Former Managing Director of the defunct Oceanic Bank, Mrs Cecilia Ibru, has said that former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi persecuted her because he thought “I wanted his job at the central bank but I didn’t.”
Mrs. Ibru said this in an exclusive interview with Saturday Punch, saying she was offered the nation’s top bank position, but she said no.
“My husband was sick and I needed to be with him. That was the reason, and I didn’t think much about it anymore. Remember I said I was planning to retire in March of the following year to go and stay with my husband.
“When he (Sanusi) was appointed, I congratulated him. He even told me at that time they had not given him a letter and I told him not to worry that it would come. So, these are some of the things you live through that make you stronger. Sometimes you feel hit but you have to let go,” she explained on why she declined.
When asked if she looked back at all that happened, is there anything she would wish to have done differently, she said, “To be frank with you, I would say nothing.
“I did everything with my whole heart. I genuinely wanted to help people grow their businesses and a lot of people and businesses were empowered. We floated Econet, Oando, we built MMA2, Iba Expressway, we put guarantee down to build Toll Gate and the project at the Bar Beach.
“So, we did a lot under public-private partnership and I enjoyed it because I knew that if there were about three to four banks doing what we were doing at that time, Nigeria would have been industrialised by now.
“Look at Dangote at Obajana, we did (funded) it, and it was after we had finished that we began to sell the credit to other banks; the same with Econet, MMA2 and others. I enjoyed it all because we created real and sustainable value because those businesses are still there till today.
“Looking at individuals that also benefited from the bank, we assisted people like Dapo Abiodun, Jimoh Ibrahim, (Aliko) Dangote, etc.
Mrs. Ibru stated that she is still in touch with these people but said that they don’t call her.
“They don’t call me; whether there is nothing to discuss, but I call them when I want to.”
On the lessons she had learnt about what happened to her, she said, “I learnt that you never know who your enemies are until you have a problem. That underscores the prayer that God should show us our enemies so we could do what is necessary before it is late.
“Also, I found that you are on your own when you have problems. I was deserted. Remember I said my compound and even outside the premises used to be filled with vehicles when I was in office. I mean people who needed all kinds of favour.
“One of the foremost banks in Nigeria today got the N3bn loan they used to start at that time from our bank. They came to me one day; I was even travelling that day, so I told them we should reschedule, but they insisted they had to see me that day.
“They told me they needed N3bn loan for the bank and I told them to let us meet in the office to do the paper work and go through the process. But when the problem arose, God showed me that He’s the only one you can depend on. The only person you can depend on in this world is God, and maybe a few people who are committed to you.
The former stronger woman of the Nigeria’s banking industry revealed that she have been have been “retooling and reinventing myself by taking on new challenges.”
“I’m in the education sector now, which I think is worth going into, because everything about development revolves around education.
“If done properly, our nation will not be complaining too much because human capital would have been well developed. So, that is where I am now and it’s like an experiment for me. My late husband (Michael Ibru) and I started with nursery, kindergarten, primary, secondary and now a university.
“We are trying to raise talents in a way that it would produce excellence because education across the world is not commensurate with the speed at which we are growing here. We cannot expect people to become champions overnight without being nurtured and trained, even if they have the right talents. That informed part of what we are doing with the Michael and Cecilia Ibru University.”