Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Nigeria is a
government agency authorized to regulate and develop the
Nigerian capital market.
As we all recall the period between 2006 and
2008 up to 2009, was a rough time for Nigerians and other
investors as the atmosphere was marked with enormous human
distrust and gross financial mismanagement in the capital
From the point of psychological observation,
it was a time when the nation’s capital market was
reportedly operating and managed in what appeared to be a
sickly financial atmosphere.
The then Director General Professor Ndi
Okereke-Onyiuke who was at the helm of the Nigerian Stock
Exchange (NSE) was in charge of an exchange which reportedly
was at the heart of a web of duplicitous and dishonest
accounting practices. But not for too long!
The new gate keeper and the Director General
of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms. Arunma Oteh
would abruptly bring to an end Professor Ndi
Okereke-Onyiuke’s decade old tenure at the NSE in 2010 for
the sole purpose of cleaning up the nation's capital
Professor Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke sudden removal
was amid complaints of inadequate oversight of the
Exchange, constant litigation, investors protest and
allegations of financial irregularities, and leadership
To this day that cleaning or cleansing
continues as investor’s confidence in the market remained
In March of this year, DG. Arunma Oteh, would
face Mr. Herman Hembe of Benue State, the then Chairman of
the House of Representatives capital Market Committee who
was presiding over a capital market probe.
During the period of the probe Chairman
Herman Hembe , in what now appeared to be fantasy swore to
“work assiduously to get the capital market back to its
During the hearings, he continuously viewed
DG. Oteh as incompetent to clean the capital market , and
this he did in a markedly accusatory and intimidating
But buried inside the conscience of this risk
taking woman, Ms. Oteh, is the belief that Nigeria can be
pushed to the right of goodness and with this spirit, she
noted that “I was told upon my appointment that whenever you
try to fight corruption, corruption will fight you back”.
Armed with this deep seated thought and using
it as a guide or as a lookout she reminded the world during
the House of Representatives capital Market Committee
hearing about Hembe’s political and ethical unfitness to
chair a truth finding probe.
DG. Oteh sounded that, “In asking the SEC to
contribute N39m for this public hearing, don’t you think
that you are undermining your capacity to carry out your
duties?” She did not stop there.
Ms. Oteh asked of chairman Hembe and informed
the world how he, Mr.Hembe had further demanded N5m from SEC
as well as receiving allowance to enable him to travel to
the Dominican Republic for a conference which he did not
attend and did not refund the money to the commission— Hembe
would later state that he attended the conference, only to
state later that he lied as he never attended.
Today, Hembe is under legal watch and will
soon to be court for first appearance for a crime against
Without Ms. Oteh, who is bent on moving
public servants and political representatives of the people
to good ethics, this improper, intentional, and deceptive
conduct of Representative Hembe which will forever stain
the National Assembly would never have come out openly.
As we all know we are in the midst of poor
infrastructure and gloomy poverty, and a disease stricken
environment, Ms. Oteh, has since reminded Nigerians how the
Nigerian Stock Exchange under the leadership of Professor
Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke spent N1.3 billion on travel cost alone
In a very daring manner Ms. Oteh in one of
the public hearings on the Capital Market revealed that “One
of the notable fraudulent transactions include the
reclassification of N1.3 billion originally expended on
She appears to want to help Nigerians uncover
cases of unethical accounting practices which are deeply
ingrained among some officials in regards to occurrences of
financial skimming, misappropriation, untruthful accounting,
falsification, and questionable transactions.
Without Ms. Oteh’s bold move, how would
Nigerians with many of them and their various institutions
suffering from abject conditions ever come to know that the
NSE once bought a yacht for N37 million and only to falsely
write down the book value of the yacht expense as a gift
which was presented during its 2008 Long Service Award, but
without records of the beneficiary.
We now know how the NSE also spent N186
million on 165 Rolex wrist watches as gifts for awardees
when in truth only 73 were actually presented to the
How do we explain these painful revelations
to our children and the upcoming generation?
To make these illegal and ethical matters
worse, Ms. Oteh noted that many financial transactions were
routed through businesses owned by some senior officers of
the Exchange. A shameless act indeed!
Ms. Oteh as a woman of powerful insight have
slowly reduced the feeling of apathy among investors, and
she has helped to reduce various market abuses that had been
rampant from 2006 to 2009.
Ms, Oteh’s open war on greed, embezzlement,
and corporate looting followed by instituting various
repercussions and consequences in these agencies now finds
herself facing mounting and negative intimidations.
With no one capable of blackmailing her into
silence and with nothing to hide as well as her continuously
standing on her impeccable record of uprightness, she has
shown to value critique a reasonable one of course.
As in the case of retaining some corps
members who served in the agency, she stated that when she
studied the situation fully, she decided to follow laid down
As to other staffing issues she admitted to
have engaged some contract staff in line with the standing
policy of the agency.
It is important that if she was to be
investigated by any law enforcement agency it should be done
Especially in regards to these apparent
civic or job related complaints like the reported internal
operations spending like the N30m on hotel accommodation in
eight months, and the reported amount of N850, 000 on food
in a day and on another day, the spending N85,000, and other
financial issues of rent and cars.
The enquiry should begin with internal study
to ascertain any sort of breaching of public service
There is no doubt that some of the indicated
expenses are quite huge as they reflect an extension of the
nation’s public officials overspending but in terms of
accountability , and not criminality she will need to fully
tell and explain to Nigerians why such usage of huge
operational monies for her person.
As a woman of high competence in regards to
her present job, we now know how she won her long-drawn
battle with the former DG of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
We now know how she uncovered elements of
nepotism at the NSE, and in an American way she reminded
Nigerians in one of the public hearings that “This sitting
has become a Kangaroo court. Not even in Idi Amin’s Uganda
did we have this type of hearing,” and she made it her
objective to make sure that any attack on her personality
by the likes of Mr. Hembe were forcefully defended as such
move will teach other legislators acts of public etiquette
and her verbal submissions as act of deterrent to future
Mr. President, if you value sweeping changes
in leadership with regard to revealing matters of
corruption, opening up financial illegalities, unearthing
unethical behaviors, and on raising alarm on bad behaviors
as well as not sweeping things under carpet, she is your
As one of best first class student at
University of Nigeria, Nsukka(UNN), a top rated student in
her class at Harvard Business School, and having
distinguished herself as vice president of African
Development Bank(ADB), she was snatched by the late
President Yar’Adua from ADB to the assist in cleaning up
As a result of this cleansing since Ms.
Oteh’s arrival in 2010, some of the Executive Commissioners
at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are no
longer able to do things as they use to do, and to move
things forward there could have been times when DG Oteh may
have carried many important initiatives and actions
functionally as she may not have full trust of some of
these SEC’s executive.
Some of them have being at the SEC for
millions of years! In order words they have for a long time
been there , as long as not less than 20 years at the
agency—at the height of investors distrust and financial
DG Oteh appeared to have come to kill the
feelings and acts of entitlement, as such there is rage and
restrain among some executives.
Ms Oteh as an outsider was not going to do
things the dark ways or in a none visionary way, and as to
her being reported as not giving participation to these
executives in regards to planning matters like the Project
50, and personnel matters like the recruitment of contract
staff it is now reported that some of the planning and
exercises went through executive management.
Mr. President, while Ms. Oteh certainly needs
to improve on collaborating and engaging her commissioners
on different key initiatives, she certainly will not allow
old, subjective and personalized styles to replace her
visions in terms of the SEC system becoming marked with
transparency, merit-based environment and true
Mr. President, with what Ms. Oteh has leant
in the academic and business world upon her assumption of
duty and finding out all the stupidities and irregularities,
if she had the free choice many of these executives would
long have been home or gone somewhere else, and this she
would have done for full transformation to take place.
Mr. President, in Nigeria of today there are
too much glitches, snags and confusions so for the sake of
positive change let DG Oteh face and do her job so she can
remain one of the few ones who will continue with the
teaching of the open-minded commissioners, forward-looking
staff, stakeholders and the public as to how the soil of
capital market is supposed to look like in regards to the
nation’s enrichment and investors satisfaction.
Mr. President, for this alone let her serve
her term fully, and as we all are witnessing at this time
she will do this service with astuteness, a mindset that the
country dearly needs at this time among our public leaders.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D., is an
Abuja-based Forensic/Clinical Psychologist. Jos5930458@aol.com