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.