Reinstated President of the Nigerain Stock Exchange (NSE), Aliko Dangote, on Tuesday braved the simmering opposition to his return to office, as he met with members of his Council in Lagos.
Mr. Dangote is taking over from Ballama Manu, whose term as Interim President of the Council since August 5, 2010 ended last week.
Since the pronouncemnet by the Court of Appeal ruling last Friday reinstating him as NSE President, Mr. Dangote had made it clear that he was ready to resume duty on Tuesday despite a groundswell of opposition from shareholders.
However, aggrieved shareholders had declared that they would do all within their powers to stop him from returning to the office he was forced to vacate in March 2010 following a decalration by the Federal High Court in Lagos nullifying his election.
Some shareholders of African Petroleum Plc (now Forte Oil Plc) had dragged him before the court seeking an order to restrain him from assuming office after he was alleged to have been indicted in the manipulation of AP shares in the stock market.
The National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigerian (ISAN), Sunny Nwosu, had declared shortly after the judgment last Friday that his members would challenge the Appeal court ruling in the Supreme Court.
Despite the opposition, Mr. Dangote defied all odds on Tuesday to resume office.
Shortly on arrival at the NSE building, Lagos at about 4.30 p.m. , Mr Dangote immediately went into the Council room where he presided over a brief closed door meeting with his predecessor, Oba Otudeko, and others in attendance.
A statement by the NSE Manager Media, Wole Tokede, said the brief meeting provided an opportunity for the new NSE President to acknowledge the progress being made in the ongoing reforms at the Exchange as well as express appreciation to members for their contributions.
Among the issues considered at the meeting were last week’s directives issued by the Board of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the individuals nominated by the Commission to the Council of The Exchange in the public interest should disengage from Council in an orderly manner.
“The Council was of the view that the disengagement process for these public interest members must be done in such a way that will enhance market confidence and ensure continued stability of The Exchange and the capital market,” Mr. Tokede said.
“Thus, Council decided that the President, AlhajiDangote should consult with stakeholders of The Exchange in order to assist Council to come to an informed decision on timing and manner of the disengagement, as well as reconstitution of the Council.”
Meanwile, the newly appointed acting director-general of SEC, Ibrahim Bolaji Bello, has called for the cooperation and support of all stakeholders in his effort to restore investor confidence in the country’s capital market.
Mr Bello, who was speaking in a meeting with senior directors, heads of department and staff of the DG’s office, assured the staff of fairness, and his desire for team work, soliciting their support, commitment, cooperation and discipline to move the market forward.
He spoke of plans to interface with market stakeholders, adding that he plans to meet with various operators in the market, including the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), stockbrokers, the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS), executive officers of the Chartered Institutes of Stockbrokers and Association of Stockbroking Houses (ASHON) within the week to chart the way forward.
But a source close to the Commission told PREMIUM TIMES in Abuja that Mr. Bello still needs to demonstrate his commitment to guarantee fairness among staff by ensuring that last week’s decission to redeploy some staff on punitive postings in the wake of the exit of the former Director-General, Arunma Oteh, is rescinded.
About seven of the staff who were considered close confidants and loyalists of Ms. Oteh were last week served with letters of redeployment to various affiliate institutions of the Commission, in a maner observers describes as vindictive.
Though Mr. Bello reportedly justified the action as aimed at boosting the affected staffs productivity on the job, it was gatherd that none of the affected workers were posted to their fields of professional competence, nor were assigned any schedule of duty and mandates.