the recent decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to remove the Boards
of FBNH and FirstBank and replace them with newly constituted alternatives,
several issues creep behind the facade of finicky corporate ethics. The banking
windowpanes appear clear behind dusty operational curtains. The revelation by
Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, that FirstBank had been
under a regime of forbearance since 2016 and was peppered with problems of
recovering insider-related loans was an admission of regulatory fogginess.
Indeed, bank analysts have noted that this was one of the clearest examples of
what industry professionals call ‘adverse selection‘ or a situation where assistance or preference is given to the least
qualified person or institution based on sentiments rather than evidence-based
governance and logic, especially where, for example, a regulator like the CBN
has more information than investors, depositors and the general public.