Mr Ernest Ebi-Chairman, Centre for Financial Journalism Nigeria


For over 30 years Mr. Ernest Chukwudi Ebi has been leading business transformation initiatives at various enterprises within and outside the financial services space, and he is recognised as a leading authority in turn-around strategy and execution. Mr. Ebi is widely acknowledged as a reformer and leader with a track record of excellence in delivery.

Professional Career

Ebi’s professional experience and expertise spans the full spectrum of executive leadership, financial goals delivery, business management, human resources capacity building, and general business performance management.

Ebi commenced his working career in the United States of America as an Accounts Technician with the National Association of Counties, Washington, DC. in 1976 and subsequently worked at the Community Federal Savings & Loans Association Washington, DC. where he served as the Assistant Vice-President.

In 1981 he returned to Nigeria and joined the International Merchant Bank Plc, serving in various capacities and also as part of executive management. In a very distinguished career within the financial services industry, Mr. Ebi went on to serve in notable banking sector organizations like:

  • African Continental Bank – Executive Director, Corporate Banking (1993-1995)
  • New Nigerian Bank – Managing Director/Chief Executive (1995-1998)
  • Diamond Bank Plc – Deputy Managing Director & COO (1998-1999).

In June 1999, Ebi was appointed Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria where his tenure crossed two key directorates of the apex bank over a 10-year period, thus:

  • Central Bank of Nigeria – Deputy Governor, Policy (1999-2004)
  • Central Bank of Nigeria – Deputy Governor, Corporate Services (2004-2009)

During this period he maintained oversight functions over Nigeria’s International Economic Relations, Trade Financing activities and formulation of policies & regulations for the effective management of the nation’s economy.  He served as the Chairman of Deputies of the Group of Twenty-four countries (G24 countries) in the Bretton Woods.

In recognition of his sound professional background and his track record of delivering on expectation, the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria awarded him the prestigious Fellowship of the Institute (FCIB). Also in recognition of his meritorious service to the nation, the Federal Government in 2008, conferred on him the National Honour of Member of the Federal Republic (MFR).


Ernest attended Holy Ghost College, Owerri, between 1970 and 1972.  He thereafter proceeded to Howard University, Washington DC, USA where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business degree in Marketing in 1978.  He also obtained an MBA from the same university in 1979 as a Howard scholar.

Ernest has attended management and leadership development programmes at IMD Switzerland, Harvard, Oxford-Said Business School, amongst others.

Current Board & Leadership Positions

Ebi, as an internationally respected management and leadership expert is currently active in providing board leadership and direction for numerous organizations including:-

  • UNIC Insurance Plc – Chairman of the Board
  • Imo State Investment Promotion Board – Chairman of the Board
  • AIICO Pension Managers – Member of the Board
  • HMCN Medical Center – Chairman of the Board
  • Sheba Exploration and Production – Member of the Board
  • Member, Board of Trustees – Pastor E. A. Adeboye, University of Lagos, N50m Endowment Fund
  • Dangote Cement Plc – Member of the Board
  • Agrited Nigeria Limited


Prof Akpan Hogan Ekpo-Centre for Financial Journalism


Akpan Hogan Ekpo was born in Lagos, Nigeria, on June 26, 1954. After his primary and secondary school education in Lagos, he proceeded to the USA for further studies. Professor Akpan H. Ekpo graduated from Howard University, Washington, DC, USA, in 1976 with a Bachelor’s degree (Cum laude – with honors) in Economics and obtained a Masters in Economics from the same University.  He was in the Dean’s List of the University throughout his undergraduate studies and on full scholarship based on his academic performance. In 1975, as the best and honors student, he won the American Economic Association Fellowship to study briefly at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA. In 1980 and 1983 he obtained the MA and PhD degrees in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. His areas of interest include Economic Theory (Microeconomics and Macroeconomics), Public Sector and Quantitative Methods. He has attended several continuing and executive education programmes at the World Bank Institute, Harvard University and the University of Oxford, UK.

Akpan Hogan Ekpo has lectured in several universities in the USA, Africa and Nigeria. As a lecturer in the University of Calabar, he was commended for excellence in research and publications in 1987 by the authorities of the University.  He was appointed Visiting Professor of Economics by the University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe in 1989. Professor Ekpo has advised and held several government appointments in Nigeria. He was adviser to the Calabar Municipal Government and Managing Director of its Investment Company. He was Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Investment Council from 1999-2007. From 1994-98, he was chairman, Ministerial Advisory Committee, Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja; Member of the board of the Utilities Charges Commission 2005-2007, Abuja; Non-Executive Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria 2005-2009; Central Bank of Nigeria Monetary Policy Committee, 2005-2009; National Economic Management Team 2008-2009; Technical Adviser to Vision 2010; Member Steering Committee of Vision 2020. In 2001, he was honoured with the National Productivity Merit Award by the President of Nigeria; in 2003, he received the Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Africa Leadership Award in Accra, Ghana.

Professor Ekpo has had an outstanding academic career. He has held several positions in the academia – head of department, Dean of Faculty, and Deputy Vice-chancellor. From 1996-1998, he was Visiting Scholar to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  In 2000, he was appointed Vice-chancellor of University of Uyo. In 2005, he was the pioneer Vice-chancellor, Akwa Ibom State University of Science and Technology – a position he resigned from in 2007 to return to the Department of Economics, University of Uyo. He was commended by the National Universities Commission (NUC) for his performance as Vice-chancellor from 2000-2005. Professor Ekpo was Editor of the prestigious Nigerian Journal of Economic and Social Studies from 1996-2003. He is a life member of the Nigerian Economic Society and was its President from 2007-2009. In 2012, he was conferred with the fellowship of the Nigerian Economic Society. He is also a member of the Nigerian Statistical Association, American Economic Association, Royal Economic Society, Institute of Public Finance (Germany), African Finance and Economic Association (USA), National Economic Association (USA), among others. He has attended over 160 national and international professional conferences and has presented papers in most of them.

Professor Akpan H. Ekpo has also served in several boards of companies and non-governmental organizations. He was a member of the board of Vmobile (now Airtel); he is a member of the African Heritage Institution in Enugu, Nigeria, African Population Health and Research Centre in Nairobi, Kenya and the Bamanga Tukur Centre for International Trade in Port Harcourt, Nigeria as well as the Clement Isong Foundation, Nigeria.

Akpan H. Ekpo is an accomplished scholar and researcher. He has published over 200 articles in refereed national and international journals, chapters in books and other scholarly outlets. He has written five books. He is on the editorial board of several scholarly journals. He is a regular columnist with the Tell Magazine in Nigeria. Professor Ekpo is a consultant to several national and international organizations such as the National Planning Commission, National Manpower Board, African Capacity Building Foundation, World Bank, African Economic Research Consortium, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, European Commission, Forum of Federations (Canada), among others.

Presently, he is the Director General, West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management, owned by the central banks of The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone with headquarters in Lagos. Professor Ekpo is married to Njeri and they are blessed with children and grandchildren.



Dr. ‘Uju M. Ogubunka, a Chartered Banker, was in full time banking practice for twenty three years before venturing into consulting, research, training, mediation and public speaking. He later joined the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) as Director, Consultancy, Training and Research in 1999. In 2006, he was appointed the Registrar/Chief Executive of the CIBN. He retired from the CIBN in 2014 after a very eventful tenure at the Institute. He currently lectures at the University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria Fellow in the Department of Finance, Faculty of Business Administration. He is also President of Bank Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN).

Dr. Ogubunka holds M.Sc. in Banking and Finance from University of Ibadan, Ibadan and Ph.D, also in Banking and Finance, from Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and an Associate, Chartered Institute of Bankers, London. He is also a member of Body of Neutrals, Abuja Multi-Door Court House, aside that of Abuja. He was a two-time Chairman of Alliance of African Institutes of Bankers (AAIOB).

Dr. Ogubunka has authored, co-authored and edited many published papers and books including Elements of Privatization in Nigeria and Walking Ahead of Bank Distress. He has interest in reading and research, meditation and sports.



Dr. Oladimeji Israel Alo is an accomplished University Lecturer, a Management Consultant and a Corporate Executive. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Berger Paints Nigeria Plc. He had served as Non-Executive Director of the company between December 13, 2012 and July 21, 2014. He is also the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Excel Professional Services Limited, a consulting firm that provides advisory support to organizations and businesses on matters of Strategy, Leadership and Governance, and a Non-executive Director of ARM Life Plc.

Dr. Alo obtained a degree in Sociology & Anthropology from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife in 1978. He also received a Master of Science degree in Industrial Sociology in 1981 and a Doctor of Philosophy in 1984 from the same university. Between 1980 and 1987, he lectured at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the University of Ife.

He joined the international firm of Coopers & Lybrand Associates, Lagos in 1987, where he rose through the ranks to become the Executive Director and head of the firm’s Organisation and Human Resource Consulting Practice in Nigeria.  He left Coopers and Lybrand in 1995 and joined Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC) as Director General/Chief Executive in January 1996. While in FITC, he transformed it to a world class training, research and consulting firm. After over a decade of meritorious service at FITC, he left in August 2009 to found Excel Professional Services Limited.

Dr. Alo was a member of the Executive Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), a Past President of the West African Bankers Association and a Director of the Nigeria Capital Market Institute. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Risk Management Association of Nigeria, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM) and served as the President and Chairman of Council of that Institute from 2007-2010. Until recently, he was the Chairman of the Investigation Panel of the Ethics and Professionalism Sub-Committee of the Nigeria Bankers’ Committee.

Dr. Alo is the author of the book: Human Resource Management in Nigeria and the editor of the book: Issues in Corporate Governance in Nigeria.



Bukola Onifade is an economist and financial management expert with over 20 years experience, cutting across such sectors as telecommunications, media, logistics, hospitality and real estate.

He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2005 and was recently conferred with the prestigious Fellowship of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), which attests to his invaluable contributions to the development of the Accounting profession in Nigeria.

Onifade holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics from Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Edo State,  Ordinary and Higher National Diplomas in Accounting from Yaba College of Technology, Lagos.

Onifade has served in various capacities in the financial management profession. He worked as the Financial Controller of TNT/IAS, a leading logistics company from 2000-2002. He later moved to Financial Standard Newspaper as Internal Auditor and was there from 2002-2006.

In pursuit of multi-sector skills, Onifade joined Overwave Telecoms as Financial Controller in 2006 and was responsible for repositioning the finances and assets of the company before bowing out of the company in 2013.

His exit from Overwave Telecoms led him to Web Fountain Limited, a leading technology company in Nigeria where he currently serves as the Financial Controller.

Mr Onifade has attended several courses on financial management, auditing and cost management, budgeting, etc.

His key skills include budget management, financial management, auditing and IT accounting systems, public finance and financial strategy.


Ray Echebiri-CEO, Centre for Financial JournalismRAY ECHEBIRI


Ray Echebiri, a consummate financial journalist, development economist and author, is the founding Editor-in-Chief/CEO of BusinessWorld newspaper. Before founding BusinessWorld, he had worked with some of the most reputable newspapers and magazines in Nigeria, and occupied top editorial positions such as Assistant Editor, Business Editor, Deputy Editor, Member Editorial Board, Editor.

Echebiri started his journalism career at the Newbreed Organisation, publishers of Newbreed and The President magazines. He later moved to BusinessInEcowas, a bi-lingual (English and French) magazine that focused on the economic and political developments in the West African sub-region. A year later, he moved to Champion Newspapers.

He rose from Staff Writer, the position at which he was employed, to Assistant News Editor, and then to Business Editor. Later he was transferred out of the Business Desk and made Deputy Editor of Sunday Champion. He also acted as Editor, Sunday Champion for a short while before he was elevated to the position of Editor, Business Champion.

Echebiri moved out of Champion House in 2000 and joined Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC), and functioned as Personal Assistant to the Director General. He went back to journalism practice after a stint at FITC to edit Financial Standard newspaper.

A widely-travelled journalist, Echebiri has covered many high profile local and international events including the famed June 12 Election in Nigeria, various editions of Nigerian Economic Summit, The World Bank/International Monetary Fund annual meetings (in different countries of the world), African Development Bank annual meetings (in different countries of Africa), The World Economic Forum. He has attended many training programmes within and outside the country, and has also served as a resource person in many training programmes, workshops, seminars and conferences within and outside the country.

Beyond helping to shape public policy through his informed reports and opinion articles, Echebiri has participated in many conferences and seminars that crafted strategies targeted at achieving fast-paced growth for the Nigerian economy. He served as a member of the drafting team for the Prioritisation of Federal Government’s Policies, Programmes and Projects (2011-2015). He also worked with some eminent scholars to produce the popular version of Nigeria’s economic transformation blueprint, Vision 20:2020.

Echebiri studied at the University of Calabar, Nigeria, as a Mobil scholar and at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom, as a British Chevening scholar.

Echebiri is the author of Rage of the Risk God – A Reportage of the Lamido Sanusi Banking Reforms, a book that contextualized the motivations, rationale, and the impact of the banking reforms embarked upon by the Central Bank of Nigeria under Mallam Lamido Sanusi.