The Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms Arunma Oteh, will on today (Monday) officially bow out of office after spending the mandatory five years.
She is expected to hand over to any of the commissioners on the board of SEC in Abuja.
There are five commissioners on the board SEC three of who are executive commissioners, while the other are non-executive commissioners.
Five of them were appointed on the same day thus making it difficult to predict who the outgoing DG would hand over the affairs of the commission to.
The three executive commissioners are Mallam Mounir Gwarzo (Operations); Zakawanu Garuba (Finance and Administration); and Mrs. Sa’adatu Bello (Legal and Enforcement).
Oteh became the DG of SEC in January 2010 and was elected Chairperson, Africa Middle East Regional Committee of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions in June 2010. She was re-elected in June 2012 and in September 2014.
She is a member of the Nigerian Economic Management Team chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan and is also a director on the Board of the National Pension Commission and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria.
She is also a board member of the International Organisation of Securities
A statement from the commission on Sunday said that during her five-year tenure, Oteh was able to carry out a series of reforms that helped to reposition the capital market in line with global best practices.
Some of the reforms, the statement stated, included the restoration of investor confidence through strong enforcement actions and improvement of rules and regulations; deepening the scope of the capital market; and restoring market integrity through zero tolerance for rule infractions.
She was also credited with strengthening disclosures and transparency in the capital market, promoting good corporate governance and helping to build the capacity building of the workers.
Despite her achievements, the SEC DG had been involved in series of controversies, which pitched her against some powerful interests.
For instance, Oteh had in March 2012 accused the Chairman, House Committee on Capital Market, Herman Hembe, of demanding N39m from SEC and another N5m cash request to support the investigation into the near-collapse of the Nigerian capital market.
While she claimed that SEC did not provide the money, the DG alleged that Hembe and the committee’s Deputy Chairman, Mr. Chris Azubogu, took first class tickets and estacode from SEC to attend a capital market conference in the Dominican Republic but did not use the money as approved and did not return it.
The development made Hembe to withdraw from the probe and offered to subject himself to investigation by anti-graft agencies.
The House, in response, reassigned the investigation to an eight-member ad-hoc committee chaired by Mr. Ibrahim El-Sudi.
But few months after the allegation, the House of Representatives called on Jonathan to remove Oteh as the SEC DG for not possessing the required experience for the job.
The legislators also passed a resolution not to make any appropriation to the commission in the 2013 fiscal period except Oteh was removed.
The Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Victor Ogene, had while defending the position of the lawmakers said, “Nobody has faulted our findings and recommendations on Oteh. You must possess a certain level of experience in capital market operations for you to be appointed as the head of SEC.
“Oteh does not fulfil this legal requirement. We have specified our position and we remain unapologetic and resolute.”
Despite the call for her removal, the President rejected the lawmakers’ request, stating that withholding SEC funds would affect the capital market.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange ended 2014 as one of the worst performing exchanges in the world as the market capitalisation of the listed equities fell by N1.749tn from N13.226tn at the start of the year to N11.477tn.
This is despite the listing of companies such as Caverton Offshore Support Group Plc, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc and Omoluabi Savings and Loans Plc, which added billions of naira to the market capitalisation.