RETIRED Executive Director, Small and Medium Enterprises, Bank of Industry (BOI), Dr. Waheed Olagunju, has been commended for his contributions towards the growth of the Development Finance Institution (DFI) over a period of almost three decades.
The commendations were made during the send-forth dinner organised by the Bank for Dr. Olagunju upon his retirement ahead of his 60th birthday after serving the bank for 28 years.
BOI Chairman, Alhaji Aliyu AbdulRahman Dikko, said Dr. Olagunju was part of the team that transformed the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) to the Bank of Industry (BOI) having joined the bank from the media in 1990 as Head of the Corporate Communications Department.
He rose to become the bank’s Company Secretary, a position he occupied for sixteen years after which he was appointed Executive Director in 2012.
During the six years that he served as ED, Dr Olagunju at different times also acted as the bank’s Managing Director.
In his words: “The bank will definitely never forget you as your name will be written in gold in the history of the bank”.
He said during the period Olagunju was in charge of the bank, he and his management team were responsible for improving the bank’s international rating, a move that aided the DFI’s access to different international lines of credit.
He brought BOI to public
He said Olagunju also brought out the brand of BOI to the public domain, pointing out that the bank’s television impact programme series that he initiated resulted in milestone achievements for the bank.
“We do not see Dr. Olagunju leaving BOI as such, because ” we believe we can come to you anytime, you will be an extension of BOI and you will continue to be our ambassador in taking the bank to greater heights,” he said.
Asks him anything about BOI
Also, the Managing Director of the Bank, Mr Olukayode Pitan, said working with Dr. Olagunju in the last one year and half has been great and rewarding without any problem whatsoever, stressing that he is a very humble and knowledgeable person who is endowed with considerable institutional memory.
“If you want to know anything about BOI just ask him. He has mental records that he also supports with relevant documents.
He said courtesy of the Impactful Communication Programmes that he handled, the bank has received local and global recognitions as the foremost leading DFI.
“To let you know how we feel about him, the bank has not had a send-forth party for its staff for a very long time, so for us to do this, it means that we value his immense contributions to the bank. We wish you well and we know that even when you are outside, you will represent us well.”
He has had a very good career and I am glad we were able to work together amicably. I am happy for him that he is retiring in sound health.” he concluded.
Some of his colleagues also acknowledged his tenacity for details and perfection, with others extolling his unusual humility and kindness as a boss and go-to leader whenever challenges arose.
His words about BOI, Nigeria
Responding, Dr. Olagunju said the DFI was crucial to Nigeria’s development particularly at this stage of the country’s development.
“I have worked with six Managing Directors in my 28 years career and it has been rewarding. I keep telling people that money is not our problem in Nigeria for any potentially viable enterprise as the international financial system is awash with suitable resources that, based on its double AA international rating, could be mobilized by BOI and its foreign partners in support of such ventures.
BOI needs the support of the government and everybody to continue to serve this great country.
He called for prayers and divine guidance for those who occupy leadership positions in BOI and the country in general.
“I have spent almost half of my life in this bank and I know a lot about this bank and what it can do for Nigeria,” he said.
Olagunju added: “This is a bank that shows appreciation to any staff that does well. Hard work does not kill. BOI is a bank worth dying for; Nigeria is a country worth dying for. We should do everything possible to ensure that this country realises its economic potentials and the bank has very important roles to play in this regard.”
He noted that Nigeria has lost many years of development and has a lot of catching up to do, saying:
“Nobody will develop the country for us; we have to develop it by ourselves. I want to thank the Chairman,the Managing Director, my colleagues in Management and on the Board and their predecessors, other bank staff as well as current and previous supervising Ministers and all our domestic and foreign and development partners for their support because all what they said and I accomplished would not have been possible without their backing”.