First Bank MD, Bisi Onasanya
While President Goodluck Jonathan and millions of Nigerians are disappointed with the dismal performance of Team Nigeria at the just concluded 2012 London Olympics, despite spending about 2.3 billion naira for the competition, yemojanews.com has learnt that some top directors and officials of First Bank are now at loggerheads over how the financial institution blew away over 800 million naira on the Olympics without any gains.
First Bank, which is the official sponsor of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) according to what we were told decided to sponsor the NOC because of the visibility and mileage the bank will get in Lomdon with about 10, 500 athletes representing about 200 nations while the competition is watched by billions of people across the globe.
We learnt that the Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of First Bank, Bisi Onabanjo bought the idea of sponsoring the NOC with the huge amount of money as the bank was expected to showcase all it’s products and services during the Olympics which kicked off on July 27 and ended on August 12, 2012.
First Bank was to offer seamless Internet banking services and make available arrays of it’s cards for transaction with the provision of ATM and Point of Sales during the games. But yemojanews.com learnt that on Saturday, August 4, 2012 which was First Banks day at the Nigerian Pavillion inside the African House, very few people came to make inquiries, talk less of making any transaction.
“Despiteq the fact that First Bank brought a popular comedian from Lagos to the event , the attendance was not impressive at all and it is because Nigerian athletes were not making any impact in all the games they competed in London. Nigerians were not even proud to declare their nationality, some were openly saying they were South Africans. So, the games affected First Bank”, our source disclosed.
Investigations conducted by yemojanews.com suggested that First Bank pumped about 800 million naira into the Olympic games project.
“First Bank signed a MOU with NOC as the sponsor but they didn’t disclose the amount involved. The bank also funded all NOC activities and also bankrolled the setting up of the Nigeria games village in London for the Olympics. Apart from that, the bank paid a huge amount of money to sprinter, Blessing Okagbare as First Bank Ambassador. I know for sure that the bank spent between 800 million to 1 billion naira”, an insider told us.
However, with the huge amount of money given to the NOC, Nigeria was unable to get a single medal. Even First Bank Ambassador at the Olympics, Blessing Okagbare came last in the 100 meters sprint final.
Meanwhile, sources claim some directors of the bank are currently blaiming the Group Managing Director, Bisi Onasanya for making the bank commit such amount of money to the failed Olympic adventure without any positive impact for the bank.
Yemojanews.com sent a text to the Head of Corporate Communications of First Bank PLC, Mrs Folake Ani Mumuney severally yesterday to shed more light on the official position of First Bank on the Olympic disaster, and she described the issues above as “patently untrue”.
But another highly placed source in First Bank told yemojanews.com that the bank spent less than the 800 million naira we quoted in our story. “FirstBank’s sponsorship was a fraction of the amount you’ve quoted and I think if any sponsor or even the government spent anything close to that, the athletes might perhaps have done better. As a responsible organization, contribution to national development through support for sports is something we are very committed to. We believe this offers a real opportunity for our youths if properly supported. My wish would be that well meaning organizations (media included) will join hands and support the drive for improved facilities and training to unleash the talent in our people”