Encomiums have been trooping in from all walks of life for ex-Fidelity and Afribank Managing Director, Mr. Nebolisa Arah, who clocked 70 on August 8, 2021.
Mr. Arah has been identified by many to be a man of integrity and one whose life has been exemplary to his family, staff, and colleagues.
He holds a B.Sc in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ibadan; M.Sc Agricultural Economics and Masters of Business Administrations both from Ohio State University Graduate School, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. He has attended different management courses and seminars both locally and internationally.
After his education, he became a successful banker with professional experience of close to 30 years. He began his professional career in 1977 with Unilever Nigeria Plc (formerly Lever Brothers Nigeria Plc) as a management trainee.
He joined the former International Merchant Bank (Nigeria) Ltd in 1981 as a credit analyst responsible for budgeting, financial control, strategic planning, performance management, and profitability indices. He later headed the special products; assets-based finance & export finance departments of the bank.
Given his impressive performance at the former International Merchant Bank (Nigeria) Ltd, he was appointed the pioneer Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank. He managed the Bank from 1988 to 2003. Mr. Arah’s fifteen years of leadership at Fidelity Bank left the Bank’s fundamental indices on the upswing.
Upon his voluntary retirement in 2003 after a prosperous career, he worked as the project coordinator (major architect) of the FCB Project between 2004 and 2005. He was later appointed, member of the Universal Trust Bank Plc consolidation committee in 2005 where he served till 2007. Between 2006/2007, Mr. Arah was a consultant/financial adviser to Cornerstone Insurance, Plc working with appointed Issuing Houses to realize its capitalization and set objectives for the Company.
Eulogising Arah, the former Deputy General Manager, and Regional Bank Head, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Emma Esinnah said, “I will give some insights into what it could cost to remain on the straight and narrow way, especially when you have an opportunity to call the shots, with only y few, if any, being in a position to question you. And this not to humor or canonize Mr. Arah, but to encourage those who are so minded that a life of uprightness is still possible in the marketplace, though it comes at a cost.”
“Mr. Arah never liked to handle office money. On the rare occasions that he took a cash advance for a trip, he would do the retirement before getting to the office. On getting to the office, he would hand it over, with whatever change he brought back, even before entering his office. He did not need to preach about discipline in handling office money,” Emma continued.
“Mr. Arah does not live to impress others. Arah was the CEO of Fidelity Bank for 15 and half years. By the time he left office in December 2003, he was still living in a rented house. He only began to build his own house in April 2004!”
“When I joined the bank in June 1998, Mr. Arah’s two official cars were a Peugeot 504 Station Wagon and a Honda Legend. When the 504 was fully depreciated, it was replaced with a Honda CRV. And the Legend was replaced by a BMW X5, which was bought second hand.”
“As he turns 70 today, the 8th of August, 2021, we all rejoice with his family. Of course, being who he is, he has discouraged his family and friends from organizing a birthday party. Instead, the occasion is being used to publicly present his memoir called ‘Becoming By Grace’, which is the story of his time in the banking industry and journey through life,” he added.