The Power Of One Man: Celebrating Soludo’s Transformational Impact On Nigerian Banking

Soludo

By Christian ABURIME

In a grand celebration held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, luminaries from Nigeria’s political and financial spheres gathered to honour a significant milestone in the nation’s banking history. The launch of Dr. Ray Echebiri’s new book, “The Power of One Man: How Soludo-Engineered Consolidation Transformed Nigerian Banks To Global Players,” marked the 20th anniversary of former CBN governor and now Governor of Anambra State, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo’s landmark reforms in Nigeria’s financial sector.

The event, graced by notable figures such as former President Olusegun Obasanjo, represented by former Cross River State Governor Donald Duke, and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, was a tribute to the profound and lasting impact of Soludo’s tenure as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Obasanjo, in his remarks, highlighted the indispensable role of teamwork and government support in realising such transformative policies. “As the title of the book says, without the team we cannot win the match; the captain is Soludo, with his team, and I take pride in all the team,” he said.

Governor Sanwo-Olu echoed this sentiment, urging the current CBN leadership to draw lessons from the past to navigate present challenges. “You are on the right track of doing it right; we hope you will complete it and stand tall without minding any stumbling block. This book is coming at this time when there is a need for all economy experts, bankers, businessmen, politicians, and leaders to reflect on the required solutions we need to make better decisions,” he stated.

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Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State emphasized the critical need for competent leadership in public office. He praised Soludo’s academic and professional prowess, noting that “Soludo was not an accidental CBN governor because he was so cerebral that he won several prizes all through in his academics.”

The man of the hour, Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State, reflected on the tumultuous journey of banking consolidation. He revealed the personal sacrifices and risks involved, including threats that forced his family into exile. “It was a dangerous ‘gambling and war,’ but today we could write about it. My gratitude goes to the author of this book and I appreciate my major incredible team,” Soludo remarked. He underscored the revolutionary impact of the reforms, stating, “The revolution changed the Nigerian banking system forever. As a leader, you must be self-sacrificing and ready to pay the price to avoid personal interest.”

The event’s chairman, Professor Akpan Ekpo, former Director-General of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management, underscored the significance of quality leadership in driving systemic changes. “Soludo is part of the ‘change and power of one man.’ During the consolidation exercise, there were a lot of challenges but he took the courage which made our banking system become a major player,” Ekpo noted.

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The launch also saw contributions from other dignitaries, including Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, former Governor of Ekiti State, and Mr. Ahmad Mu’azu, former Governor of Bauchi State. The 263-page book was reviewed by Mr. Azu Ishiekwene, Senior Vice-Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Leadership Newspapers, who praised its comprehensive documentation of Soludo’s reforms.

“The Power of One Man” serves not only as a commemoration of past achievements but also as a strident call for continued innovation and excellence in Nigeria’s banking sector that is also in need of a new consolidation exercise today. As Nigeria grapples with contemporary economic challenges, the lessons from Soludo’s era offer a ray of hope and a blueprint for future progress.

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