics endeared her to many. Although her tenure in NSE was marred by many controversies especially towards the end of her tenure, but her contributions towards building a strong capital market to an enviable position cannot be in doubt. Just before her exit from public service, there was wide-spread rumour about her alleged doctoral certificate forgery from City University in New York as well as the claim that she worked in the New York Stock Exchange before returning to Nigeria.
However, was is certain is that Onyuike successfully navigated her way through until she exited public service in 2013.
While in office, she stepped on many toes on account of official assignments like the infamous failed bank brouhaha in which several former bank chiefs paid dearly for it. Dele Sobowale, while writing about her in one of his columns said, “Like most people who have pushed their luck too far, Prof Onyuike was probably the last to know that the wheel of fortunes was about to turn the other way for her.
She had gained prominence and power on account of the bubble in NSE fuelled by banks manipulation and false annual reports by banks.”
In the wake of the US election in which former black American, Barrack Obama, contested in 2008, Madam Onyuike caused a stir in the country when under what she called ‘Obama for Africa Project’, she raised over N100 million in support of Obama’s presidential bid.
This attracted wide condemnation, but in justifying her move she said, “I want to make it clear that I am a Nigerian and I have the right to do anything I want to do with my time and money.” Despite the hues and cries from several quarters about the move, she went ahead with the pet project and luckily, Obama won the election.
It is however not clear what extent the financial contribution led to his victory. Many years after, this woman whom some people described as proud and arrogant, left office not much has been heard about her again and it is also not clear if she is in the country. However, her indelible marks in the industry remains unparalleled.