By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
Barely three days after the Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola bagged the 2013 Man of the Year award of one of the leading national dailies, Daily Independent, another laurel has come the way of the state as its innovative Islamic bond, Sukuk bagged the Islamic Financial News Deal of the Year Award in Dubai, United Arabs Emirates Monday night.
It was an evening of honour for Osun and Lotus Capital, the issuing house that handled the Sukuk deal for the state as the Managing Director of IFN, Mr. Andrew Morgan, presented the award to the team from Nigeria.
Andrew Morgan, who is also the Publisher of the RedMoney Group, presented the award to the Nigerian team which comprised Osun Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Wale Bolorunduro; who represented Governor Rauf Aregbesola, Mrs. Hajara Adeola, MD, Lotus Capital Limited; Mrs Taba Peterside , General Manager of Lotus Capital and Head Listing Sales and retention of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE); Dele Oladunjoye of Kola Awodein and Co., solicitor to the Sukuk deal and Alhaja Lateefat Okunnu, Director, Lotus Capital Limited.
Speaking Monday evening, Bolorunduro attributed the award to Governor Aregbesola’s penchant for exploring new ways to solve problems.
“Kudos should go to Ogbeni Aregbesola for this award. His three years in office have shown that here is a man who stops at nothing to embrace novel ideas as long as those ideas further he interests of the common man.
“The state has provided the platform for Lotus Capital to prove that this can be done. We are grateful for this recognition,” said Bolorunduro.
The State of Osun is not only reaping a bumper harvest but also getting international recognition, rewards and laurels for the pioneer achievements being recorded by its government. For breaking new grounds and introducing new ideas in governance, the sky appears to be the beginning for Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s government.
After deep, thorough and adroit thinking, the government arrived at a viable alternative of fund sourcing for the development of the state’s comatose infrastructural facilities.
Aregbesola found a more convenient source of fund in the Islamic-oriented bond system (popularly called Sukuk), specifically meant for part funding re-construction of the state’s educational infrastructure.
Thus, in November 2013, Osun set another record of being the first state in Nigeria to go for the Islamic bond (sukuk).
Besides, the successful completion of this bond issuance also made such transaction the first in the West African sub-region, the good news is that less than three months after this novel deal, Osun Sukuk and the leading issuing house, Lotus Capital Limited, had been nominated for an international Award.
It was gathered that Lotus Capital Limited was singled out for having successfully pioneered the Osun sukuk, a maiden sukuk issue in the country. The globally recognised Islamic Finance News (IFN) last month nominated the N11.4billion Osun Sukuk as the African Deal of The Year 2013, and Lotus Capital, being the issuing house of the Sukuk, is being recognised for the unprecedented transaction.
The award came on the heels of the leading role Lotus Capital played alongside 42 other issuing houses in Nigeria in the successful completion of the Osun Sukuk. With this nomination, Lotus Capital, a pioneer Islamic finance organisation in Nigeria, which specialises in handling equitable interest-free financial services (popularly known as Islamic Finance), has been invited by IFN to receive the 2013 edition of the global award.
The grand finale took place at the Ritz Carlton (DFIC) Dubai, United Arab Emirates on February 24, 2014.
Lotus Capital Limited was established in June 2004 and registered with the Nigerian Security and Exchange Commission as fund managers, Corporate Investment Advisers and Issuing Houses.
It has as head the former Managing Director of Guarantee Trust Bank(GTB), Mr. Fola Adeola.
Going by world financial record, Lotus, which successfully introduced and completed Osun Sukuk, is now adjudged as one of the world’s fastest growing financial organisations with over 200 billion US dollars in assets across the world.
Again, the company is said to be growing at an annual rate of 20 per cent. Some of the company’s directors and management members expected to lead the team going to receive the award in Dubai include Mrs. Lateefat Okunnu, Mr. Muhammad Nuruddeen Lemu, Mrs. Amina Oyagbola and the company’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Hajara Adeola.
Representing the Executive Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola is Dr. Wale Bolorunduro, the Commissioner for Finance, accompanied by the Acting Director General of Osun Debt Management Office, Mr. Tunde Adejumo.
It will be recalled Osun, under its N60billion bond issuance programme, approved by the Securities and Exchange Commisison (SEC) in 2012, went for the N14. 4 billion Sukuk (14. 75 per cent) fixed return in November 2014.
The maiden Sukuk which was oversubscribed has on record forty two (42) investors, cutting across a blend of corporate, institutional as well as High networth investors, under the auspices of Lotus Capital Limited as the leading issuing house and Augusto and Co, one of Nigeria’s rating agencies, as the rating agent.
The Sukuk was issued in accordance with the Osun State Bonds, Notes and Other Securities Law 2012. A special purpose Vehicle company – Osun Sukuk Company Plc, a duly registered public liability company anchored the issue.
While authorising and approving the offer at the Company’s board meeting in November last year, Governor Rauf Aregbesola said his government embraces Capital market funding for most of its infrastructure development projects (such as the building of new schools and renovation of some old one, road constructions, healthcare services, commercial infrastructure) given its associated benefits such as lower cost, and stability of interest rate over the transaction tenor.
He appealed to the people to see the bond option as an avenue to attract development to the state for the benefit of all and sundry. According to the governor, “The Sukuk is a veritable avenue for us to access capital to develop our state and it will be used to finance building of schools across the state”.
The Governor re-affirmed that his administration is passionate about the welfare of the people as well as tangible development in the state state.
He further remarked that ” the paucity of funds accruable and so available to the state can do little of the developmental agenda of the current administration”. Corroborating the Governor, the state’s Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Wale Bolorunduro, maintained during the completion meeting on the issue (held last year November), that “raising fund under the current financial condition in the country is like drinking water from fire-hose, the changes in the market are too rapid, but Osun in its characteristic innovative financing has been doing it.” Bolorunduro reiterated that “the over subscription of Osun sukuk is a positive confirmation of the trust and confidence, the market placed on Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola who has brought prudence, purpose and performance to government”.
The chairperson of Lotus Capital, Mrs. Hajara Adeola, also while reacting to the successful completion and over-subscription of the issue noted that the sukuk’s success represented a clear vote of confidence in Governor Aregbesola’s administration, the State of Osun and its people.
Adeola said that the governor had become unique for his penchant for exploring novel ways of doing things, adding that the sukuk represented another instance of Aregbesola’s exploring new ways of seeking for the development of the state.
Since the successful issue of Osun Sukuk, states’ governments and Federal Government of Nigeria have been looking at the direction of Sukuk as an alternative of funding their capital projects.
To Aregbesola, it is a bumper harvest of award for excellence and innovations. Just last Friday, Aregbesola’s penchant for exploring alternative perspectives towards achieving growth earned him a noble award – the Daily Independent’s Man of the Year Award. The national newspaper premised it’s decision to award Aregbesola on what it called symbol of alternative perspectives.
Obviously, Lotus Capital Limited has won the award, but the fact is not lost on the company that the state offered itself as the platform upon which Lotus rose to this enviable height.