The five-year tenure of Ms. Arunma Oteh as Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC Nigeria) ended on Friday.
Oteh was appointed by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2009 but resumed in January 2010.
It was not clear as of Sunday who she would hand over to.
According to sources close to the commission, the three executive commissioners of the SEC – Mounir Gwazo, Sa’adatu Bello and Zakawanu Garuba, a former Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly – were appointed on the same day.
One of the sources said the commission’s human resource department would tell who resumed duty first among the three executive commissioners, pending the appointment of a replacement for Oteh by the Federal Government.
This means she is either not seeking renewal of her tenure or aware that the appointing authority may not extend it.
Oteh, a former treasurer at the African Development Bank (AfDB), would be remembered for her desire, passion and faithful implementation of a therapy of reform measures to transform the Nigerian market into world class market.
A statement by the commission on Sunday, credits her with a hunger to “see Nigeria achieve a world class capital market that would drive development and make Nigeria one of the most attractive investment destination.”
Listed among her accomplishments include restoration of “investor confidence through strong enforcement actions and improvement of rules and regulations, and investor education.
Her creative initiatives include partnership with Nollywood to produce movies, an annual integrity award to promote integrity and capital market knowledge. SEC established the National Investor Protection Fund and strengthened its Administrative Proceedings Committee.
“The market witnessed significant product innovation, improved listing rules, landmark bond market reforms (which brought it almost at par with the equities market and made it attractive enough for Triple A issuers such as African Development Bank (AfDB) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) to issue bonds), introduction of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), widening of participation in the markets through licensing and coming on stream of other capital trade points like National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and Financial Market Dealers Quotation (FMDQ) that have expanded market access.”
The statement also noted among the achievements of the outgoing DG, the restoration of integrity to the market through zero tolerance for rule infractions.
“The SEC’s enforcement machinery was significantly strengthened to respond to this new emphasis. In addition to other measures, an 18-man Nigeria Police Force team was deployed as a resident enforcement team at the SEC to respond to enforcement matters with speed and promptitude. This was unprecedented in the history of the apex regulator.”
The SEC, in the past five years, has also strengthened “disclosure requirements and spearheaded the implementation of international financial reporting standards for listed companies.”
In 2011, the SEC published a new code of corporate governance for the Nigerian markets for standards improvement in line with international best practice.
“In addition to a significant improvement in corporate governance, the code is now mandatory. SEC’s role in revamping corporate governance at Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) was globally recognised.
During the period, the SEC also championed reforms at the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) which has witnessed much more robust output and delivery in its operator/oversight role.
The initiative to revamp listing rules led to landmark transactions such as the dual listing of SEPLAT Petroleum on the NSE and the London Stock Exchange in April 2014 as well as the development of an alternative securities market.
Many would also not forget in a hurry that she forcefully sacked the NSE management led by Dr. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, using gun-wielding policemen. In her place, Emmanuel Ikhazoboh, former country manager of Akintola Delloitte & Touche, now chairman of ETI, was appointed.
Oteh is also credited with providing “thought leadership on the role of the capital market as an enabler of socio economic development, an efficient mechanism for capital allocation, and for fostering meritocracy in the economy and ultimately peace and prosperity in the society through efficient resource allocation.”
In November, she launched a 10-year masterplan in a bid to see the Nigerian capital “market become a world class one and the fulcrum of socio-economic development.”
The masterplan “supplies a strategic architecture for repositioning the Nigerian capital market as one of the best and biggest globally within the envisaged time frame, re-focus the market and help double its size over time and grow the economy.”
Her plan to raise the capital base of capital market operators was shelved due to the ongoing market downturn.