Their excitement was exceptional that Saturday morning on 6 July 2019. It was an overflowing river of joy and gratitude they could not contain, pumping from their hearts. The students and staff of Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired, Surulere, Lagos had a good reason to be ecstatic.
The Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, Dr Adesola Adeduntan – First Bank of Nigeria Limited – and a team of volunteers from the nation’s premier financial institution visited the school to demonstrate acts of random kindness. Provisions (Food supplies, drinks, toiletries) and educational materials were given to the school to cater for the hundreds of children under the care of Mr Kehinde Alimi, Principal of Wesley School 1.
The visit to Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired was part of the 2019 CR&S Week activities by FirstBank. The Bank had its maiden CR&S week in 2017.
Expressing his gratitude, Alimi began his speech by asking the students of the school to shout, ‘three hallelujahs’, thereon stating “I sincerely thank every member of your team (FirstBank) for their kindness and generosity. For all you have given us, God will replenish you back a million times. To have reached this stage as an institution has not been easy, but we have been able to pull through with the support of God and organisations like yours. The sheer quantum of materials you have brought also shows that you recognise that we are two schools and not just one – Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired 1 for senior students and Wesley School for the Hearing Impaired 2 for the junior students. You have proved that FirstBank is indeed the first while others follow.”
Like Oliver Twist, Alimi couldn’t resist asking for more: “We thank you most sincerely for today’s visit and we kindly enjoin you to continue to find time to interact with us. For us to have been in your thoughts means that you are concerned about our welfare, but we will still be approaching you with requests. We want you to find time out of no time to come and be part of our programmes. We are grateful for your efforts and pray that God will continue to sustain the Bank and all its staff. Thank you very much for all your cumulative efforts.”
Dr Adeduntan had explained that the FirstBank team came to the school to demonstrate the kindness that it preaches and to assure students and staff of its support.
He said, “We believe that if all of us can show acts of kindness to people around us, we will make the world we live in a much better place for everyone. Our decision to come here today is to show appreciation to the management for shouldering the enormous responsibility of taking care of these children with special needs. This visit is also to assure the children who are schooling here that, as the popular saying goes, you will not walk alone.”
Commendably, Twenty-three other charity homes/institutes including camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were visited by FirstBank staff volunteers, led by senior members of staff. The Executive Director, Public Sector, FirstBank, Abdullahi Ibrahim with other volunteer employees visited the School for the Blind, Jabi, Abuja while the Group Head, Corporate Banking, Remi Ajose-Adeogun visited the Down Syndrome Foundation of Nigeria, Fagba, Lagos. Other visited locations were Madinatu and Almiskin IDP Camps, Maiduguri amongst others. Food supplies (provisions, drink, toiletries) and educational materials were delivered to all the visited homes.
The wide range of activities of the FirstBank CR&S week underscores SPARK (Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness), a values-based initiative by the Bank which focuses on creating and reinforcing a conscious mindset of showing compassion, empathy as well as giving to others. It is aimed at inspiring people to make a difference as it is designed to promote kindness to one another. It is executed through a range of strategically designed activities including visits to homes for the less privileged members of society and talks about SPARK.
FirstBank’s visit to the various homes was particularly thoughtful in the light of the predicament of the less privileged and persons with disabilities in the country, estimated to be around 19 million by the National Population Commission in 2018. Many of these persons face several challenges including hunger, starvation, stigmatisation, discrimination and lack of access to healthcare, housing and education. Though the government moved to intervene in their plight when President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 in January, there has yet been the expected respite for them hence, most of them rely on the benevolence of public-spirited institutions like FirstBank and individuals.
Considering the number of challenges that Nigerians living with disabilities face, especially lack access to healthcare, housing and education, there’s no gainsaying the fact that they need all the care and support they can get. And by continuously including them in its plans since it commenced the enlarged CS&R Week in 2017, FirstBank has been at the forefront of providing support for the less privileged Nigerians by reiterating that no assistance is too much to help them live a fulfilled life.
With the impacts made across over half a dozen countries that play host to the Bank’s business operations, the FirstBank 2019 CR&S week reinforced that philanthropy is no doubt embedded in its DNA.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading banking services solutions provider in Nigeria for 125 years. With some 15 million customer accounts, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services with over 750 business locations. The Bank has an international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.
Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.
FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is to always put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of the first choice in building your future”. Our brand promise is to always deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.
Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications