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Arunma Oteh: The Rejected Stone - Politics - Nairaland

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Arunma Oteh: The Rejected Stone by HOTWATER(m): 2:04am On Oct 05, 2015
ARUNMA Oteh, the much-maligned immediate past Director-General of Nigeria’s Security and Exchange Commission, SEC, has just assumed duties at the World Bank as its Vice President and Treasurer. Oteh’s appointment was announced on Friday 24, July 2015, by the World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim who enthused: “I am pleased to announce the appointment of Arunma Oteh as VP and Treasurer of the World Bank. Ms. Oteh was selected for this position through an international competitive search.” Her appointment, said Kim, is effective from September 28, 2015.

Oteh’s appointment excites me for three reasons. She is a Nigerian. She is a woman. But the most exciting is that it vindicates all those who believed in her in the midst of one of the most vicious humiliation meted out on a public officer in his/her fatherland.

I first met Oteh on the pages of Vanguard Newspapers when the newspaper invited her from her Tunis base at the African Development Bank Group, AfDB, where she was the Vice President, Corporate Services, to deliver a high profile lecture in Nigeria. After reading her paper, I regretted not attending the lecture.

Beautiful. Elegant. Sure – footed. Meticulous, intelligent, brilliant, and not given to frivolity, Oteh is a cocktail of a total woman. I longed to meet her. Then, as fate would have it, months later, I met her physically at the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri, where both of us were honoured with the Fellowship of the Institution. Before we were bestowed with the honour, Oteh delivered another beautiful lecture which had the students on their feet, cheering and applauding.

When I went over to congratulate her, she was humble, and full of humility. We chatted like two long lost friends. That was where Oteh and I exchanged phone numbers. You can imagine my joy when former President Goodluck Jonathan appointed her the Director General of SEC, thus, bringing her back to her fatherland. In doing that, she was expected to bring her expertise into reviving Nigeria’s, almost, dead Capital Market. Her profile fitted the bill, and so did her carriage.

Prior to coming home to boss the SEC, her job as the VP AfDB, Corporate, included human resources, information, technology, and institutional procurement. For five years – 2001 to 2006 – she led AfDB’s fund-raising and capital market, world-over. According to Kim’s press release, “Earlier roles at the AfDB, which she joined in 1992, included trading room management, investment portfolio coverage, and public sector lending. She also held other positions in capital markets and lending during the course of her career at the AfDB.”

So, Oteh’s home-coming, to her fatherland, to put on display what she had done for Africa at the AfDB was a big deal. She went about it meticulously and courageously, not minding, excuse this cliché, whose ox was gored. She began by cleaning the capital market, and showing dead woods the exit door. In doing that, she stepped on very big toes.

For some people, hard work, competence and efficiency are a no-no. As SEC boss, she exhibited those, and that was the beginning of her problem. Her carriage, beauty and brilliance did not help matters. To some people, “she is but a woman who must be conquered.” And they went about it in a most shameless manner.

Where she was accommodated, briefly, at the Hilton Hotel, Abuja, they went snooping, even in the thrash basket in her suite. They compiled her menu everyday and, what it cost. If she entertained visitors in her capacity as the SEC boss, they added up the number of cups of tea and/or coffee they drank, as well as cakes and/or other snacks they ate, and compiled the bills. Then, they inflated them, calling her extravagant.

At SEC, her very serious work ethics were her undoing. She was accused of high-handedness, amongst others, because she would not compromise standards. The last straw was her ordeal at the National Assembly where every effort was made to not only intimidate her, but to rubbish her. During an “ordinary session” to confirm a couple of things before the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market, some members of the Committee, led by the then Chairman, Herman Hembe, reduced it to a humiliation of Oteh.

They insisted she was not qualified to head SEC; that she didn’t have the experience or competence. Their aim was to intimidate her, and make her grovel before them. But you intimidate Oteh at your own peril. Angered by the condescending manner she was treated, she hit back, accusing the Chairman of corruption and certain behaviours beneath his position as an Honourable member.

As for her qualification? She flaunted her CV before them to the applause of those who watched it live on television. She told them she graduated, top of her class, in Computer Science at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and had her Masters in Business Administration from the Harvard University. Then, she flaunted the portfolio she managed at AfDB. Those grilling her watched open-mouthed, taken-aback, and too confused to say anything coherent.

After Oteh’s performance, everybody became cautious. Her penalty was the zero – allocation in the budget for SEC, after a failed pressure on Jonathan to sack her. That zero-allocation inspired her to keep SEC on track. But, it no doubt led to the non-renewal of her tenure as SEC DG. Now, it is this same woman who Nigerians tried hard to rubbish that the World Bank has found worthy for this high profile appointment after a thorough search.

She neither lobbied for it, nor got it through “bottom power”, the cross always hung on the neck of every successful career women in Nigeria. Her competence gave her the job.

No wonder the World Bank President, Kim, was effusive in his commendation of Oteh, while announcing her appointment. As the VP and Treasurer of the World Bank, Oteh will manage and lead a large and diverse team responsible for managing more than $150 billion in assets. Her top priority, Kim revealed, among others, will be to maintain the World Bank’s global reputation as a prudent and innovative borrower, investor and risk manager.

For the records, there are many Otehs in Nigeria. But they are destroyed by their country men and women as soon as they start “shining.” We derive joy in pulling down our compatriots, thus, running down our country before the world. Oteh’s case is a classic example of the Biblical prophet not recognised at home, but worshipped abroad. No response could have been sweeter for her envious critics than this very appointment. It is an unequivocal endorsement on her competence. And a lesson for bad belles!


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Re: Arunma Oteh: The Rejected Stone by HungerBAD: 2:14am On Oct 05, 2015
Good luck.

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Re: Arunma Oteh: The Rejected Stone by StOla: 2:21am On Oct 05, 2015
Why are our supposed international technocrats suddenly given to all manner of misdemeanour once they take up national assignments in Nigeria?

This one in particular used the mother of all blackmails to silence a morally compromised senate committee, bulldog became toothless and red meat was allowed to go to waste.

She ensured the hunter became the hunted, but surely the hunter of her soul cannot be hunted.

Her shameless disciples continue to launder her image.

In the eight months between January and August 2010, the SEC paid N30, 510,100 on hotel accommodation and other related expenses for Arunma Oteh alone. The bulk of the amount was spent on her N120, 000 per night suite which took a whooping N26, 280,000; room service charges of 10% amounted to N2, 628,000. Other expenses included: feeding (N272, 300); value added tax (N1, 308,000); valet parking (N6, 800); laundry (N9, 400) and minibar (N5, 600). Huhuonline.com was told by sources at the hotel (name withheld for obvious reasons) that Arunma Oteh suffers from incurable money-mindedness that she is so averse to giving tips.

The source disclosed that Arunma Oteh has refused to rent an apartment, even a house in Lagos, befitting of her status. But Madame Director General has refused. She even reportedly turned down an offer made by the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) , Lamido Sanusi to use the sumptuous CBN guest house in Abuja.


Re: Arunma Oteh: The Rejected Stone by segzyj(m): 2:35am On Oct 05, 2015
One man's meat, another man's poison
Re: Arunma Oteh: The Rejected Stone by StOla: 2:47am On Oct 05, 2015
As the committee investigating the controversial funding of Project 50 rounds off its report, more facts are beginning to emerge, lending credence to the allegations that the suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh, collected funds from corporate sponsors and paid same to third party accounts owned by external companies.

The project which was budgeted to gulp N199.19 million was believed to have been funded by numerous unsuspecting corporate sponsors most of which paid donations through accounts not belonging to SEC.

For instance, THISDAY investigations revealed that Visafone Communication Limited had on January 25 paid a total of N24.9 million to two beneficiaries (SBA Interactive Data and Efficiency Dynamics) in favour of Project 50 as directed.

Also, Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) paid a total sum of N10 million to three vendors (Dublysees Enterprises, Kanche Concept House Enterprise and Xavier Communications Limited).

These three companies are believed to belong to one of the deputy directors employed by the commission last year as special assistant to Oteh.

The aide started his career in SEC as a consultant on Oteh’s assumption of office before being made a special adviser, a position deemed equivalent to a deputy director.


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Re: Arunma Oteh: The Rejected Stone by StOla: 2:52am On Oct 05, 2015
Also, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was expected to have contributed N50 million to Project 50 but up till April, it had refused to honour its pledge on the grounds that it could not pay the sum to vendors appointed by SEC for the project.

Several correspondence between the CBN and SEC showed that the central bank repeatedly asked SEC to furnish it with its own account details to transfer the money electronically, insisting that it could not pay the amount to external vendors that had submitted invoices.

However, Oteh in a letter dated February 27 to CBN’s Deputy Governor (Corporate Services), Alhaji Suleiman Barau, remained adamant, requesting his assistance to intervene and facilitate direct payment to all vendors and individuals that were yet to be paid.

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Re: Arunma Oteh: The Rejected Stone by MizMyColi(f): 6:10am On Oct 05, 2015
Saraki's ordeal has taught me to take with a pinch of salt, every accusation labelled on any public officer.

Was Arunma ever convicted?
If Tinubu can be Labelled a saint, why not her or anyone else?

I am equally learning not to believe what I read in the papers.
That a newspaper carried it doesn't make it true.

One can know better by observation, and hearing from the politicians themselves.


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