The Igbo Story Behind First City Monument Bank

The Igbo Story Behind First City Monument Bank
Late Dr Alex Ekwueme and Otunba Michael Balogun
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During the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, many Igbo people fled other parts of the country for the East because they were being wantonly massacred and the Federal Military Government did little about it.

Many abandoned their homes, property and business for reasons safety.

One of those who fled, was a young Igbo architect who had a young Yoruba banker as a neighbour in Apapa, Lagos.

He also abandoned his home and with his family, fled for the East.

However, the young Yoruba banker, while the war raged, rented out his neighbour’s house and kept every kobo for him while he was in the East.

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In 1970, after the war had ended, the Igbo architect returned to Lagos and the Yoruba banker handed over the entire proceeds of the rent and also the house, to the Igbo architect.

A few years later, the Igbo architect became the Vice President of Nigeria and the Yoruba banker established a commercial bank; the first of its kind by a private citizen in Nigeria.

 

But he could not get a license to begin banking operations. Banking institutions stood against him.

Then the banker remembered his neighbour who was now the Vice President of Nigeria

He had tried to get an appointment to see the Vice in his office but it was without success.

He and his wife then decided to track him to the Christ Church Cathedral, Marina, Lagos on a particular Sunday.

In the Church the security men would not allow them near the Vice President.

The couple then decided to sit by the pew close to the aisle with the hope that the Vice President would see them as he walked to the front row.

Yet, he still didn’t see them.

After church service, they believed he will see them on his way out but people around him and the security men blocked them.

That was when the banker’s wife decided to take that feminine risk and pulled the Vice President’s attire to get his attention.

The Vice President turned and saw his old friend and his wife.

The young banker quickly narrated his plight and told the Vice why he needed to see him.

He told him about his application for a bank licence.

‘Don’t worry about that. Just come tomorrow’ the Vice President assured him.

At 3.00 pm the next day, the Finance Minister called the banker on telephone that his licence was ready. End of story.

That young banker was Otunba Michael Olasubomi Balogun while the architect in this narrative was Dr Alex Ekwueme. the then Vice President of Nigeria.

The bank is what is now known as First City Monument Bank (FCMB).

See…! It is good to be good… Let’s always show love and honesty to ourselves.

Allow sincerity to be your logo.

Think good and do good unconditionally.

 

Source: Anonymous

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