By NBF News
Click for Full Image Size

Bearing any last minute change, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) may, by Monday, submit the name of Mr. Fola Adeola, former managing director/chief executive officer of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) or Mr. Ernest Ebi, ex-deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as running mate to Malam Nuhu Ribadu, its presidential candidate.

According to the election timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political parties have up till Monday, February 21, to substitute the name of any presidential or vice presidential candidate earlier submitted. The ACN had submitted the name of Dr. Stanley Ugochukwu, from the South East, before the deadline for the submission of the names of the presidential candidates and their running mates expired earlier in the month.

Saturday Sun gathered that the name of Ugochukwu was submitted to fulfil the requirement, while the ACN shops for the right running mate to Ribadu.

Reliable sources close to the ACN revealed that with the deadline for the substitution of candidates' names fixed for Monday, the leadership and other stakeholders in the political party met in Abuja, within the week, to decide who would eventually run with Ribadu in presidential election scheduled for April 9.

It was gathered that the choice of another vice presidential candidate became necessary, as attempts to woo former minister of finance and managing director of the World Bank, Prof. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to pair with Ribadu in the presidential election failed.

At the Abuja meeting, it was gathered, the names of Adeola and Ebi came up for consideration. Sources revealed that the choice of Ribadu's running mate was narrowed to the duo because the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) insisted that he wants a deputy, who is knowledgeable on the economy.

It was learnt that majority of those who attended the ACN meeting expressed preference for Ebi, for two reasons. The first reason adduced was the fact that he's from the South East, as those who favour him believe that a North-South East ticket would be better for Ribadu and the political party, especially at a time when nobody from the geopolitical zone is either presidential or vice presidential candidate of any political party. Also, those in support of Ebi said the fact that he was deputy governor of the CBN gives him a better understanding of the workings of the economy, especially as it concerns government, hence he would be more useful in the Presidency.

Some of the bigwigs of the ACN, it was gathered, prefer Adeola because of the fact that he's from the South West, where the party has its biggest strength. They reason that a vice presidential candidate from the South West will guarantee the ACN block votes from the zone.

Sources, however, said that the minus Adeola has is that he is a Muslim, just like Ribadu. Some chieftains of the party fear that it maybe difficult to sell a Muslim-Muslim ticket to Nigerians.

It was, however, gathered that some ACN chieftains said that Muslim-Muslim ticket is no longer an issue in the country, since the late Chief M. K. O. Abiola, a Muslim from the South West and Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, another Muslim from the North, contested as presidential and vice presidential candidates of the Social Democratic Party in the June 12, 1993 election and won.

Adeola once attempted to contest the senatorial election, in 2007, in Ogun State, but dropped out owing to the interest of Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, daughter of General Olusegun Obasanjo, who was president at that time.

He founded GTBank in 1990 and ran as MD/CEO from inception until March 2003. Under his care, the bank grew to become one of Nigeria's largest and most profitable companies. It opened branches in The Gambia and Sierra Leone and became listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1996.

Adeola retired from GTBank, in 2003, after serving for 12 years. On retirement, he took up a fellowship at the Washington DC-based Corporation for Enterprise Development, where he pursued research on pensions reform, entrepreneurship, and financial services provisioning for poverty reduction.

Born in 1954, he obtained a Diploma in Accounting from Yaba College of Technology in 1975 and became a chartered accountant in 1980, following his training with Deloitte, Haskins and Sells and D.O. Dafinone & Company (Chartered Accountants).

The former banker has received professional development training at notable institutions worldwide, including, Harvard Business School, INSEAD and the International Institute for Management Development. He is married to Hajara and has four children.

Ebi, from Imo State, was born in 1950. He served as deputy governor of the CBN. He attended Howard University, Washington DC, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing in 1978. In 1979, he obtained a master's degree in Business Administration from the same institution.

He worked briefly with the National Association of Counties in Washington DC between 1976 and 1978 before joining the Community Federal Savings and Loans Association as assistant vice president/controller in December, 1981. He returned to Nigeria and joined the services of the International Merchant Bank in Lagos.

Between 1983 and 1993, he worked in the development finance, treasury, credit and marketing, loan review and audit departments of the bank. In 1993, he became the chief credit officer and was later appointed, in the same year, by the CBN/NDIC as executive director, corporate banking at the Africa Continental Bank Plc., Lagos, a position he occupied until 1995, when he was, again, appointed by the CBN/NDIC as the managing director and chief executive of the New Nigeria Bank Plc., Lagos.

Ebi held that position until January 1998 when he became the deputy managing director and chief operating officer of Diamond Bank Limited. In May 1999, he became deputy governor (international) of the CBN.