The federal government has appointed Dr Abdulsamad Rabiu, a 53-year-old business tycoon, as chairman of the Bank of Industry (BOI). It was perhaps part of the strategy to reconstitute the board of the bank with seasoned private-sector technocrats following last Friday's appointment of a new managing director/CEO for the bank: MrRasheed Olaoluwa, former managing director of UBA Capital Plc.
Rabiu, chairman of the BUA Group, which has interests in key sectors of the Nigerian economy similar to those of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Africa's richest man, recently emerged as Forbes Newest Billionaire in the November issue of the magazine.
He has investments in cement, sugar and flour and, through the group's subsidiaries he is also involved in real estate, steel, port concessions, manufacturing, oil, gas as well as shipping.
"The group also owns Nigeria's first floating terminal, the ship BUA Cement 1, a 200-metre-long vessel designed for heavy loads. In addition to his assets in the BUA Group, Rabiu owns property in Britain worth $62 million, and in South Africa worth $19 million.
Among his properties is a house in Gloucester Square in London worth nearly $16 million and a penthouse at The One & Only Hotel, in Cape Town, worth $12.6 million.
He has also bought homes from Eaton Square to Avenue Road, also known as Millionaires' Row.
Rabiu jets around the world on an eight-seater Gulfstream G550 worth $44.9 million, powered by a Rolls-Royce BR710 turbofan engine, as well as an $18-million Legacy 600 aircraft.
Abdulsamad was born in Kano to the family of renowedn businessman, Ishyaku Rabiu. His father had made his fortune from trading in the years after Nigeria's independence.
By the mid '70s, Abdulsamad's father had become quite influential. By 1983, the military coup which led to the arrest of President Shehu Shagari found Ishayku in incarceration as well.
BOI was established in October 2001 following the reconstruction of the first Nigerian development finance institution (DFI), the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank Limited (NIDB).
NIDB was established in 1964 under the guidance of the World Bank with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) holding 75 per cent equity and producing the first managing director. The equity structure was diluted in 1976 as part of the indigenization Decree.
BOI's vision is to be a leading self-sustaining development finance institution, operating under sound management and banking principles that would promote the emergence and development of a virile competitive industrial sector in Nigeria.
The core mandate of BOI is to provide financial assistance for the establishment of large, medium and small projects as well as expansion, diversification and modernization of existing
enterprises, and rehabilitation of ailing industries.
The bank's mission is to transform Nigeria's industrial sector and integrate it into the global economy by providing financial and business support services to existing and new industries to attain modern capabilities to produce goods that are competitive in both domestic and external markets.
Meanwhile, the organised private sector (OPS) yesterday called on the new BOI MD, Mr Rasheed Olaoluwa, to ensure that the bank remains a leading self-sustaining development finance institution.
The director-general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Muda Yusuf, implored the new MD to sustain the legacy of his predecessor in managing the credit administration professionally.
He urged the new MD to be fair in carrying out his duty without fear of favour and should resist pressures that could compel him to breach the laid-down rules in discharging his duty.
"He should bring in his banking experience in ensuring that the bank remains a leading self-sustaining development finance institution, " Yusuf said.
The president of Nigeria Textile Manufacturers Association, Mr Olarawaju Jaiyeola, said that the bank had been operating on a high level in the past years, and it was important to maintain the standard.
He also urged the new MD to work closely with the stakeholders in the industry just as the former MD did.
He said that the MD should work in line with the bank's mission in transforming Nigeria's industrial sector and integrate it into the global economy by providing financial and business support services to existing and new industries to attain modern capabilities to produce goods that are competitive in both domestic and external markets.
Olaoluwa resumed for duties at the bank's head office in Lagos yesterday, and was received by the former acting managing director and CEO of BOI, Mr Waheed Olagunju, alongside other members of the bank's executive management committee.
Speaking at the brief ceremony, Olaoluwa said all hands must be on deck towards ensuring that BOI strengthens its operations for global competitiveness and be at par with some of the world's leading development finance institutions.
He stated that the task of increasing the contribution of the manufacturing sector to Nigeria's gross domestic product cannot be undertaken by BOI alone. According to him, for the bank to effectively
deliver on its mandate the institution would have to work closely with other relevant stakeholders towards addressing the non-financial issues facing the manufacturing sector and micro, small and medium enterprises.
Olaoluwa added that urgent steps would have to be taken to improve on BOI's service delivery to enable it meet the unemployment challenges facing the country especially in the areas of wealth and job creation.
Before his appointment, Olaoluwa was the group chief executive officer of UBA Capital Plc, a pan-African asset management and investment banking group, from January 2013 to May 2014, and, prior to that, he was an executive director at the United Bank for Africa (UBA) between March 2008 and December 2012. This was coupled with his role as chief executive officer of UBA Africa, where he played a key role in the expansion of UBA's operations into 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa
within three years, recording exponential growth in the bank's deposit base and profitability during his tenure.
Before joining UBA in 2006, Olaoluwa's career path had taken him across Arthur Andersen where he started his career in the financial services industry, and he has held various senior roles in marketing and relationship management, treasury management, currency trading and investment banking, crowning his appointment as the managing director/chief executive officer of the erstwhile Universal Trust Bank Plc.
An associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, the new managing director/chief executive officer holds a First Class honours degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Ife, and an executive MBA degree from International Graduate School of Management (IESE), Spain.