By Lucky Fiakpa
The commitment of the bank to infrastructure development and poverty alleviation across the country appears irreversible as it opens new branch at Ijebu Ode with a promise to join forces with the Awujaleâ€™s palace to strengthen the poverty alleviation programme and make the people to be more economic self-reliant, Lucky Fiakpa writes
Oceanic Bank International Plc could wellÂ Â Â pass as one of the Federal GovernmentÂ Â Â agencies charged with the task of seeing to the upgrade of infrastructure across the country given its commitment to the subject. The Group Managing Director of the bank, Dr. (Mrs.) Cecilia Ibru, believes the development of infrastructure would invariably lead to the eradication of poverty among the citizenry and has decided to deploy resources in this direction. Fired by this passion, the twin issues of poverty eradication and infrastructure development has continued to top the priority of the bank in the task of growing Nigeriaâ€™s economy and building a self-reliant nation.
This much was said by Dr. Ibru during the commissioning of the Ijebu-Ode branch of the bank. She said all efforts of the bank as a corporate entity has been focused on how to reduce poverty among the people and build infrastructure that supports the growth of the nationâ€™s economy.
She argued that the only way out of the economic doldrums currently facing the nation is for business establishments to compliment government and partner government in the provision of public infrastructure which are lacking presently if the nation is to achieve its aim of being among the top twenty economies in the world by year 2020.
The managing director stated that the bank had entered into partnership with various state governments in the area of infrastructure financing as well as disbursement of micro credits to entrepreneurs and other businesses to help them grow and contribute to the economic development of the country.
The Oceanic Bank boss recalled the successes recorded in the partnership between the Bank, Central Bank of Nigeria and the Delta State Government through the novel product called the Delta-Oceanic Micro Credit Account (DOMSA), a product through which so many entrepreneurs have been funded to acquire new technologies for production.
She also noted the partnership arrangement the bank signed with the Ogun State Government to provide affordable houses adding that the bank was already constructing the Ibara Housing Estate for the people of the state.
Dr. Ibru assured that the bank would do all it can to join forces with the Awujaleâ€™s palace to strengthen the poverty alleviation programme and make the people to be more economic self-reliant.
She expressed satisfaction that the bank had enjoyed the patronage of all segment of the population due mainly to its deployment of people oriented services and products tailored to suit the individual needs of the customers.
The bank boss explained that the decision of the bankâ€™s management to have branches in every part of the country including Ijebu-Ode was part of the bankâ€™s expansion drive and in furtherance of its objective of being the number one neighbourhood bank that is within the reach of every bank customer.
Meanwhile, a team of the Obas and Chiefs led by the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona to the commissioning ceremony lauded of the management of Oceanic Bank International for its focus and deftness which he said has given the financial institution an edge in the industry.
Oba Adetona who was speaking while commissioning the model branch of the bank in Ijebu Ode pledged the loyalty and patronage of the people of Ijebuland and Ogun state in general saying the Ijebus would identify with the bank especially at this time of economic challenges.
He explained that the exploits of the bank in the banking industry was an attestation to the administrative acumen of the management and that the bank has presented itself as over the years as a dependable partner in the area of commerce and industry.
The monarch who was visibly elated at the achievement of the bank called for a partnership from the bank with the people of Ijebuland in the area of micro credit scheme which his Palace has been administering as a poverty alleviation strategy. He said â€œOceanic bank must partner with us on the poverty reduction programme we run here, that is the Ijebu Development Board on Poverty Reduction.â€
â€œWe have heard of what Oceanic Bank is doing in some states especially as it concerns poverty reduction through financial empowerment of the people, here in Ijebu-Ode, Oceanic should come and do same thing here, the recovery rate is very impressive, therefore the bank has nothing to fear.
We know if the bank helps deploy its finest tradition of quality financial services and products, we would jointly reduce poverty among the people,â€ the monarch pleaded.
The Oba particularly noted the business acumen of the bankâ€™s Group Managing Director, Dr. Cecilia Ibru, saying her commendable performance has distinguished her as an accomplished banker and the only woman standing in the delicate industry as banking and finance.
The decision of Oceanic Bank to open a model branch in Ijebu-Ode according to him was long over due given the status of the ancient city as a centre of commerce and industry not only in the state but in the entire South-Western part of the country.
Oba Awujale pointed out that the Ijebus are noted for their industry and now that the bank has opened its branch in the city, â€œplease put in place products and services that will help the entrepreneurs in the city, and you will see that the opening of this branch is a wise decision.â€