In a surprising turn of events, Olu Akanmu, the CEO of OPay Nigeria, has announced his resignation from the company after serving for two years in the leadership position. The announcement was made during the ongoing celebration of the company’s 5th anniversary in Nigeria.
Akanmu shared the news of his departure through a Twitter post on Monday morning, without citing any specific reasons for his decision to step down. However, he emphasized the importance of advancing financial inclusion for Nigerians in his farewell message.
“My gratitude to all my colleagues at Opay for the good work we did together in deepening financial inclusion in Nigeria, ensuring that less and less number of our people are left behind in partaking out of the opportunities of the digital financial system. Many thanks also to all our ecosystem partners and enablers who complimented us, without which we would not have been able to deliver on the lofty mission of OPay which is to ‘deepen financial inclusion through technology’,” Akanmu said in a tweet.
Akanmu succeeded Yahui Zhou shortly after the company raised $400 million in financing led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and reached unicorn status. The funding raised Opay’s valuation to $2 billion, making it the second African fintech unicorn after Flutterwave. During his tenure as CEO, Akanmu made notable strides in steering the Chinese-backed fintech company to impressive growth, especially during Nigeria’s financial challenges. Under his watch, OPay Nigeria implemented effective distribution strategies and expanded its infrastructure, contributing to its significant success.
Akanmu, a seasoned industry professional and former executive director at FCMB, brought his expertise to OPay Nigeria when he joined the company in November 2021. His leadership has been instrumental in guiding the company through various challenges and driving its growth in the competitive fintech landscape.
While expressing his gratitude to stakeholders who supported him during his time at OPay, Akanmu issued a challenge to the broader fintech community in Nigeria. He called for deeper financial inclusion, stressing the importance of collaborations, public-private partnerships, and more coordinated efforts within the digital public infrastructure ecosystem. These measures, according to him, will be pivotal in ensuring fintech companies successfully extend the digital financial services to an additional 20 million Nigerians.
“For the Nigeria Fintech community, the imperative of ensuring that we serve not only the banked and underserved, but also the completely excluded which still represents at least 45% of our people should be our collective and greater patriotic mission, complementing the historic efforts of traditional players. […] Collaborations, public-private partnerships, and more deliberate coordination at the digital public infrastructure (#dpi) ecosystem layers would be critical to ensure we succeed in doing the next heavy lifting to extend the digital financial rail to the next 20 million,” Akanmu said.
As part of the 5th-anniversary celebrations, OPay Nigeria recently unveiled a new logo as part of a rebranding effort. The company believes that the new logo symbolizes its substantial growth and impact over the years. Additionally, it represents the company’s commitment to embracing a new era with enhanced services, technological advancements, and a strong focus on solidifying its position as Nigeria’s most reliable financial platform.
With the departure of Olu Akanmu as CEO, the company will now embark on a new chapter in its journey. As the search for a new CEO begins, the focus remains on building upon the achievements of the past and continuing to lead the way in the fintech industry in Nigeria.