Dr Ken Opara was sworn in as the 22nd President/Chairman of the Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) at an event attended by industry leaders, regulators, and political office holders, and vowed to restore banking professionals’ pride and make it appealing to Generation Z.
Opara succeeded Dr Bayo Olugbemi, whose two-year tenure saw the 46-year-old body grow its membership by leaps and bounds and digitalize its operations.
He promised to build on his predecessor’s accomplishments and reform the institute. He promised that the institute’s principal business would define the future of financial intermediation, and he centred his tenure’s strategic focus on an acronym – FUTURE.
The next CIBN chief, sworn in by Justice Adesuyi Olateru-Olagbegi (rtd.) in Victoria Island, Lagos, will supervise the Institute’s affairs until 2024. Opara brings over 30 years of banking experience to bear, including credit, treasury, retail, consumer, and commercial banking, international operations, and corporate banking.
He held high executive roles in the sector while sitting on various CIBN and Central Bank of Nigeria committees (CBN). Opara, who is also the Executive Director in charge of Fidelity Bank Plc’s Lagos and Southwest Directorates, previously served as CIBN’s First Vice President and Chairman, Board of Fellows and Practice Licenses.
He sat on the CBN Mobile Collateral Registry Committee (2014–2017) and the CBN N220 billion MSME Development Fund Review Committee, among other things (2014)
In his acceptance speech, Opara expressed gratitude to the Institute’s founding fathers, who sacrificed and contributed greatly to its growth and development throughout the years.
“Our strategic focus is sculpted into FUTURE, which focuses on six important strategic pillars – financial innovation and transformation, dealing with industry risks, trade and finance partnerships”, Opara told almost 5,000 visitors from around the world.
Others are revealing new paths for membership development, reengineering and rebranding the industry’s economic model around Generation Z, as well as ethical conduct and governance.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu (represented by his commissioner for finance, Rabiu Olowo); Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele (represented by Director of Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi), a former deputy governor of CBN, Ernest Ebi, and others praised Opara’s antecedents and profiles, saying there is no doubt he will build on CIBN’s success story.
At the event, three other officeholders and six elected governing council members took their oaths of office. Prof. Pius Oladeji Olanrewaju (First Vice President), Oladele Alabi (Second Vice President), and Mojisola Bakare-Asieru were elected (National Treasurer).
Rafiat Oluwatosin Onitiri, Olayinka Alade Odutola, Victor Aguwah, Olayinka Odutola, Mary Aina, and Segun Oshadare are the new council members.