One of Nigeria’s popular financial institutions is currently getting into deep crisis, as its current and former Chief Executive Officers who are formerly buddies are now spoiling for a show down and getting set to battle each other.
Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, the immediate former MD/CEO of the bank and his successor, Ms. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, who is the current MD/CEO are now at daggers drawn, insider source revealed.
THECONSCIENCEng gathered that the board of directors of the bank has also been mired in the battle as it has lean on the side of the present MD/CEO by approving an investigation into the several activities of Okonkwo, as the head of the bank.
Inside sources within the bank disclosed that Onyeali-Ikpe, who resumed as the bank MD/CEO in January 2021, felt compelled to investigate her predecessor’s activities following a pool of information at her disposal upon resumption.
According to sources, Onyeali-Ikpe, who was believed not to be Okonkwo’s initial choice to succeed him, later learnt her former boss wasn’t favourably disposed to her choice as MD and even went about dissuading the board somewhat to instead pick his own preferred choice or so it seemed.
But the board thought otherwise and made Onyeali-Ikpe their choice.
Upon her ascension as Fidelity Bank’s Chief Executive Officer on January 1, 2021, to solidify her position at the helms of affair and to show she’s not a pushover of any sort, Onyeali-Ikpe, it was however gathered, spearheaded an investigation in order to verify there were no abnormalities in the system.
According to inside sources, she ordered all consultants hired under Okonkwo to be investigated and this led to most of the bank’s top executives believed to be Okonkwo’s loyalists quickly resigning from their positions.
While our source could not explain the reasons for the mass resignation, there were silent insinuations that Onyeali-Ikpe is actually bent on cleaning out of Fidelity Bank those she perceives or suspects to have been the loyalists of the former MD/CEO, and who she felt could undermine her or probably be spies.
“So the supposedly smart ones who expected that they could be touched negatively by the ongoing war or purge, quickly began to do the needful by resigning before they are smoked out unceremoniously,” a source said.
It was gathered that Okonkwo has been rattled by Onyeali-Ikpe’s audacity to probe his tenure as the bank’s helmsman.
Meanwhile, Okonkwo is no stranger to controversies and scandals.
It will be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had previously arrested and prosecuting Okonkwo and a certain Fidelity Bank staff for allegedly receiving $115 million from former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, during the run-up to the 2015 Presidential election.
The anti-graft agency had preferred money laundering allegations against Alison-Madueke and Okonkwo after it alleged that the controversial female ex-minister invited the former Fidelity Bank Chief to help her handle some cash, which was eventually disbursed to some electoral officials and organisations.
But for fear of becoming embroiled in yet another round of messy controversy, Okonkwo has been said to be unhappy with the latest development at the bank.
He was said not to be folding his arms and allow himself to be mirred in another unpleasant controversy, which might emanate from the internal probe ordered by the Fidelity Bank’s Board and allegedly instigated by Onyeali-Ikpe.
There are insinuations that both sides –who used to be on one side before until they parted ways acrimoniously over ambition– have made up their minds not to shift an inch for each other in this ongoing dirty war. And as the uncertainty seems to be very thick in the air, the collateral damage is already overwhelming the bank..
This may likely affect the fortune of the bank, if care is not taken to sort the matter out quickly so as to continue to keep their fidelity and deliver on the promises made to their numerous customers and investing public.