By Peter Egwuatu
SHAREHOLDERS under the aegis of Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN) has called on the Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to intervene appropriately in the appointment of a Director General (DG) that will succeed Professor Ndi Okereke Onyiuke when she leaves office in November 2010.
Mr.Boniface Okezie, National Chairman, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN) who spoke the minds of its members during a chart with journalists in Lagos affirmed that the issue of who succeeds Prof. Okereke-Onyiuke as DG is a very serious one and as stakeholders in the nationâ€™s capital market they would not fold their arms and watch it being politicised.
â€œTake for instance the way Alhaji Aliko Dangote emerged as the President of the Exchange, controversy has trailed it and we do not want a repeat of such. The NSEÂ has been burdened with so many problems; which has eroded investorsâ€™ confidence, if the issue of succession becomes another problem, then we will be worst hitâ€ Okezie said.
The PSAN boss stated that Prof. Okereke-Onyiuke has done a good job in her tenure, but affirmed that it would be honourable on her part to handover the baton of leadership to her assistant. â€œIt would be honourable for her to say that I have an assistant that is capable of taking over from me.Madam cannot determine who succeeds her, because the Exchange is not a private business. She succeeded Apostle Hayford Alile retired when she was Deputy DG, if there was politics during this period, she wouldnâ€™t have succeeded himâ€ Okezie noted.
Speaking he said â€œ Succession structure states that to be the DG of the NSE , the next in rank to the DG is to be appointed to succeed the incumbent; who must be a qualified and experienced stockbroker. So as it is now the Assistant DG is next in line to takeover the affairs of the Exchange and the person must be a Stockbroker; these two criteria Elakama possessesâ€ Okezie affirmed.
PSAN bossÂ stressed that the post of the DG ought to be occupied by anybody who meets the above criteria which is in line with the provisions of article 154 of the NSE Rules and Regulations on the qualification of Chief Executive Officers (CEOâ€™s) of Stock Broking firms.
Okezie again affirmed that the rivalry of who succeeds as the next DG of the Stock Exchange is uncalled for, therefore, the right thing should be done by the Council to get a successor according to laid down procedures.
â€œThey should not heat up an already ailing capital market through this succession problem; which I consider artificial; instead they should find a way of helping the market grow in order to return investors confidenceâ€ he said.
â€œThere is no vacuum in leadership at the Exchange as far as I am concerned, you do not look for a successor elsewhere; when there is somebody already in the house and well qualified. I think the demutualisation programme of the Exchnage is faulty.The issue of let all the General Managers (GMs) go with the DG is wrong, she cannot determine who to succeed or go with her, the Council of the Exchange should decide on this; and by now they ought to have let us know the successor to Prof. Okereke-Onyiuke as the DG of the Stock Exchangeâ€ Okezie declared.
It should be noted that Onyiuke had at a news conference held in Lagos on demutualisation of the Exchange early 2009 affirmed that she would retire in year 2010 alongside some top Executives.
Following this, two former General Managers (GMâ€™s) Uzoma Henry Onyekuru, GM/Head, Compliance & Special Projects and Yinka Idowu, GM/Head, Corporate AffairsÂ Â retired from the NSE June 2009.Information gathered revealed that Elakama was to follow in this footstep and was slated to retire compulsorily December 2009, but this was overruled by the Council of the Exchange in one of its meetings.
However, the PSAN National Chairman hailed the outgoing DG for the dynamism she brought to the NSE ; but maintainedÂ that she should handover to Elakama who is the most qualified and appropriate successor as the new DG of the Exchange.