Shake up in SEC, as 7 Arunma Oteh

Less than 48 hours after the decision of the Board of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to send its Director General, Arunma Oteh, on compulsory leave, the interim administration has commenced a massive shake up that has so far claimed at least seven casualties.

So far, those affected are close confidants and loyalists of the embattled Director-General who were served with letters of redeployment to various affiliate institutions of the Commission, apparently in a bid to wrest back the control of the management.

One of the affected workers, who was one of the professionals contracted to handle some special duties in the former Director-General’s office, Obi Adindu, was earlier on Thursday issued a query after he was accused of granting an interview to some media houses to condemn the Board’s controversial decision against Ms. Oteh.

The query was contained in a memo dated June 14, 2012 and signed by the head of the Human Resources department, Hussaini Dauda.

But, even before Mr. Adindu could complete his response to the query, he was slammed with another memo conveying the new management’s decision to redeploy him to the Nigerian Capital Market Institute (NCMI), Abuja, with immediate effect.

The institute, established as a training school in 2004 to cater for the manpower development and training needs of the capital market and affiliate organisations, has not been functioning according to expectation and has since been converted to a dumping ground for inept staff and those with disciplinary issues believed to deserve punitive posting. 

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Other affected staff, who were also served with similar letters, including mostly Ms. Oteh’s personal staff, were redeployed to various zonal offices of the Commission across the country.

It was gathered that the seven persons were in the first batch of those to be in affected in the shake-up, even as the new management battles to secure the nod of the relevant government authorities to stay beyond the limit of its tenure, which lapses on Friday.

Indications are that despite the desperate lobbying by the outgoing Board, the Ministry of Finance appear unyielding to recommend to the Presidency for approval as none of the members has yet been granted permission to hang on beyond the terminal date. 

The Executive Commissioner (Operations), Daisy Ekineh, who was named acting Director General of the Commission in the wake of Ms Ote’s ouster on Tuesday, was, on Thursday morning sighted by PREMIUM TIMES in the lobby of the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Though Ms. Ekineh told our reporter that she was not in the Ministry in connection with the crisis in the Commission, it was gathered that since her assumption of office as acting Director-General she has been frequenting the office in an attempt to push for the nod to stay on.

But the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Thursday ruled out any tenure extension on the basis of peculiar circumstance that saw the emergence of Ms. Ekineh as the acting Director General of the Commission.

According to the Minister, a new Director General might be appointed within the next three weeks after the external auditors currently looking into the books of the Commission on the Project 50 programme has completed its assignment in the next three weeks.  

“Nobody is attempting to extend its tenure,” Mrs Okonjo-Iweala said. “There should be no fear or danger of that. From Monday next week, with the concurrence of Mr. President, Bolaji Ibrahim Bello, one of the senior directors, who is presently the Director (Finance and Administration) will be designated on a temporary basis as acting DG to carry on with his director’s job. 

“We also look forward to the result of the audit that the Board has ordered, once we know what the results are, we will take it from there. We do not expect it to last for too long and that is why we are giving them a timeline of three weeks for this audit to be completed.”

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