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Bode George: Experts affirm role of Elumelu, Wigwe, others in Africa’s devt



Tinubu celebrates Tony Elumelu as he marks 61st birthday

Chief Bode George’s recent allegations against prominent bank CEOs like the late Herbert Wigwe, Tony Elumelu, and others have drawn criticism from experts who recognize the vital role banks play in economic growth and development. These experts cautioned against baseless accusations and emphasize the importance of understanding the complexities of the financial system.

In response to Chief George’s claims, experts pointed out that the banking sector was highly regulated and played a crucial role in driving economic activity, contributing significantly to the gross domestic product. They refute the allegations as unfounded and stressed the importance of avoiding speculation, especially from respected leaders.

Mr. Olufemi Awoyemi, CEO of Proshare Nigeria Limited, highlights the detrimental effects of unfounded speculation, urging politicians and elders to exercise caution and focus on constructive dialogue rather than spreading misinformation.

Awoyemi in his article, ‘’On speculations about Banks and Bankers: When Silence is worth its weight in gold’’, and published in Proshare, said, ‘’When we reduce serious economic conversations to beer house speculation, self-re-examination becomes needful. At a time of economic rebuilding, bringing a sledgehammer to the construction site is unhelpful.

“ Banks and banking as we know it are critical in growing economies, and pitting the public against them will not serve society’s best interest”, he also said

Also, Ugodre Obi-Chukwu, founder of Nairametrics, defended the hard work and contributions of bank executives, emphasizing the importance of the financial services sector in today’s economy. He stressed the need to appreciate the value of banking and technology services in driving economic success.

“With due respect to our Daddy, this statement is clearly out of touch. You guys should leave people HW, FA, TA, JO, TOE, AI, FO, SA alone!! I may not always agree with bankers or some of their methods but to ascribe economic success to being a manufacturing company is disingenuous. You disrespect all the hard work being done with the financial services space, fintech, and technology as a whole. Do we need manufacturing in this country? Yes! But they will not do as well as banks if they do not manufacture what the world values the most. Today, the world values technology services, renewables, and financial services. And by the way, banks are by design one of the largest businesses in the world for obvious reasons. The top 20 companies in the world by profits include 8 banks,” he said

Many have testified that despite all odds, the Chairman of United Bank for Africa, Mr. Tony Elumelu has been exceptional in all ramifications.

They believe that Tony Elumelu is a titan in the world of African entrepreneurship and business leadership, with a career marked by numerous significant achievements. One of his most notable accomplishments is the founding of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) in 2010. Through this initiative, Elumelu has demonstrated his commitment to fostering entrepreneurship across Africa. The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, launched in 2015, has empowered thousands of African entrepreneurs by providing them with training, mentorship, and funding to transform their innovative ideas into successful businesses. This program has had a profound impact on the African business landscape, creating jobs, driving economic growth, and inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs.

Beyond his philanthropic efforts, Tony Elumelu has made remarkable strides in the banking and financial services sector. As the former CEO of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Elumelu played a pivotal role in transforming the bank into one of Africa’s leading financial institutions. Under his leadership, UBA expanded its presence across Africa and beyond, becoming a key player in the continent’s banking industry.

UBA is today the leading sub-Saharan African bank with over 21 million customers, 20,000 employees, and 1000 branches across African countries.

Elumelu’s strategic vision and innovative approach to banking have earned him widespread recognition and acclaim, solidifying his reputation as a trailblazer in the financial sector.

Mr. Peterside Atedo, former Chairman, Stanbic IBTC always insisted that the survival and sustenance of any bank depend on adequate successive plans. Elumelu, whose vision is that UBA out lives many generations to come is touted to be a master in ensuring that succession in the bank is not only strategic but also seamless.

He has groomed a lineup of young men who have seamlessly succeeded one another in the financial powerhouse.

“I am proud of how as a Group, we have been able to further consolidate the new capabilities we have built, novel customer solutions we have deployed, efficiency gains recorded, and the growth prospects we have leveraged from a recovering world.

These were the building blocks for the very strong financial performance and the growth delivered by your Group in 2021, further confirming the wisdom of the investments we made and the strategy we have pursued, to ensure the diversification and sustainability of our business model.”said Elumelu last year at UBA’s 60th AGM.


Elumelu’s influence extends beyond the realms of entrepreneurship and banking; he has also been a driving force in advocating for economic development and inclusive growth in Africa. Through various initiatives and engagements, he has consistently championed the importance of entrepreneurship, private sector investment, and sustainable development as catalysts for Africa’s prosperity. Elumelu’s efforts to promote economic empowerment and poverty alleviation have earned him accolades from global leaders and institutions, further cementing his status as a leading voice for African business and development.

“I have had the great privilege of working with Tony in the past, through our Foundations and in particular the Blair-Elumelu Fellowship Programme. I have always come away from spending time with him, inspired, energized, and grateful for his wisdom and insights’’. Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, had said of Tony in recognition of his efforts to make the world a better place.

In addition to his business acumen and philanthropic endeavors, Tony Elumelu has emerged as a prominent advocate for corporate governance and leadership excellence in Africa. As the chairman of Heirs Holdings, a leading investment company, and Transcorp, a diversified conglomerate, Elumelu has spearheaded efforts to promote transparency, accountability, and ethical business practices across his organizations. By setting high standards for corporate governance and integrity, Elumelu has played a pivotal role in enhancing investor confidence and driving sustainable growth in African markets.

Bode George: Experts affirm role of Elumelu, Wigwe, others in Africa's devt

Group CEO, Access Corporation, Herbert Wigwe

“Tony O. Elumelu is one of the greatest entrepreneurs, innovators, and thinkers to emerge from Africa. I am confident that he will continue to lead Transcorp Plc to new levels of rapid advancement and superior performance in the hospitality, power, energy, oil and gas, and technology industries,” Former Anambra Guber Aspirant Val Ozigbo said.

Tony Elumelu’s major achievements span the fields of entrepreneurship, banking, economic development, and corporate governance. Through his visionary leadership, philanthropy, and advocacy, he has made significant contributions to Africa’s business landscape and the continent’s journey towards prosperity and self-reliance. As a role model and inspiration to countless entrepreneurs and business leaders, Elumelu continues to leave an indelible mark on Africa’s present and future trajectory.

Recognising Elumelu’s unique entrepreneurship prowers, Bismark Rewane, one of Nigeria’s leading investment analysts and Chief Executive Office Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) and an unapologetic Elumelu admirer notes, ”I think that Tony Elumelu’s entrepreneurship project is not only unique but it is visionary. It touches the delicate essence of the drive for a reinvented Africa with a thriving entrepreneurial class and culture.” According to him, ‘the Nigerian business class has been known to be selfish, monopolistic and opportunistic but this makes a clean break from the common mold. This is totally different from the narrow-minded and short-sighted entrepreneurial character familiar to these climes. One can only give Tony credit. And coming from a minority Nigerian background with its attendant baggage and disadvantage this is truly a gift of love demonstrating confidence and commitment in Africa and in its common humanity. One thing about Tony is that whatever he thinks about and decides on, he implements. He is a sucker for execution”.

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