The late Otunba Subomi Balogun

19.05.2023 Featured OBITUARY: Subomi Balogun, ‘Big Man’ Who ‘Regretted Nothing’

Published 19th May, 2023

By Sodeeq Atanda

Otunba (Dr.) Michael Olasubomi Balogun, the founder of the First City Monument Bank, is dead, according to reports citing family sources.

He is said to have died in a London hospital on Friday at 89. He celebrated his 89th birthday in March 2023.

Being the holder of the traditional title Olori Omo-oba of Ijebuland, his death would be announced in strict compliance with tradition.

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Balogun was born on March 9, 1934, in Ijebu-Ode, present day Ogun State, Nigeria. Although he spent part of his early life in his hometown, he moved to Lagos, where he had his early formal education.

He attended the prominent Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos, where he became qualified in 1952 to sit for the Cambridge School Certificate in Grade One, and then the General Certificate Examination (GCE) Advanced Level.

The Ijebu man worked as a teacher for some time in Lagos State before proceeding to the London School of Economics (LSE). At LSE, he enrolled to study law in 1956. He passed all the prescribed examinations and was called to the English bar in December 1959.


Balogun received a western Nigeria government-sponsored training in legal drafting in Whitehall and London, with a specialty in agreements, instruments and financial legislations. His success in the programme earned him an appointment as a crown counsel with the Western Region Government’s ministry of justice.

He held various appointments in quick succession. He was also an assistant parliamentary counsel with the Federal Ministry of Justice at some point.


A product of hard work, luck and grace, the brilliant Subomi later had a career shift from legal profession to the financial sector, starting with his appointment as a principal counsel and company secretary, Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB).

This paradigm shift in his career afforded him an opportunity to develop a full-blown interest in the world of financial and money transactions. First, he was trained by the World Bank, formerly International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Balogun sharpened his knowledge with trainings from world-class stockbrokers, investment banks and merchant banks in New York and London.

He served as a director of Icon Securities Limited, an enterprise owned by the NIDB, in 1973. Writing about how Icon Securities Limited metamorphosed into a merchant bank is not complete without a copious mention of Balogun.

Balogun conquered many mountains in the banking sector. With resilience, he formed City Securities Ltd. in 1977.

City Securities Ltd. turned First City Merchant Bank 1982, becoming the first Nigerian bank to be established by an individual with government. The bank changed to First City Monument Bank in 2001 and has continued to be a prominent money deposit bank.

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Forming the bank was knotty at first, as he encountered bureaucratic challenges from authorities. With the intervention of Dr. Alex Ekwueme, he had the bank’s license approved. He was said to have credited the success to Ekwueme, saying, “But for him, FCMB would have remained a dream.”

He had his name written in the minds of all and sundry in the legal profession, capital and money market and community services by distinguishing himself in mentorship, partnership and philanthropy. He set up the Otunba Tunwase Foundation for humanitarian services.


Aside being the Olori Omo-oba, he was the Otunba Tunwase of Ijebu. He also had below his belt various titular recognitions such as Asiwaju of Ijebu Christians, the Baba Oba of Ijebu-Ife and the Asalu-Oba of Ijebu Mushin.

His contributions in the corporate sector have been attested to through various meritorious awards. He was a recipient of the American Biographical Institute Inc’s Distinguished Leadership Award for outstanding contributions to the development of investment banking, University of Ibadan’s Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the field of law and his contributions to the socio-economic development of Nigeria, a merit award for philanthropic services to Ogun State, the Ijebu Development Association award, and council membership of a number of multi-national Chambers of Commerce.

Additionally, he was made a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria in recognition of his pioneering and outstanding contribution to the banking industry.

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He was a lover of all-things white as evident in his aesthetic palatial residence in Ijebu-Ode, attires and vehicles.

Using his resources to promote community efforts and the half-nots could be said to be his second nature. Confident of his exploits and life philosophy, FCMB quoted him to have said, “I have a very strong character. There is nothing that I did that I wish I had not done. I have no regret over any of my past actions”.

Published 19th May, 2023

By Sodeeq Atanda


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