Amidst the crisis in its management, the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) will on Monday set a rare record in the anal of appointments, as a third Director-General takes charge of the troubled capital market regulatory agency.
As at Monday, the commission had Arunma Oteh as its Director-General. But that changed at the end of the 166th meeting of the its Board, which reportedly lasted till the wee hours of Tuesday.
The meeting was to served as a valedictory session for the outgoing Udo Udoma-led board, which was about 72 hours away from the end of its tenure, as at Monday. The session however turned out an anti-climax for Ms. Oteh, as she was asked to immediately proceed on compulsory leave.
The report of the Audit and Finance Committee constituted by the board last March to investigate the sources and uses of funds for the Project 50 event held in 2010 was top on the agenda of the meeting. The meeting was said to have been held under a somewhat stormy and charged atmosphere.
Despite the former Director-General’s explanations, the board not only upheld the recommendation of the Audit and Finance Committee for an independent audit of Project 50 programme, but also resolved to beam its searchlight on all issues raised during the last public hearing by the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market, which sought to unravel the near collapse of the country’s capital market in 2008.
To ensure unfettered investigations, the board directed Ms. Oteh to proceed on compulsory leave with immediate effect. The most senior member of SEC, the Executive Commissioner (Operations), Daisy Ekineh, was directed to take over as acting Director-General and Chief Executive.
Determined to consolidate her grip on power, Ms Ekineh-led management moved swiftly to dislodge most of her predecessor’s loyalists. She issued redeployment letters to seven of them as punitive measures and to check threats to the board’s authority.
But on Thursday, the Federal Government ruled out the possibility of extending the tenure of any member of the board in spite of the peculiar circumstance that saw the emergence of Ms. Ekineh as the acting Director General of the Commission.
The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, told reporters on Thursday in Abuja that the President had given approval for the Director (Finance and Administration), Ibrahim Bello, to take over the management of the Commission on a temporary basis as acting Director-General.
According to the Minister, a substantive Director-General may be appointed within the next three weeks after the external auditors currently looking into the books of the Commission on the Project 50 programme have completed their assignment.
Other members of the board whose tenure expired Friday 15, June include – Executive Commissioner (Finance & Accounts), Lawal Stores and Executive Commissioner (Legal & Enforcement), Charles Udora as well as Yahaya Ali and Ronke Fatade as non-executive Commissioners.
Daniel Kifasi represented the Federal Ministry of Finance, while Christopher Chukwu, represented the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Mr. Bello, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), will take charge of the management of the agency on Monday.
He began his service at the Nigeria Stock Exchange, Kaduna Branch, and has over 33 years of working experience spanning Banking, Stockbroking and Capital Market Regulations in the former Icon Merchant Bank, Citi Trust Merchant bank, Empire Securities Limited, before joining SEC in 2001 as deputy director. He was appointed director in 2006.
His working experience in SEC includes Head of Registration department, Head of Lagos Zonal office, and most recently, the Director of Transformation, and later Administration.