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Legacy from the grave as Aderinokun’s family donates lecture theatre to UNILAG
Like the biblical Abraham who at every point of his encounter with Divinity erected memorial altars as souvenirs of his personal legacy which his generation should tread along after his home call, the family of Tayo Aderinokun, late co-founder of Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB), publicly succumbed to their patriarch’s philanthropic drive in education when on November 2, 2017 they commissioned a 500-seater lecture theatre for the University of Lagos’ Faculty of Business Administration. The theatre is named the Tayo Aderinokun Memorial Theatre, in memory of the departed banker.
Salamatu Aderinokun, the late banker’s wife, who is the currently managing director of First Marina, speaking at the commissioning ceremony, aptly captured her husband’s vision when she poetically noted that “if a departed was known for his charitable disposition during his lifetime, a continuation of such in his absence, to the glory of God and mankind, opens favour for him in the sight of the Almighty”.
The deceased’s widow reminded the audience of her husband’s great passion for education. That passion, she said, drove him to establish Day Waterman College, Ogun State, with the primary purpose of providing world-class qualitative education that would be available to brilliant but less privileged children, noting proudly that it is on record that at least 30 percent of the student population fell under this category.
Indeed, the foremost Nigerian banker who died in London, United Kingdom, on June 14, 2011, made headlines when he established Day Waterman College, Ogun State in 2008 in order to provide qualitative education that would deliver future generations of leaders for Nigeria in particular and the African continent in general. In his absence, his family has boldly continued with his legacy. The commissioning of the lecture theatre at University of Lagos is one such example.
The ceremony was attended by heavyweights like Godwin Obaseki, Edo State governor; Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun State governor, who was represented by Taiwo Adeoluwa, Secretary to the State Government; Wale Babalakin, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), and Rahmon Bello, outgoing and incoming Vice Chancellor of UNILAG respectively in attendance.
Accompanied by her late husband’s siblings (Eddy Aderinokun, Yejide Ajayi, Kayode Aderinokun, Ggbemisola Oke) to the event, the late banker’s wife said in view of the quality that Tayo Aderinokun stood and was known for, seasoned consultants and contractors were engaged on the project, resulting in the perfect finishing that the project turned out to be.
“I therefore use this opportunity to thank the team of professionals, who outside their professional engagements were unflinching in their commitment to the execution of the project because of who Tayo was to them. My appreciation goes to Tayo Babalakin, Zedome Enahoro, Bolaji Ipaye and Emeka Njere and all the other members of the team,” Mrs Aderinokun said.
“In bringing this special occasion to reality, special mention must be made of the great efforts made by the Office of Advancement of the University of Lagos under the leadership of Mrs. I. A. Salaam with the encouragement and support of the former deputy vice-chancellor (Management Services), Prof. Duro Oni, and of important mention, the outgoing vice-chancellor, Prof. Rahmon Bello. I thank you especially for this hour. It was through their persistence and follow-up consultations that we are gathered here today. I am most humbled that an assembly of academics and various professionals and high calibre personalities have gathered here to grace this occasion,” she said.
Benson Aruna, chairman, Nigerian Institute for Training and Development (NITAD), Lagos chapter, who spoke with BDSUNDAY on the title “Legacy from the grave of Tayo Aderinokun”, said although some few philanthropists have been building theatres for higher institutions, the difference is that it is the Aderinokun family who built a befitting theatre for UNILAG in Tayo’s memory.
“One thing I respect Tayo for was his human relations when he was alive. I have never seen somebody who was mourned the way Tayo was mourned. Although his death was a big burden, people mourned him because of the impact he had when he was alive.
“When he established Waterman College in Abeokuta, it was observed that when we send our children abroad to school, they give them cultural values different from our own; and managing these children was becoming another thing, since our values are different from that of the white people.
“So, they built that school to international standard for Nigerians to put their children there, so that they will learn our culture and value, where they can only go abroad for their summer. This was contrary to what was obtained at the time; our children were spending their developmental years abroad. What Tayo set up was to ensure that our values are inculcated in our children, that shows you how in-depth he was,” Aruna said.
According to him, Ibukun Awosika, the current chairperson of First Bank plc, was one of the big names that the late Tayo encouraged to venture into Nigeria’s secondary education space for the same reason, adding that he was happy that Tayo’s family would not allow their late patriarchs education legacy to wipe off, just as his colleagues in the bank have not allowed the values he inculcated in them to wear off.
“And we can see that rubbing off on Access Bank, where the key players were part of his team at the developmental stage. Aig Imoukhuede and the current MD of Access Bank are products of Tayo’s leadership qualities. You can see the way they were able to sustain the old Access Bank, and even after they acquired Intercontinental Bank, they were able to fuse the two,” he said.
The man, Tayo Aderinokun
Tayo Aderinokun, whose full name is Olutayo Aderinokun, was born on May 8, 1955, in Kano State, to a technician father working for the Nigerian Railways. He had his primary education at Baptist Day School, Kano, from 1961 to 1966.
At the onset of the Nigerian Civil War in 1966, he relocated with his parents to Lagos, where he attended Surulere Baptist School from 1966 to 1967, St. Peter’s College, Abeokuta, from 1968 to 1972, and St. Gregory’s Boys College, Lagos from 1973 to 1974. He proceeded to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Lagos, and much later, an MBA in International Business from the Graduate School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles, in 1981.
Tayo Aderinokun had always been in the banking sector. He began his rise to prominence working for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and then went on to work for Chase Merchant Bank Nigeria Limited. He moved on to Prime Merchant Bank where he occupied the position of an Assistant General Manager and Head, Financial Services.
He, however, resigned his position to start up his own business – First Marina Trust Limited – one of the pioneer CBN non-licensed and non-bank financial institutions, which he supervised until 1990 when he co-founded Guaranty Trust Bank with Fola Adeola.
Upon the inception of GTB, Tayo was made the Deputy Managing Director, a position he held for 12 years (1990 to 2002) and then was promoted to the position of Managing Director after the resignation of Fola Adeola. He remained the Managing Director until his death on the 14th of June, 2011.
During his time as MD of GTB, the bank witnessed tremendous progress and growth and emerged over the years as an industry leader, pacesetter of unique and progressive innovations in the banking industry.
It was under his leadership that the bank won the following awards: 2009 and 2010 Best Bank in Nigeria awards from the Banker Magazine; 2009 and 2010 Best Bank in Nigeria awards from Euromoney Awards for Excellence; SIAO 2008 and 2009 Best Corporate Social Responsibility Awards; 2007 Most Respected Company in Nigeria Award from PrizeWaterhouseCoopers and BusinessDay newspaper; and Nigerian Stock Exchange President’s Merit Award in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008.
He was also a recipient of the Member of the Federal Republic (MFR), one of Nigeria’s prestigious national awards.
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