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This lady is not for turning

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By Denrele Animasaun

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always.”- Mahatma Gandhi

The heat is on and it is getting hotter in the Securities and Exchange Commision. Arunma Oteh, the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)  has been in  the  hot  seat for  only  two  year  into   her  four  year  tenure . During  that  time she   has  had  to  ride   some  choppy  waves  and  it  seems  there  is   mutiny  in  the ranks.

Staff in  the  commission   are up  in  arms that   she is  back  to  work  and  those  who  have  refused  to  toe  the  line  are   been  roughed  up  by  the  majority. Ms   Oteh   returned fresh from enforced leave and the knives are   once more sharpen for Ms Oteh.

Following her return from leave, after independent auditors cleared her over allegations that she misappropriated public funds, the focus has shifted now to her competence to   head the commission. She is a Harvard MBA graduate with 16 years’ experience at the African Development Bank. She worked first as a Senior Capital Markets Officer and was promoted in 1997 to Division Manager Investments and Trading Room.

In 2001, she became the bank’s Group Treasurer (responsible for fundraising and investments in major international capital markets); in 2006 she became the Vice President for Corporate Management. It is a bit late to question her credentials and  experience to head the commission as  the very same accusers  appointed  her  to  the post in the first  place and  the  same  now demanding  her resignation.

On  closer  examination, it seems  the cordial  relationship  went  sour after Ms Oteh ruffled some feathers  and  was effective  in  smoking  out  the  malpractices, corruption that  was  endemic  in  the commissions  prior  to  her  appointment.

This was  shortly  after she  accused  some of the committee  members   of the corruption  and  surpassing the mandate of hearing and dodged questions put to her.  The gauntlet was thrown down sometime about March 15, 2012, when she personally accused the Honourable Herman Hembe, the Chairman of the House Committee of Capital Market, of soliciting for N44 million bribes.

Coincidences? I  think  not. Then the   very  same  Honourable  member   Herman Hembe, the head of the House Committee,   accused  her  of  breaking  the  rules  and  compromising her position of overspending N3million on  hotel expenses  of   which N850,000  she   spent on   food alone. Another revelation was that Ms Arunma Oteh, recruited staff of Access bank, Charles Ughele and Titi Olubiyi, as SEC’s advisers, a move that goes against the regulatory role of the commission over the bank.

Ms  Oteh returned  after  been  cleared  by the  independent  auditors of  no  gross  misconduct or  fraudulent  practices .  So why are the workers so aggrieved by her return? They said, they are not but that Ms Oteh’s recall did not follow due process.   Really   then, Ms Oteh  should  be  allowed  to  get on  with  her  job, you  would  think.

On the contrary, Secretary General of the SEC Staff Union, John Briggs said that some workers “don’t want her back until due process is followed” and   that the   letter of   recall should have   been signed by supervising Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala rather than Secretary to the Government of the Federation !

The   market   needs   confidence to recover and the in-fighting is not conducive to  the growth, competition and confidence of  investors.

Bamidele Aturu,a lawyer and human rights activist,  said that Oteh’s position  is  no longer  tenable and it is  disquiet  that  she  has  been  reinstated despite the fact that she was no longer fit to head SEC.

Make   what you will,  but I am  sure there are bigger fish to fry and  Ms  Oteh is  far from being perceived as the nation’s public  enemy.

Oshiomole: Edo People Have Sponken

Advancement is achievable only through patient, enduring, honest, unremitting, and indefatigable work. we may explain success mainly by one word and that word is WORK! WORK!! WORK!!! WORK!!!! -Frederick Douglass

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the candidate of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Adams Oshiomhole, as the winner of the July 14th governorship elections in Edo State. The elections were relatively peaceful and hitch -free.

The incumbent governor polled a landslide victory in all the state’s 17 local government area with 477,478 votes-73.72 per cent of 647,698 total votes cast-to defeat his closest rival, Charles Airhiarvbere of the People’s Democratic Party(PDP).  It   was seen as a high turnout, though; NEC confirmed that only 647,698 votes were cast, representing 40 per cent of the total registered voters of 1,651,099 in the state.

The governor addressed his supporters at the King’s Square shortly after the result. Oshiomole said that “Edo people from the south to the north to the central have spoken as one. This shows that all efforts of some people to whip up ethnicity failed woefully. Edo elections have shown that merit alone would determine the pattern of voting”.

And   he continued: “The way the people have voted has made my job easier. I will build on the existing bridges of unity and sustain our developmental agenda,” he promised.

Congratulating  Oshiomhole on his victory, President Jonathan urged him to receive the fresh mandate as an endorsement of his outstanding performance in his first term and an expression of their desire for a continuation of his focused, purposeful and dynamic leadership and wished him a successful second term in office.

The work at hand now is to reunite  the people  of Edo State,  so  they  work together not along party lines  but  as   one  people  with common  interests that,  benefits all and  not  just  some. The  people have  spoken  and  they  voted  with what one hopes, with their  conscience.

About  time  the other states  take note that a  peaceful  election is possible  and  it  is  achievable.Edo  State  has  led the  way for others to follow.

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