A large number of top Nigerian professionals in the Diaspora have been returning home in the last few years to take up responsibilities in key sectors of the economy. YEMI ADEBOWALE profiles some of these Nigerians and the impact they are making on the nation’s economy
Mustafa Chike Obi…
Mustafa Chike-Obi was last year appointed the Managing Director/CEO of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). Prior to his appointment, he was based in the United States of America where he held key positions in top firms. At a point in the US, Chike-Obi was the Managing Director of a close knitted 10-man business called Madison Park Advisers LLC, an Investment advisory firm specializing in Investment consulting, brokering of fixed-income securities and some venture capital activities. The company is located in the Greater New York City Area of the US. He was also a vice president at a Goldman Sachs between 1984 –1992. He has also held senior positions in various Wall Street firms including Bear Stearns and Guggenheim Partners among others. His international experience across the US has greatly helped him on his new desk at AMCOM. Within a year, AMCON, under his leadership, has greatly helped to stabilize the Nigerian banking industry. A first class graduate in Mathematics at the University of Lagos; Mustafa undertook further education at Stanford University and Stanford University Graduate School of Business in the US.
Professor Akinwumi Adesina is at present the minister of agriculture. Prior to his appointment last year, he was an
Associate Director (Food Security), Rockefeller Foundation, Nairobi, Kenya. Akinwumi, a distinguished agricultural economist with more than 20 years of professional experience in African agriculture, has since his appointment, been working very hard to ensure food security for the nation. He has also brought a huge sanity into the importation and distribution of fertilizers, by eliminating fraudulent and Shylock importers. His name has also been synonymous with the drive for ‘cassava bread’ in the country. Adesina holds a B.Sc. in agricultural economics (First Class) from the University of Ife and a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Purdue University, USA. He has worked in senior research positions at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA), and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA). In 1998 he joined the Rockefeller Foundation, New York, as a senior scientist for Africa and later served as the representative for Southern Africa, based in Harare, Zimbabwe. He once led the foundation’s programme on markets to raise incomes of poor farmers in Africa.
Oscar Onyema was on January 2011 appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Prior to his appointment, Onyema was the chief administrative officer of the former American Stock Exchange. AMEX was bought in October 2008 by NYSE Euronext and became NYSE AMEX Equities. While at AMEX, Onyema served as a primary liaison officer among various AMEX operating divisions, the trading floor community, and external constituents. In addition, he was responsible for strategy and competitive analysis, Membership and Registration Department and Market Data Services Department. Onyema, while working in the US, served on several industry committees including CTA Operating Committee, NASDAQ UTP Plan Operating Committee, and SIFMA / FIF Regulation NMS working group. Onyema joined the AMEX in January 2001. Before joining the AMEX, Onyema worked at the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) as Senior Analyst, Business Planning and Development. He also worked at DPMS (IBM Business Partner) as a Marketing Executive marketing IBM mid-range systems. Onyema received an MBA in Finance and Investments from Baruch College in New York City. He served as an adjunct lecturer at the Economics Department of Pace University for five years, and is a frequent public speaker on market structure and market data issues. Onyema has been able to positively impact on the NSE, using his wealth of experience gained from various in the US.
Ms Arunma Oteh was appointed the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission On July 16, 2009. She returned home with over16 years of capital market experience from abroad. Prior to her appointment, she was the Vice-President (Corporate Services) of the African Development Bank Group. She served as the Bank’s Group Treasurer for 5 years (2001-2006) with overall responsibility for the bank’s fund raising and investments in major international capital markets. Oteh has worked variously in ADB as Division Manager Investments and Trading Room from 1997 to 2001, and Senior Investment Officer/Senior Capital Markets Officer from 1993 to 1997. Cumulatively, she worked with ADB for over 16 years. Before joining the ADB, she worked in corporate finance, consulting, teaching and research for several institutions, including the Harvard Institute for International Development, USA and the Centre Point Investments Limited Lagos. She is on the board of a number of organizations, including the advisory board of the African Investor, as well as the International Financing Facility of Immunization (IFFIm) – a charity organization set up by governments to fast-track immunization and a critical vehicle for achieving the millennium development goals (MDGs). Ms Oteh has an MBA from Harvard University, USA and a First Class degree in Computer Science from the University of Nigeria Nsukka. She has received both a Harvard Fellowship Award and a National Merit Award..
Olusegun Aganga, 57, is the current Minister of Trade and Investment. Prior to this, he served as the Minister of Finance under late President Umaru Y’Adua. Before he returned home in 2010, Aganga was working at the defunct Goldman Sachs International in London, where he was Managing Director. Aganga has, in the last one, been in the forefront of the drive for foreign investment inflow into Nigeria. He was educated at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria where he obtained a B.Sc Degree in Biological Sciences in 1977 and the University of Oxford, United Kingdom where he obtained a degree in Theology. Aganga qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1983.He previously worked in Arthur Young in Nigeria and Ernst & Young in London, UK. Aganga was also a Board Member of the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission’s Technical Committee on the Nigerian Capital Market Structure and a former Chairman of the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) Prime Brokerage Committee. Aganga currently serves on a number of boards and committees including Technoserve and The Prince’s Trust Invest in Futures Committee. In 2006, Aganga founded the Nigerian Leadership Initiative. Aganga is credited for the establishment of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) in Nigeria.