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Corporate Stories

Corporate Stories: The back story behind the UBA & STB Merger



Tony Elumelu

In this month’s episode, we tell the story of how one of the biggest deals in Nigeria’s corporate history was executed with the heart of a lion. It’s a story of sheer guts, desire, deception, fraud, crony capitalism, rise and fall, tact, brilliance and most of all, ambition.

The Beginning of the end

It was late into the night on March 4th, 2004 as directors of United Bank of Africa (UBA) deliberated on one of the toughest decisions they had ever faced. Just two years earlier, the bank had been forced into a similar position, only that then it was not as punitive as this one. This time, they were grappling with a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directive to split the post of CEO from that of the Chairman.

This CBN directive was like a knife struck at the heart. The business whiz kid and majority shareholder of the bank, Hakeem Bello Osagie (HBO), had been asked by the CBN to resign within 24 hours. Thus, a decision had to be taken that night. As the board deliberated late into the night in a bid to address the predicament, it became clear that there was no way out.

The reign of Hakeem Bello Osagie as one of Nigeria’s most enigmatic banking Chiefs, had come to an abrupt end. For the Nigerian banking sector which watched in amazement at how this young man rose to become a symbol of the new era of Nigerian banking, the news of HBO’s fall from grace still ranks as one of the shocking moments in the sector, which at the time was entering an uncertain future. But as the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens in the never-ending chapters of history.

See our other corporate stories 


Flash back – Era of predatory banking




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Ugo Obi-chukwu "Ugodre" is a chartered accountant with over 16 years experience in financial management, corporate finance and financial analysis. He is also a retail investor and a personal finance advocate with over a decade experience investing in the Nigerian stock market.Ugo is the founder/Publisher of Nairametrics and blogs regularly on the website.



  1. Fifi

    March 15, 2018 at 6:59 am

    Wow! Interesting read.

  2. Dayo Atilola

    April 13, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    He isn’t called Egghead for nothing

  3. Nkiru Mordi

    April 18, 2018 at 6:29 am

    What a read!

  4. adetiloyeadedayo

    July 25, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    Great Article here,
    Tony Elumelu has done so much.

  5. Anonymous

    August 10, 2018 at 9:45 am

    This article is superb!!!! thank you very much! i am very grateful.

  6. Ipadeola Jonathan Okesooto

    January 9, 2019 at 1:46 am

    A great lesson

  7. mos

    February 8, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    nairametrics, great analysis. great documentary!

  8. chibuike dunstan

    April 18, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Hmmm.., what a narration! other industries should learn from this more especially the insurance industry.
    having very rich family members and friends that believes in your ability was the key factor… these days everyone wants you to owe them so that tomorrow they come and claim all you have ever labored for… once again a nice write up

  9. Raheem Ishola

    April 25, 2019 at 10:12 am

    I read this article back then on twitter, now I’m here to read it again. There’s always a gem to take home from every read. This is a classic piece!!!!! No guts, no glory!

  10. Ose

    August 26, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Quite revealing. Great write!

  11. Tunde Olaifa

    October 2, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    Good Read. Tony Elumelu is a legend

  12. Willodean Tisdale

    December 9, 2019 at 11:50 am

    Thank you for sharing this valuable info with us. As a practicing writer, I can say that I was hoping to include
    some facts and sparking ideas in my writing training intuitively.
    I believe it is imperative to spice your writing in the event you wish to catch
    the viewers’ attention. However, you did great, thanks

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Corporate Stories

Standard Alliance Insurance plc: What happened to the most capitalized insurance company of 2010?

After a 39-year journey of high and lows, shareholders await Awodiya to deliver on the promise of profitability.



Standard Alliance Insurance Plc recently held its Annual General Meeting, the first in the last four years. The financial reports received at the AGM were that of FY 2017 and 2018, bringing up the million-dollar question; what is going on with this underwriter?

Nairametrics Company of the Week focuses on the 39-year-old highly ranked insurance company, its past achievements, and current realities.

Almost 40 years ago, the company was incorporated in July 1981 as a Private Limited Liability Company. At this time, it was known as Jubilee Insurance Company Limited until August 1996 when it became Standard Alliance Insurance Company Limited.



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Corporate Stories

Corporate Story: Intriguing tale of Seven-Up’s ugly fight for market share in Nigeria

For many years, competition in the Nigerian soft drink market was mainly between Coca-Cola and Seven-Up but in 2014, Rite Food came and disrupted the space.



Corporate Story: Intriguing tale of Seven-Up’s ugly fight for market share in Nigeria

It was early morning on Wednesday, November 13th 2019, and Ziad Maalouf was not asleep. He could not sleep, not with his mind burdened by what had become a serious problem facing Seven-Up Bottling Company, which he oversees. It was part of his job as the Managing Director to figure out a solution to this challenge. And that was exactly what he was doing as he sat in his study that early morning, typing furiously on his computer.

By 4:37 am that morning, Maalouf had sent out an internal memo and copied 25 top executives of the soft drink manufacturing company. In the memo, he made it clear that he was ready to declare war against the company’s competitors. He would not rest until the war was over and Seven-Up had emerged victorious, he declared.

Corporate Story: Intriguing tale of Seven-Up’s ugly fight for market share in Nigeria

Seven-Up Factory

But the internal memo leaked




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Corporate Stories

A bitter family feud has continued to hamper this company’s growth

Sometime in early 2012, a wealthy, sophisticated, and beautiful middle-aged Nigerian businesswoman walked into a Lagos courtroom to testify before a judge.



A bitter family feud has continued to hamper this company’s growth

Sometime in early 2012, a wealthy, sophisticated, and beautiful middle-aged Nigerian businesswoman walked into a Lagos courtroom to testify before a judge. She had just filed a lawsuit before the court in a desperate bid to salvage her late husband’s investments in the Tourist Company of Nigeria Plc (TCN). She was also understandably trying to secure her financial future and that of her children. Her husband had just died, and she suddenly found herself thrust in the position of the sole breadwinner of the family.

The woman is Mrs Maiden Ibru, the widow of renowned businessman and politician, Alex Ibru. During her testimony on that fateful day, she made some pretty shocking revelations, albeit with some dramatics.  She told everyone gathered in the courtroom that just as she was walking in, she supposedly saw the apparition of her late husband telling her to fight. So, fight she did, by spilling all the secrets about the company.

Tourist Company of Nigeria Plc

Mrs Maiden Ibru appearing in court to testify.

Apparently, all was not well with the Tourist Company of Nigeria Plc, a hospitality company that owns one of Nigeria’s oldest luxury hotels – the Federal Palace Hotel. Perhaps no one would have known about TCN’s woes if Mrs Ibru hadn’t instituted her lawsuit and subsequently given her bombshell testimony. However, the sad thing is the fact that though it’s been seven years since Maiden Ibru’s court appearance, all is not still well with the company.




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