When Mrs. Ibukun Awosika was made Chairman of First Bank a few years back, many didn’t know she was going to be able to turn around the bank for good, the way she has done. This is because many thought since she wasn’t a banker, it might not be easy for her to run this behemoth of a bank set up in 1984. She was only a big successful corporate player who is quite good in business. But today under her chairmanship First Bank has not only regained its leadership position. 1st bank is the bank to beat.
Don’t forget that First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 125 years.
With over 750 business locations and over 57,000 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 15 million customers. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing. The Bank has been nimble at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such a milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 9million people on its USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# banking code and over 3 million people on FirstMobile platform.
Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership.
Over the years, First Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.
FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. The bank’s brand purpose is to always put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of its business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with their brand vision “To be the partner of the first choice in building your future”. First Bank brand promises are to always deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence.
This commitment is anchored on its inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.
Let’s tell you about Ibukunoluwa Abiodun Awosika born Bilkisu Abiodun Motunrayo Omobolanle Adekola on December 24, 1962, is a Nigerian businesswoman, author and motivational speaker. She currently serves as Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria.
Born as the third child of seven children in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, Ibukun completed her primary and secondary school education at St. Pauls African Church Primary School, Lagos and Methodist Girls’ High School, Yaba respectively before she proceeded to the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University where she graduated with a B.Sc in Chemistry. She holds post-graduate and MBA certificates upon the completion of several business programmes at the Lagos Business School and IESE Business School.
While on her compulsory one-year National Youth Service Corps service, Ibukun worked as an audit trainee at Akintola Williams & Co. upon her love for architecture before she left for Alibert Nigeria Ltd. as showroom manager. In her quest to be independent, she established a furniture manufacturing company called Quebees Limited in 1989 before it evolved into The Chair Centre Limited and later SOKOA Chair Centre Limited following a venture merger with SOKOA S.A and Guaranty Trust Bank in 2004.
A fellow of the African Leadership Initiative and Aspen Global Leadership Network, Ibukun is a member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, member of the board of Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund and former Chairperson, Board of Trustees of Women in Management, Business and Public Service. In 2011, she co-founded the Afterschool Graduate Development Centre, a career centre established in order to checkmate the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria. On September 7, 2015, Ibukun became the first woman to be appointed Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria following the resignation of Prince Ajibola Afonja. Ibukun Awosika is member of IESE’s International Advisory Board (IAB). She also sits on the board of Digital Jewel Limited and Cadbury Nig Plc.
In 2008, Ibukun was among five Nigerian entrepreneurs who appeared in the first African version of the Dragon’s Den. She also hosts a T.V programme called Business His Way. She is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Chair Centre Group. The companies within the group include The Chair Centre Limited, Sokoa Chair Centre Limited, Furniture Manufacturers Mart, TCC Security Systems and Cubes and Boxes Limited. These companies are involved in manufacturing, retail and bank-way security systems services.
Ibukun chairs a number of corporate and not-for-profit boards amongst which are: House of Tara International and Afterschool Graduate Development Centre (AGDC), a facility which she promoted to help address youth employability and enterprise issues in Nigeria. She sits on the boards of Digital Jewel Limited, Cadbury Nigeria Plc., Convention on Business Integrity (CBI) and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority. She was Chairman, FBN Life Assurance Limited, FBN Capital Limited and Kakawa Discount House Limited.
Ibukun is a graduate of Chemistry from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Nigeria; an alumna of the Chief Executive Programme of Lagos Business School; the Global Executive MBA of IESE Business School, Barcelona-Spain; and Global CEO Programme of Wharton, IESE and China European International Business School (CEIBS).
With high interest in social issues, including women, Ibukun is a co-founder and past chairperson of Women in Business, Management and Public Service (WIMBIZ). An ordained Pastor and founder of the Christian Missionary Fund, Ibukun, through this faith-based organization, works with hundreds of missionaries spread across Nigeria to change lives with the provision of medical, educational, and other supplies.
As a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative, Aspen Global Leadership Network, Institute of Directors and Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria, Ibukun, through her projects aspires to use her opportunities in life to further the greatness of her dear country by raising entrepreneurs to create jobs for the large unemployed youthful population.
She is a member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), served on National Job Creation Committee (NJCC), and sits on the International Advisory Board of IESE Business School, Barcelona-Spain.
Ibukun is a multiple award-winning entrepreneur and the first Nigerian recipient of the prestigious International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Award as a nominee of the US Department of State in 2008. She loves to watch investigative and legal series in her leisure time. She is happily married to Abiodun Awosika and they are blessed with three wonderful sons.