I have a weakness. Once I love, I love, and I love Jallo Waziri. Do you blame me?. In the last 29 years, Jallo has crisscrossed the capital market, throwing out sterling performances across all sectors of the broad market spectrum
I met Jallo at BGL. He was my first institutional client, and it was my handsome then Group Head, Chibundu Edozie, who said, ” Go to Kakawa and meet Jallo he has a mandate for you
He was tall and light skinned. With sweet beady eyes that looked at you with warmth when he smiled, he didn’t look too perturbed and took his job with unusual calm.
We hit it off very quickly and that relationship has grown to one that has my dying respect for him and him having a continous growing amazement at my transformation from a super successful stockbroker to a super- I cannot say madman.
The capital market, to me, is a very critical engine of economic growth. It is both the barometer for the measurement of economic health and also a strong engine of growth.
This is why its integrity and sanctity must be at all times strengthened.
It is for this reason that I shout. I really shout o at the continuous malfeasance that seems to pervade the entire community.
From the yellow faced cowardice of operators, who would rather hide under black blankets and huddle like pitiable orphans sharing stories of corruption and jaundiced ethical movements to regulators who seem to have lost the bite, to billionaire journey men who have turned the markets to a Las Vegas playground making the whole experience have the taste of expired castor oil in the mouths of starry eyed investors
It is under this cascading and harried environment that I discovered Jallo Waziri, the MD, at the biggest and most influential Central Securities Depository – the CSCS
Edgar, you must come to the house for Sallah. I say my lord why I no go come. I carry my big head to his Ikoyi house and run into the Nigerian economy
Legendary Bank MDs, Strong Capital Market operators, International Telecomss magnates, big government people, and prominent members of the regulatory environment where present.
Only me and my brother Dipo Soetan come be like normal people.
Ike Chioke, the brilliant investment banker, walks in and immediately strikes up a conversation with Oscar Onyeama, the super brilliant GMD at the NGX
I struck up a conversation with someone I thought was Kennedy Uzoaka and realized after 30 minutes of continuous dialogue that ‘this no be Kennedy na, Kennedy no too fine like this na’
So I went to Jallo,’ abeg who be that man that I have been talking to since’ that na Nnamdi Okonkwo GMD of FBN Holdings- shame catch me, I run into toilet to hide
Such is Jallo’s huge networking strength, that very strong and influential members of the community run towards him with the confidence that he is a man of capacity and integrity
So when he invited me to the CSCS, I did not hesitate. Edgar, just even come and see what we do here. Come so you would better understand our role in the evolving market so that all this your shouting will be a little bit more strategic.
The CSCS has been in the news of recent. The SEC has asked the NGX to sell down on its stake to a regulatory comfortable position while also approving a huge buy-in by its rival NGX.
You know how I have been railing on FMDQ recently cos of its unnecessary advantage as a result of the CBN major stake, which leaves its chairmanship position with a CBN Deputy Governor at all times.
Anyways, that is how I accepted the invite with a small confusion. Jallo wetin make I wear and he said oh boy wear anything, na u.
The building for me comes with a lot of memories. As a young trader, I traversed that building, losing money for clients who still loved me despite that.
The CSCS portion of the building was like an oasis of elegance in a harried building that had lost its imposing elegance.
The furnishing and interior designs were minimalist and essentially classy with a retro look that allowed for collaborative exchanges amongst its staff.
I stormed the huge board room where a strategy meeting was just ending. They had quickly rushed the food, and all stood there like mischievous children caught with their hands in the pot of soup.
I took one of the five sweets remaining as my brother, the sweet gentle giant Yinka Shonekan, introduced me to the rest of the team who were actually wondering what this bohemian with earings was doing in their boardroom
A quick tour of the three floors commenced with Jallo showing me what I would want to describe as the single most thoughtful office space in the markets.
I have entered a lot of offices, including the magnificent spaces that my brother, Wole Abegunde of Meristem, had dropped but none compared to the share elegance of its functionality and beauty of its spaces.
Jallos office itself was a journey into a minimalist paradise. Opening into a beautiful mini lounge and an exquisite meeting room for at least six.
Where next after CSCS? He smiles and looks at me, ‘ Edgar, good question. I am just starting my second term, so we see where it will take us.
FMDQ, are you afraid? He looks at me again with a confident smile – offcourse – not. They have just bought in, and we will have to have a sit down at some point. That has not happened yet but will definitely happen
Your relationship with Oscar. He is my friend and brother. There is mutual respect, and we both want the same things- market growth.
The CSCS- we have built a system that now attracts over N8b in daily trading volumes and value. We have digitalised the whole operations and ‘disappeared the queues’
Everything is in the clouds, and that is why during covid, we did as if nothing was happening
The staffing strategy was deliberate and took years- he says. We took our time in identifying the right complement in human capacity and ring- fenced them with training and a brilliant work space that allows for seamless interaction, driving a powerful collaborative enterprise
By this time, I was hungry and had to leave. Jallo missed it. He didn’t offer me afang, and he will suffer for it.
I stood up and he said,’Let’s take another tour’. Tour ke. Me that I needed to go look for something to eat…
We ended up on one of the floors and met a very happy crop of tech people. They looked older than the normal variant but just as talented if not more.
Thier job was to secure wealth and this is why Jallo’s CSCS didn’t joke with Cyber Security.
They sponsor an annual conference on the matter before lekki based ‘people’ come attack.
You could see that Jallo was one of the boys as you didn’t notice the usual “eye service” jump that announces the presence of the Oga.
The atmosphere and community were apparent, and you could see that Jallo really understood the vision of the founders and his role in it
As we stood outside, waiting for his motorcade and me looking for my rickety car and driver, the irony of the whole Nigerian economic system hits and hits very hard
We stare at the old and very rusty CBN offices. They look very dirty and disused with staff carrying forlorn faces coming out of the death trap that looks like it could fall any day…
And I turn to see the old but well kept buikding of the NGX and the neon sign announcing stock prices and market news, I could not help but shake my head at the confusing and contrasting signal that was playing out…
I hugged Jallo, and he rushed to his next meeting, and he said, ‘ Edgar and I say, Jallo, no worry, I no go yab you, person dey make mistake. How you no go give me Afang for your office. No worry, you be my paddy, I no go yab that your long nose.
Jallo is a man of history and also a man of the moment. I am watching him very closely. We need this man.
Nb – the Duke will be writing a new weekly colunm – N12 , on the capital market and the economy for influential Nairametrics starting next week . Keep a date.
Duke of Shomolu