Nepotism: Protesters hit Abuja, demand removal of Zenith Bank MD, Nduka Onyeagwu
A group, Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative (TADI), has spearheaded a protest demanding the removal of Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Ebenezer Nduka Onyeagwu.
In the protest that was held this morning at the Abuja headquarters of the bank, TADI said that Onyeagwu’s appointment further proved allegations of “nepotism and cruel practice of impunity” going on at the bank.
Assistant Secretary-General of TADI, Comrade Taiwo Adeniran, said that the group’s protest was to accentuate why the war against nepotism and corruption in Nigerian political and economic life should not be limited to the public sector.
Noting that the war must be extended to the private sector, the TADI deputy scribe said it was unfathomable that the founder of the bank, Jim Ovia and Onyeagwu were nephews.
According to him, it was the sit-tight syndrome of management and unhealthy influence from personalized interests that precipitated the Nigerian banking crisis of the mid-2000s.
Adeniran said, “The war against nepotism, impunity, bad leadership and corruption should not be a course only within the public institutions but also should be reinforced within the private sector.
”The flagrant disregard for the rule of law and guidelines has been a major plague that has marred our corporate existence as sovereign entity. It is therefore imperative for well-meaning stakeholders and Nigerians to rise-up to the challenge of fighting and stamping out this menace from our society.
“The appointment of Ebenezer Onyeagwu is in fact one example of gross disregard for due process and rule of law. His appointment as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank Plc is evidently an example of the deficit in corporate governance compliance as stipulated in the Code of Corporate Governance for Banks and Discount Houses in Nigeria of May 2014 and as such should not be allowed to stand. It should be noted that this deficit or thwarted compliance to these codes were majorly responsible for woes experienced in our banking sector prior to the bank consolidation policy of 2006.
“Rules and regulations are guiding principles as enforced by the law, has no exceptions to it compliance. These and more could be said about the potency of this important provision – the Code of Corporate Governance for Banks and Discount Houses in Nigeria – because with sensitive nature of banks and it inherent pivotal and crucial roles in our nation’s economy. Section 2.3.3 of the Code of Corporate Governance for Banks and Discount Houses in Nigeria made by the CBN in May, 2014 is crystal clear on the guidelines for composition of bank’s management.
“However, it is quite unfortunate to discover that the Jim Ovia led board of Zenith Bank Plc will appoint his NEPHEW (Mr. Ebenezer Nduka Onyeagwu) as her Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank while the Central Bank of Nigeria in-turn tactically endorses this illegality. It is true that a man can falsify everything about himself but one thing that cannot be changed is the lineage blood-tie of relations.
“The records have it that, Jim James Ovia and Ebenezer Nduka Onyeagwu are both from Ika South Local Government Area in Delta State. The indigenes of Ika South Local Government Area are generally called Ndi Agbor, which comprises Ogbemudien, Ogbease, Ihogbe, Obielihe, Ekuku Agbor, Ihaikpen, Ogbeisore and Ogbeisogban. While Jim James Ovia hails from Obielihe, Ebenezer Nduka Onyeagwu is from Ogbemudien, Agbor Obi also in the same Ika South Local Government Area.
“The truth about their genealogy happens when a woman named Oror was married in Ogbemudien Quarters and had two sons namely, Nwatukele and Onyeagwu. The said Onyeagwu alias “Old Soldier” gave birth to Ebenezer Nduka Onyeagwu. This same woman, who later remarried in Obielihe to Pa Ovia and gave birth to Jim James Ovia. By implication, the father of Ebenezer Nduka Onyeagwu is an elder brother of Jim James Ovia both of them having come from the same womb. This cumulated as a perfect disguise due to their different surnames to perpetrate this illegality.
“Several reports has revealed that sit-tight syndrome of management and unhealthy influence from personalized interests which plagued the corporate governance of our banking sector contributed in no small measure to the Nigerian banking crisis. The appointment of Mr. Ebenezer Nduka Onyeagwu is an abuse of financial probity and flouting of the existing code of corporate governance for banks and discount houses in Nigeria which were to establish and strengthen corporate governance practices in our banking sector.
“This nepotistic practice is criminal and inimical to the integrity of our financial system and institutions as a nation. Owing to the sensitive and important role of our banking sector to development of our nation and also; any economy that desires to be taken seriously by investors, whether local or foreign should avoid this kind of corporate disaster in the interest of her shareholders.
“Therefore, it is our collective duty as Nigerians and stakeholders in the polity of our dear nation to rise up and champion the campaign/fight to flush out agents and elements of retrogression from our systems. This embarrassing cycle of corporate disasters in Nigeria has to STOP and the culprit be duly sanctioned.
“Furthermore, as the saying goes in legal parlance, you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand. The appointment of Ebenezer Nduka Onyeagwu as Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc is fraudulent and illegal from the beginning and must not be allowed to stand
“Mr. Ebenezer Nduka Onyeagwu should be relieved of his duties as the MD/CEO of Zenith Bank PLC with immediate effect.
“The process of his (Mr. Ebenezer Nduka Onyeagwu) appointment and ratification by CBN should be investigated and every individual involved in the illegal appointment of Mr. Ebenezer Nduka Onyeagwu should also be exposed and sanctioned.
“We hereby call on the all the anti-graft agencies to prosecute all the parties involved in this appointment illegality in accordance to the provisions of the law of the Federal republic of Nigeria.
“The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria should ensure that the credibility and integrity of our financial institutions are sabotage by unscrupulous elements that with their selfish interest results in dubious means to have their unholy intentions actualized.
“We call on handlers of private institutions especially banks and other financial institutions to embrace the rule of law and regulations by adhering strictly to the guidelines and codes governing their establishment.