Oteh and the legislative bullies


“Oteh faces severe challenges. It is coming from very influential, powerful individuals. It is a patronage-intensive society and their influence extends well into government.”

That was how a Nigerian economist in 2010 summed up the challenges ahead of the newly appointed Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Ms Arunmah Oteh, few months after she was appointed in a story by BBC’s Caroline Duffield.

Today, it’s difficult not to see that quote as prophetic. In a rare commendable feat in this clime, the National Assembly had passed the year 2013 budget before the end of last year. It was one of the few occasions that National Assembly lived up to their promise. But then, the Assembly fouled the air with a bitter vendetta against a hapless woman by refusing to appropriate any fund for the Security and Exchange Commission.

Following a public hearing on the capital market, the National Assembly had demanded that Oteh be relieved of her post at the SEC, a position President Goodluck Jonathan had respectfully disagreed with. It was not the call of duty of the legislature to dictate whom the executive employs or sacks, even though their right to pass resolutions against any public official is not in doubt.

They should have done a better job at the state of confirmation of appointment, not after. If anybody is in doubt that the National Assembly intended vendetta or blackmail, the doubt was removed by a unique, perhaps unprecedented clause inserted in the appropriation bill passed by the Assembly which totally freezes out fund from SEC.

The satanic clause states: “All revenues, howsoever described, including all fees received, fines, grants, budgetary provisions and all internally and externally generated revenues, shall not be spent by the Securities and Exchange Commission for recurrent or capital purposes or for any other matters or liabilities there from incurred, except with prior Appropriation and Approval by the National Assembly.” Meanwhile, the National Assembly had refused to admit Oteh to defend SEC’s budget like other government agencies. So we are reducing the matter to a personal quarrel between the National Assembly of Nigeria and a woman! A Nigerian citizen just like the legislators! Perhaps, Oteh’s problems started from the beginning.

Oteh had tried valiantly to reform the apex supervisory body, SEC, which had been so supine while the Nigerian capital market was raped by corporate buccaneers. In the face of such roguery, the Nigeria Stock Exchange, that had either been complicit in the multiple scams or afflicted with severe corporate governance issues, had not done much to protect the investors’ interest. Oteh’s first battle seems to be sacking the powerful DG of the exchange, a corporate Amazon in her own right who, in any case, was on her way out on retirement. Perhaps, Oteh should have allowed her to go quietly since she was due to go in a matter of months. But we might not be fully privy to her motive and reason for sacking Professor Ndy Okereke-Onyiuke, so we weigh the benefit of doubts in her favour until proved otherwise. Oteh’s sundry efforts at reforms ultimately put her at odds with her executive management. In regime of change, this is normally, hardly surprising. Who wants change, anyway? Well, certainly, not in a government parastatals that had been used to business as usual for so long. When the change is driven by a young, brash, strong-willed woman from outside the system, Oteh’s sins were compounded and a clash inevitable.

In the labyrinth of bureaucratic allays, there were bound to be banana peels carefully set up by her in-house foes, and Oteh seems to have slipped under some of them. One instance of such slippery traps was that she was accused of outsourcing a couple of part-time staff from Access Bank, one of the numerous companies under the regulatory purview of SEC. A mortal sin? Hardly.

But, an infraction, if that is one, is as big as those who want your head on a silver platter wants to make it. In the eyes of the National Assembly, this is one of the capital offences for which Oteh must be sacked! Yes, sacked—the last resort in administrative measures which is usually compared with capital punishment in judicial proceedings.

Ah, yes, lest I forget, the National Assembly listed some other infractions: that she was not in good terms with some members of the executive management, meaning, those rebellious and ambitious directors who staged a coup against her at the public hearing in the manner of Brutus and Julius Caeser; that there were questions about her qualification for the job in the first place, despite earning a first class degree in computer science from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; an MBA from Harvard plus being a Vice President African Development Bank, where she was headhunted from, after a long career that saw her loaded with cross-functional financial and capital market experience!

Perhaps, those who question her qualification for the job must have been educated at the universities located in Mars and would come to the job with far better experience other than those accumulated in internal bureaucratic manipulations! May God deliver us from persecutors who turn our achievements into ashes. But, of course, Oteh, must have her shortcomings. She must have been brash, broken some useless and archaic rules that had kept our society in the Dark Ages all these years and violated the orthodoxy.

If the truth were to be told, it seems that the real offence of this woman is her fall out with the chairman of the House Committee on Capital Market, Hon. Herman Hembe, whom she accused of demanding a total of N44 million from SEC, to fund the public hearing and collecting a business class ticket and estacode for a conference in Dominican Republic, which he never attended nor refunded the money. Oteh’s allegations forced the resignation of Hembe, the constitution of a new public hearing team which resolved that Oteh should be sacked. But asking for her head leaves a tale of a witch crying in the night and a child dying in the morning—any doubt about the killer?

President Jonathan is not only bound to ignore such churlish petulance of the legislators, the problem with bullies whether legislators, kidnappers, blackmailers or Boko Harams is that once you cave in to bullies, you empower them for the future.

But there is also a unique angle to this Oteh matter—the gender angle. From Nasir el Rufai to Lamido Sanusi, the National Assembly never foreclosed their budget. So, why is Oteh’s case different? Perhaps, gender bias?

The only thing the Nigerian alpha male hates more than plague is the prospect of a strong woman poking fingers in their face. In civilized settings, every man vows that they don’t mind intelligent woman competing equally with the male folk, after all, what a man can do, a woman at least can also do. But in reality, it is just a mask we wear to save face, to look contemporary and civilized.

Behind the scene, it seems men just don’t like strong women. The woman of our popular imagination, educated or not, is the cowering, subservient, beautiful creature below the sheet, who looks up to her superman—husband, lover or customer—with simple gratitude in her eyes. It is difficult to see the implacable stance of the National Assembly in their conflict with the executive over their demand for the sack of Ms Arunmah Oteh beyond the psychoanalytical dimension.

Starving SEC of fund is an unprecedented measure that would deny salaries to thousands of workers and rob even more thousands of their dependents of food, school fees and medicals. And our National Assembly is ready to descend to such an ego trip just to tame the sharp tongue of a bullish woman? Na wao!!!

24 yrs boy started importation with N10,450. Read his story here!

Men, forget Viagra. Use these to increase your manhood size & strength

How 2make over N500,000 in less than 12 days like I did

How watermelon made a Benin boy over N1,000,000 in 73days

Superb premature ejaculation spray. You 'll last 30minutes+

How to earn 40k-200k monthly from football matches almost on autopilot

3 Things I did to cure premature ejaculation after my wife left me

Small manhood and premature ejaculation limited my performance for 4yrs!

7 Simple yet amazing steps to earn over N200,000/monthly. Click here

How to get flat belly in just 9 days. Click here!

How to turn your Facebook to ATM machine that vomits cash

How 28yrs Lagos boy increased his manhood strength & size in 18days

Click here now if you are interested in earning at least N7,500/daily

How a young Nigerian generate over N1,000,000/month via digital marketing

Are you a real man? Click here to know if you are?

Get daily updates of jobs in Nigeria. Apply for your dream jobs

Work from home and get paid at least $1000 weekly!

Get bigger manhood and cure premature ejaculation using these solutions!

Housewife reveals How to Turn N8,500 into N100,000 monthly!

Small manhood made me lose my fiancee to a next neighbour

Shocking! See 1 crazy trick a man uses to last long on his wifey


About Author


  1. Bunch of fools that we call law makers. The national assembly is where we have the highest concentration of criminals in the country. Nothing good will come out from them.

  2. adeyemi sandra on

    Earn Instant $4.83 In your Liberty reserve Thru Currency Exchange
    Exchange earnings

    Break into your Financial Freedom do not pay any one to teach about online business
    i have paid heavily to so many brokers and Forex marketers but got nothing and i am
    unveiling this here for free do not pay any one to get this, start making you own earnings
    online its free, All you need do, is just to get your calculator and follow me carefully
    as i outline the (steps) below.


  3. He who holds a child’s belonging and raises his hand up, when his hand will start paining him, he will surely bring it down and the child will take it back. A reminder to the elders among them.

  4. You now see why we do not want the CBN Act amended ,despite its seeming positive sides. These hawks in the National Assembly that do not know why they are there would ultimately demand for One Billion Naira each and if they dont get it from the Governor, then no allocation even for staff salaries. This is really pathetic. Are these law makers real human beings or evil recalled.

  5. In other climes women will besiege the national assembly to protest this open harrasment and public assault. Even the women in the national assembly are keeping quiet over this matter and consenting to the humiliation of their folk. Conspirators are destroying this nation. The most unfortunate thing about them is that they plot from behind the scene and use every wicked device and connection available to them. However, by qualificationn and value to society, this woman is far above many of those who are hounding her today. She surely has nothing to loose.

Leave A Reply