No second term for Arunma Oteh! Why Director General of SEC resigned

by Kolapo Olapoju

The Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC), Arunma Oteh has resigned from her position.

Despite being intensely lobbied, President Goodluck Jonathan rejected a request for the extension of Oteh’s tenure and approved the appointment of a Commissioner in the Commission, Mounir Gwarzo, as acting Director-General.

Sources say that even the intervention of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, could not save Oteh, as the president was hellbent on replacing her.

Okonjo-Iweala had reportedly sent a memo to the president, based on the recommendation of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, to intercede for Oteh.

The factors believed to be responsible for her ouster, is the lingering face-off between the Executive and National Assembly over her tenure and also the evaluation which showed that her performance as head of SEC, was far from spectacular.

Another reason is also the fact that stakeholders and workers in the Stock Exchange market, wanted a new face in the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The source said: “Despite intense lobbying by some government officials and business players, the President stood his ground that Ms. Oteh should not come back.”

“Jonathan rejected a memo from the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala seeking the retention of Ms. Oteh. The Minister based the case for Oteh on a strong recommendation by the SGF, Anyim Pius Anyim.”

“To some extent, the SGF misled the Minister because the indices did not add up for Oteh as to earn a renewal of tenure. There was no convincing statistics to prove that Oteh has led the stock market to a leap recovery. No one could explain why the Office of the SGF which suspended her while in office will be the one championing her retention. I think there was a tribal connotation to it.”

‘The evaluation of her tenure indicated an average performance because she was rated as ‘neither sterling nor spectacular. The President chose to look beyond ethnic sentiments and stood on the side of truth and the public yearning for a change in SEC. Stakeholders in the Stock Exchange Market, workers and others alike wanted a fresh breath of air in SEC. You will recall that at the peak of SEC crisis in 2012, Ms. Oteh’s commissioners even disowned her,” the source added.

Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released a statement, confirming Oteh’s exit.

The commission said: “She was in a hurry to see Nigeria achieve a world class capital market that will drive development and make Nigeria one of the most attractive investment destination. The market witnessed significant product innovation, improved listing rules, landmark bond market reforms widening of participation in the markets through licensing and coming on stream of other capital trade points.”

“Under her leadership, the SEC also championed reforms at the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) that witnessed a more robust output and delivery in its operator/oversight role,” the statement added.

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