Tributes

Segun Adeyeye

OTUNBA SUBOMI BALOGUN: THE CHRISTIAN LAWYER WHO CONQUERED BANKING GOES HOME IN A BLAZE OF GLORY

Earlier this month one of the most accomplished Nigerians and an entrepreneurial banker of gigantic repute; Otunba(Dr) Michael Olasubomi Olayiwola Oladimeji Olaonipekun Balogun passed on to eternal glory. Born 9th March, 1934 at Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State, the son of a Court Clerk, he had his secondary education at the famous Igbobi College, Yaba Lagos where he obtained the Cambridge School Certificate in 1952. He thought in a Secondary School for a year before proceeding to the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE) to study Law in 1956 after having passed with distinctions at the GCE Advanced Level as one of the pioneer students of the Nigerian College of Arts Science & Technology, Ibadan. He graduated from the LSE with Second Class Honours Degree in June 1959 and was called to the English Bar in December 1959.

Under the sponsorship of the then Western Nigeria Regional Government, he was the first Nigerian to receive special training in Legal Drafting in Whitehall and the City of London with particular specialisation in financial legislation, instruments and agreements. He subsequently served as Crown Counsel at both the Ministry of Justice of the then Western Nigeria and later as Assistant Parliamentary Counsel in the Federal Ministry of Justice in Lagos.

Between 1966 and 1975, he was the Principal Counsel and Company Secretary to the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB). During this period, he received extensive trainings at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) now known as the World Bank. It was these trainings and exposure to finance matters that opened the mind of the then budding Lawyer to the treasure trove of opportunities in finance beyond the usual going to court. He also received extensive trainings from leading Stockbrokers, Investment Banks and Merchant Banks in London and New York. In 1973, he was appointed the Director in Charge of operations of Icon Securities Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of NIDB. During his time, under the direction of the Managing Director, he spearheaded the conversion of Icon Securities into a Merchant Bank. He was also instrumental to the establishment of Icon Stockbrokers Limited, a foremost stockbroking firm which he subsequently headed. Following the establishment of Icon Limited (Merchant Bankers), he was seconded to the bank as an Executive Director.

After he was unfairly passed over as the Chief Executive of the new bank, the birth of which he had worked assiduously for on account of being a Lawyer and not a core banking person, he took courage and with only a seed capital of N60,000 and an unshakeable faith in God, resigned his position, to set up his own Company, City Securities Limited (CSL) which was the first institution in Nigeria to combine Issuing House and Stockbroking business under one roof.

His big break came during the Nigerian Indigenisation(privatisation) programme when his burgeoning firm was solely saddled with the responsibility of selling the shares of such A list oil companies as Mobil, Total and Texaco among others. By the end of that exercise, he had put against his name and that of his company, the public sale of shares of about 11 international companies and the private sale of shares of over 20 foreign companies.

In 1982, he founded First City Merchant Bank (FCMB) the first Nigerian owned Merchant Bank without foreign technical partnership.

In the year 2000, as part of the process of expansion of its services to universal banking, the bank changed its name to First City Monument Bank and was one of the shining lights of the subsequent Central Bank of Nigeria induced Bank consolidation programme that has seen it evolve into an even bigger banking institution.

Having pioneered the concept of entrepreneurial banking in Nigeria, Otunba Balogun became a mentor to a whole generation of bankers in Nigeria. It is a testament to his generosity of spirit that he openly shared the nuances and intricacies of entrepreneurial banking with his band of proteges, not minding that they could go ahead to set up competing institutions and in response, he was highly revered by a generation of Nigerian Bankers who constantly deferred to and eulogised him at every turn in his lifetime and now in death left no one in doubt that he was their mentor, it was therefore not for nothing that he was widely regarded as ‘The Grand Master of Nigerian Banking.

When the time came to evolve into universal banking and a name change was necessitated and he "rechristened" his bank; First City MONUMENT Bank, some critics went to town questioning the Chief's audacity or bonafide to so name his institution. Those critics were roundly and rightly condemned, on the ground that what Otunba Balogun has done for indigenous banking in Nigeria up to that point has not only been ground breaking, but nothing short of monumental.

Besides his indelible footprints in the banking world, one of the resounding legacies the Otunba left behind are his children. There’s a saying that Children are the letters we write to a future we will not feature in. In his four Sons: Bolaji, Babajide, Ladipupo and Gboyega; Otunba Balogun has successfully written his own letters, but the remarkable thing is that the future didn’t have to wait, as in his lifetime those letters were being read and clearly understood by his generation.

Raising resourceful and responsible children as successors has often proved difficult for most empire builders; successors who will continue to hold the touch and step into the shoes of their illustrious founders and even go beyond what their progenitors accomplished. The corporate landscape is littered with the carcases of once thriving companies led by entrepreneurs who in their lifetimes built great enterprises but who unfortunately at their passing, their shoes became too big for their successors to step into and so could not match the vision and dexterity of the founders, leaving once great institutions lying either in ruinsor prostrate.

However, by the grace of God and his legendary stern discipline, our dear Otunba Balogun characteristically made light work of that seemingly tough task by raising four sons who are not only raising the bar at the FCMB powerhouse but have even successfully spread their tentacles into other financial services. The Ijebu Chief must have been justifiably proud seeing this in his lifetime.

He was a straight shooter who never suffered fools gladly. He never prevaricated on issues and with him, you know where he stood per time.

On the subject of his faith, since his conversion to Christianity as a 14-year-old at Igbobi college, Otunba Balogun lived throughout with the philosophy that Christ is the foundation of everything and that with God nothing is impossible.

At every stage of his life and career, he left no one in doubt of his allegiance to Jesus Christ. He was something of a Crusader in the banking hall.

As the Asiwaju of Ijebu Christians, he was for years the leader and rallying point for all Christians within the Ijebu territory and beyond. His Ijebu-Ode abode was always a converging point through the popular annual Thanksgiving Service.

He once described his attachment to the white colour in his dressing as a reflection of his spirituality. To him, white connotes purity and cleanliness.

On the subject of dressing, from a young man, the Otunba was widely known for his sartorial elegance, always well turned out in his pinstriped suits for his official engagements and his signature white flowing gown for social events and was once described by the late Nigerian Attorney General Chief Bola Ige as the best dressed Nigerian of his generation. Very few who knew the revered Chief in his lifetime would question that assertion.

Besides banking, undoubtedly the next most absorbing engagement of Otunba Balogun was his philanthropic activities. His main pre-occupation was the health care of Children. He was the first person to endow the Children Hospital in the University College (UCH) Ibadan. He also spent a billion naira in building a teaching hospital for sick Children at the National Paediatric Centre in Ijebu- Ode, reputed to be one of the best equipped on the African Continent.

Throughout his life, he stuck to his abiding belief that one should live a life of service to one's God and humanity and that if God has endowed anyone with a lot of the things of life, he owes a duty to make an effort to return quite a lot of it to the society, a creed he lived till he breathed his last.

GOOD NIGHT!!! Otunba Tunwase

The Olori Omo Oba Akile of Ijebu land

May your enterprising and benevolent soul rest peacefully in the LORD

Pastor Babatunde Olanrewaju FOLARIN

OUR FATHER HAS GONE TO SLEEP WITH THE LORD When you see a father, The attributes speaks. Otunba Olasubomi Michael Balogun is a father to too many of us in Christiandom. He is a rare gem and a sound Role Model father. To us in Ijebu ode Central 1 Province of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), You too much than a father; even though, you couldn't complete our discussion on the next level. I m more than grateful for the Priceless gift of ideas and advise you gave me in my encounter with you sir. To us in Christ Grace Salvation Church, Edinburgh Rd beside Tunwase Court of ijebu ode, we are mourning your demise. Our Great Papa and Mentor.. We bid you farewell to the Bossom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sun Re ooo Baba wa Oninu ire. You're legacy stand all test of times and season and we are living witnesses. Adieu! You lived a lifestyle worthy of Emulation. We are proud of you and your sterling qualities. To many lives too numerous you have impacted. Your memories live on. Otunba Michael Olasubomi Balogun is living in our hearts. From your loving godson Pastor Comrade Tunde Folarin Governor PFN ijebu ode Central 11 PIC, Christ Grace Salvation Church international, Ijebu Ode. National President, Private Schools Tutors Union of Nigeria (PRISCTUN)

Glarie Gao | Huawei

Dr. Otunba Michael Olasubomi Balogun, CON, founder of FCMB, led a pioneer way in Banking Industry. With a heavy and gratitude to the will of mighty God, I pray his rest in peace. Full of his life was contributed in Banking by work hard. I’m grateful for what he had done for this world. Rest In Peace, Amen.

Adebambo Olatunde

One thing i admire in Otunba Subomi Balogun is that any time he granted interview he consistently give glory to God for what He has helped him to achieve in life, for me , he knew it's not by power nor by might, but by the grace of almighty God, may his soul rest in peace.

Pastor David Oluwamuyiwa ATOLOYE

My father, it is true that I never had the chance to meet you in real life while you were alive, but your great exploit and wonderful deeds speaks volume of such a great uncle of mine that I am so proud of. A true son of Oba Tunwase, your princely persona and regal charisma speaks volume of a memory that will last forever in the minds of all those that your Philanthropist gestures and life's style impacted and including all those that admires you from afar. You upheld the tenet of your faith in Christ which you embraced since your University days in UK and your dealings and lifestyle did shows the content of your Christ' Character indeed in all you do. I am so proud to call you my father, and indeed you are because my great grand parent as told, are from the Tunwase dynasty and related to you. My kins from the Ekerin ATOLOYE family, a direct decendant of Oba Tunwase, have had to travel down from Ikorodu, not once, not twice to meet and have a re-union with their uncle - Chief Otunba Michael SIBOMI BALOGUN; and your warm welcome and hospitality that they received from you each time, were told to us the rest of the family with great excitement! I, Pastor David Oluwamuyiwa ATOLOYE of the Ekerin ATOLOYE dynasty join in honouring the memory of my great uncle today. Baami, once again, I say I am proud of you. SUN RE OOO PASTOR DAVID OLUWAMUYIWA ATOLOYE

Pro. Iretiola Olubanke Jagun ( Chief Bere - Ekisola Descendants Imupa- Ijebu Ode)

Otunba Dr. Michael Olasubomi Balogun CON was a distinguished ICON of purpose with greatness flowing through his veins, a very hard working personality who touched so many lives, lived a fulfilled life, a jewel of inestimable value who worshiped his creator in earnest and believed in the efficacy of prayer. Otunba Balogun, was a great family man who would never miss out in the yearly christmas carol, in his house with all his children and grandchildren. He was a humble man per excellence, with a well-disciplined nature, his distinguished simplicity gave him the glamour and charisma among his mates. He showed due respects to those who he came in contact with. Otunba Balogun, is a father in a million, who believes much in education towards attaining great heights. The vacuum his death has created would be a rare one to fill. I pray God in His infinite mercy consoles his wife, his children and grand children . May God grant his soul repose. Amen.

Olufemi Adebiyi, PhD; Executive Assistant to CCEO, 1998-2003

I had the privilege of working very closely with Otunba as his Executive Assistant over a period five years. It was a mentoring period for me, learning and/or improving many virtues such as diligence, cerebral response to issues, cute and smart dress sense, and doggedness to worthy cause, regardless of challenges and hurdles. Otunba taught me the power of focus and resilience plus consummate entrepreneurship. The bank had a major issue during my time, but four outstanding virtues of Otunba helped us to pull through: faith in God, resourcefulness, integrity of purpose and forward thinking. These attributes explained why FCMB survived the inclement Nigerian business environment that swallowed other banks founded by individuals in Nigeria. I cannot complete this tribute without acknowledging Otunba's love for those he saw as his confidant, no matter the age differential or status. It was my 50th Birthday and one year after I have left the bank. I sent an invitation to Otunba who was then on medical vacation in the United Kingdom. He first directed Dr. Jonathan Long (the then MD) to come to the event and represent him. Then on the D-Day, Otunba gave me the surprise of my life: he suddenly showed up: he flew in to personally attend and returned to the UK after the event! And he made a stunning remark as the Chair of occasion, which my late father never forgot till he went to glory -

Biyi orilabawaye

Otunba Olasubomi Balogun was undoubtedly a great man, a foremost banker, decent, disciplined, and brilliant. For many years, his autobiography was like a Bible to me! My condolences to all his sons and his very beautiful wife.

John Omuederiaye

Dear Baba, You were elegant and classically flamboyant, graced with love and leadership as you played multiple roles during your well lived life time. You had an unwavering commitment to excellence in everything single you did. Your life was truly awe-inspiring, your presence and guidance enriched the lives of those of us fortunate enough to have crossed paths with you as you left an indelible mark on our lives. Sir, you were a pillar of strength and compassion. We your children are truly blessed to have had you as our role model. You shared your life story with all of us and also created a nurturing environment where we all felt supported, encouraged, and empowered to pursue our dreams as we grew and started achieving milestones we once thought were out of reach. You possessed a rare blend of humility (but stood for whatever you wanted), wisdom, and a genuine interest in the well-being of all around you. You were always ready with a listening ear, a comforting word, or a timely piece of advice. Your ability to connect with people was a testament to your remarkable empathy and compassion. Though we mourn your departure, we celebrate your life and legacy because we know you have gone to be with our Lord. You will forever hold a special place in our hearts, and your memory will continue to inspire us to be the best versions of ourselves. We love you Baba, but Jesus loves you more. So rest in peace, rest in the Lord, till we meet again. John Omuederiaye

Bolanle

Otunba made a profound impact in the Financial sector. FCMB stands tall among the best financial institutions. Long live all the investments long live the beautiful memories of Otunba, grand Pa Olasubomi Balogun.

Prof. Olukemi A Odukoya FAS

FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS! Our Patriarch and the Founder of FCMB, Otunba Michael Olasubomi Balogun, CON, lovingly called Bami Otunba, Daddy Otunba amongst family members in Ijebu; the Olori Omo Oba Akile Ijebu and Asiwaju of ljebu Christians, transited on to eternity and joined the saints triumphant, in the evening of Thursday 18th May 2023, in London, United Kingdom. Oh what a day! Bami Otunba, Words seem to be feeble in moments like this. The loss of a father no matter how old he is changes one’s life forever. Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Bami Otunba, your voice is still within us, for what it meant to lose you no one will ever know. You were a father whose worth can never be told. There’s a place in our hearts no one can fill. We miss you and will always miss you! It is great to see so many people from Banking, Government and Industry at home coming to honour our father. Even though of different ages and all kinds of jobs and interests, it is certain that they all have one thing in common: their admiration to honour a man, a philanthropist, who was an embodiment of Grace and Greatness. He understood early in life that the true essence of wealth is achieved only when it is deployed to the service of humanity, especially the less privileged. A man of proven immense wealth who is highly regarded, respected and honoured in the society, the honour bestowed on Otunba ‘Subomi Balogun does not, however, stem from the immensity of his wealth, but from the good use to which he has put this wealth for the service of humanity. I have known Bami Otunba all my life and am not going to think of him as gone away as his journey has just begun. The profound thing about death is that even though some physical bonds are broken, love never dies. How can I forget travelling back from London to Lagos in February, 1995, on a British Airways flight WT 541. I was looking very frail and exhausted having just finished my courses of cancer therapies. The flight was delayed but you left the comfort of where you were and kept on coming to check on me in the common open lounge and I wondered, Wao the agony of a father!. Those Gatwick moments were good memories of your loving kindness. Bami Otunba, your influence was limitless, like ripples in the water, every thought I have about you is limitless. I did not underestimate the power of your simple kind action, neither the simple influence of your gaze, your smile, nor the way you moved. I also remember very well, the divine revelation that you shared with me on the transformation from First City Merchant Bank to First City Monument Bank. I continued and still continue to marvel. Indeed FCMB standing as Monuments like a treasure to appreciate the past and the level of development to engineer the future in Banking. Bami, True to your words as you often said, when the final call comes, 'I will just open my hands and say, God, here I am'. You gracefully, opened your hands wide and received by the saints on Thursday 18th May, 2023! Though this life chapter is ending, you live forever in our hearts. I am thinking of you as resting in a higher place of warmth and comfort, where there are no days and years. I am thinking of you as a highly loved living, and nothing loved is ever lost. You will continue to live in our hearts with loving memories of your legacy. We should all remember there is a reason the good Lord gave us memories…… We shall all hold to them tightly. I pray that we all find comfort in his memories. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” Isaiah 43:2. To Olori Abimbola Balogun, you will miss a cherished love, confidant and great companion! To Mummy Ronke Atere, Broda was a great inspiration comforter! To the Children and Grandchildren, let your hope and aspiration be in a brighter tomorrow! To the entire Borogun, Ikuyajesin, Odunuga and Tunwasen descendants, (Borogun o pemeji and Ikuyajesin noga!), the Lord will comfort us all. As Christians, know that death is not the end. We have so much to look forward to as a blissful eternity awaits us all. The Lord will grant him eternal rest. Adieu Bami Otunba!!! All is well! With love that never fails.

Olatunde Gbolagun

Your life is an epitome of God's grace and glory. May your soul rest in perfect peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God Almighty comfort the entire family of Otunba Subomi Balogun.

Rita Aghware

Otunba you lived to give Us a platform to rise. Though we miss you here, Heaven has gained a Soul.. Sunrè Daddy

Kofo Majekodunmi

The passing of a loved one precipitates an opportunity and situation where we are enjoined to crystallise our thoughts and emotions of the dear, faithful departed. Otunba Balogun was truly a Colossus and an inspiration to several generations of bankers. He built a strong financial institution that occupies its own clear & enviable position in the financial industry today, nationally and abroad. And encounter with him produced the same result; a warm, friendly and accommodating smile and disposition. Otunba Balogun shared many intersecting relationships with his children, (he had a very good relationship with my late parents, Chief Dr M.A Majekodunmi & Chief Mrs Katsina Majekodunmi) and they shared mutual affection and respect for each other. As painful as his departure must be to the entire family, a strong feeling of pride, and satisfaction at Otunba’s indelible and significant achievements, as well as the fond memories of a true patriarch will slowly but surely occupy centre stage, and supplant and overcome any other emotion. My heartfelt sympathy to Auntie, on the loss of Otunba,and may the Almighty continue to comfort and abide with her. I join my good friend Bolaji, and his brothers, Jide, Ladi and Gboyega in celebrating the life and times of a great father, grandfather, husband, mentor and inspirational Nigerian.

Hon. Tola OLUTAYO

Late Otunba Olasubomi Balogun, CON, FIoD was a true giant of Banking Industry and a Visionary, Compassionate and Fantastic Leader. His contributions to the development of Nigerian & Africa economy will never be forgotten. May his gentle soul rest in peace. Amen E - Signed : - Hon. Tola OLUTAYO, arpa, mapm. CEO : - Amtoltek Outdoor Media. 08137893546