This freezing of 6 fin-tech bank account by CBN should serve as a wake up call to my generation of builders how the country works.
Let me explain:
In Nigeria, you can have the best idea of how to turn the country into an Eldorado but if you don’t have a personal relationship with your regulator, you can wake up one fine morning to see that you have lost everything you suffered to build overnight.
CBN Governor Godwin Emifele was 60 years a few days ago.
He celebrated this milestone in Jamaica and guess who was there to celebrate with him?
Nigerian bank chiefs that the same man regulate.
From Herbert Wigwe of Access bank to Jim Ovia of Zenith bank, Tony Elumelu of UBA was also there to celebrate with their regulator and the reason was not far fetched; personal relationship with your regulator saves you a lot of headache and stress, it also saves you from Shalaye while building a unicorn.
Note that Flutter CEO was not at the party, neither was Paystack CEO.
I’m not sure that they bothered to pay for an advertorial that day to felicitate with their regulator but these bank chiefs did and still flew with their private jets to Jamaica to celebrate with Emefiele.
Because of the personal relationship that Emefiele has with these guys, he would think it twice before signing off any policy that would either hurt or will be detrimental to their business.
Nigeria is not a normal place, it is a dysfunctional third world country that is a goldmine though.
From the report I read yesterday, Risevest has a revenue of 1 billion naira which is interesting.
Here is the thing: there is no way I Chukwudi would be running a fin tech business that generates 1 billion naira in revenue and I don’t have Emiefele’s personal line, it is not possible, it will be naivety on my part how things work in Nigeria if I don’t.
Before Buhari, a popular billionaire from Anambra had this policy of buying latest SUV for the CG of Custom, the reason he did this is this; the volume of containers he imports monthly is massive and he knows that without a personal relationship with the Custom CG, custom small boys will mess his business up.
I hope and pray that the ordeals of these 6 fin tech business will be sorted out but before then, this should serve as rude awakening to my generation of builders who like playing the ostrich.
First and foremost, we need to come together and form a powerful lobby group and then learn how to cultivate personal relationship with the regulator, regulating our different businesses.
Having a personal relationship with your regulator may not be ideal because in a country that works, you don’t need to know your regulator but if you are running a disruptive start-up in a third world country like Nigeria, it is pragmatic and a wise thing to do, else, you woke up one morning and your regulator has closed down your business. You can only rant on social media but your rant will not change nothing.
Alike Dangote understood this principle well and this is why, no regulator will dare come for his business, they have not born the regulator that will try it.
Dangote will destroy the regulator who oversteps the boundary to come for the business because of the immense influence he has built over the years.
It was Eneke the bird that said that since men have learned to shoot without missing, he has learned to fly without perching.