The management of Skye Bank PLC announced what it called the voluntary resignation of its top officers. The action followed plans by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to take over the bank due to distress arising from bad loans and insider malpractices by board members.

In a statement, the management said the CBN has approved the appointment of Alhaji M.K Ahmad as the new Chairman of the Board, and Tokunbo Abiru the new Group Managing Director and CEO. Bayo Sanni, Idris Yakubu, Markie Idowu and Abimbola Izu retain their positions as Executive Directors.

SaharaReporters learnt that the Chairman of the bank, Tunde Ayeni owed the bank at least N102 billion that had remained unpaid for several years. He was one of those who resigned.

Mr. Ayeni, who is a close associate of former President Goodluck Jonathan, had taken over what used to be Eko Bank, Bond Bank, and Prudent Bank. He then used interbank loans to buy Mainstreet Bank for N135 billion and added it to his collection to create Skye Bank.

Since coming on stream, however, the bank has been consistently abused by its owners, who collect loans without collateral, and use them to fund lavish lifestyles and the acquisition of an assortment of private companies. Ayeni, for example, bought parts of an unbundled electricity company from what used to be the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, using Skye Bank funds. At the last count, he also owned Ibadan and Yola Discos, and also acquired Nigeria Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) and also owned a private jet.

Mr. Ayeni was also a close associate of the late former governor of Bayelsa, Diepreye Solomon Alamieyeseigha, and was linked with money laundering allegations concerning the late governor. It was through Alamieyeseigha that he became close to Mr. Jonathan during his time as deputy governor. Ayeni spent months in Economic and Financial Crimes Commission detention as the agency carried out investigations into the massive theft of Bayelsa State funds, but he was never charged to court.

Other non-executive directors of the bank who owed the bank include Jason Fadeyi, the chairman of Pan Ocean Oil company, who owes N90billion.

Furthermore, several businesses with links to the bank owed large sums to it but refused to service their loans. They include Atlantic Energy, owned by Jide Omokore and fugitive Kola Aluko, which is owing N70b; Oando Oil Company, N20b; and Captain Osa Okunbo. Kola Aluko’s brother, Kunle, is among the non-executive directors who purportedly resigned from the bank’s board.

SaharaReporters sources said Heritage Bank, which is co-owned by Mr. Ayeni and Senate President Bukola Saraki, is next in line for a takeover by the Central Bank, which is also looking to force out Oba Otudeko from the board of First Bank of Nigeria due to his indebtedness of about N82billion.

In his letter of resignation, outgoing MD of Skye Bank, Timothy Ogunoye lamented that his efforts to turn the fortune of the bank was thwarted by forces within and without the bank.

Below is the press release announcing a change of guard at the bank .

Changes on the Board of Skye Bank Plc.

We wish to inform our stakeholders of recent changes on the Board of the Bank.
Earlier, the Non-Executive Directors and the two Independent Non-Executive Directors resigned their appointment on the Board as follows:

1 Dr. Olatunde Ayeni Non-Executive Director/Chairman
2 Mr. Victor Adenigbagbe Non-Executive Director
3 Dr. Jason Fadeyi Non-Executive Director
4 Mr. Babajide Agbabiaka Non-Executive Director
5 Mr. Victor Odozi Independent Non-Executive Director
6 Mr. Kunle Aluko Non-Executive Director
7 Mr. Abdul Bello Non-Executive Director
8 Mrs. Ammuna Lawan Ali Independent Non-Executive Director

The following Executive Directors also resigned their appointments on the Board with immediate effect:

1 Mr. Timothy Oguntayo Group Managing Director/CEO
2 Mrs. Amaka Onwughalu Deputy Managing Director
3 Mr. Dotun Adeniyi Executive Director
4 Mrs. Ibiye Ekong Executive Director

The CBN has approved the appointment of Alhaji M.K Ahmad as the new Chairman of the Board, while Mr. Tokunbo Abiru has been appointed as the new Group Managing Director and CEO. Messrs. Bayo Sanni, Idris Yakubu, Markie Idowu and Abimbola Izu will continue in office as Executive Directors of the Bank.

The former leadership of the Bank voluntarily resigned their positions in order to pave the way for a new team to further the new strategic direction of the Bank in the retail and commercial business space, having laid the foundations and set the necessary processes and structures. In this wise, the challenge of accelerating growth in the new strategic direction becomes more urgent and compelling, given the poor performance that we recorded in the 2015 financial year end, and the attendant challenges.

The Executive Management of the Bank also take the opportunity to most sincerely thank the former Board led by Dr. Olatunde Ayeni, and the former Management team led by Mr. Timothy Oguntayo for their service, sacrifice and dedication to this institution.

As they take their leave, we wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

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