Goddy Egene with agency report
Two weeks after THISDAY exclusively reported that the federal government would constitute the board of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to be chaired by a lawyer, Mr. Olufemi Lijadu, all is now set to inaugurate the board on Monday.
The board’s constitution is coming almost five years after President Muhammadu Buhari sacked the former SEC board headed by Mr. Peter Obi.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a senior management source confirmed the constitution and inauguration of the new SEC Board to it in Lagos.
The source said that the inauguration would take place at the Ministry of Finance Headquarters, Abuja, and would be conducted by the permanent secretary.
While Lijadu, who is from Ogun State will be the chairman, other non-executive commissioners are: Mr. Lamido Yuguda from Gombe State, Mrs. Rekiya Ladi (Kaduna), Mr. Okokon Ekanem, representing the Ministry of Finance, and Dr. Alvan Ikoku, representing the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The acting Director-General, SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk and the Acting Executive Commissioner, Corporate Service, Mr. Henry Rowlands, are also on the Board. The other members of the board from SEC are Acting Executive Commissioner (Operations), Mr. Isyaku Tilde and acting Executive Commissioner (Legal and Enforcement), Mr. Reginald Karawusa.
Lijadu, who is a partner in the law firm of Ukiri Lijadu, heads the banking and finance practice of the law firm. He is a leading commercial lawyer with over 30 years of experience in private practice and in-house. He recently worked for the federal government as a Chairman, Presidential Audit Committee on Recovered Public Assets.
Lijadu returned to private practice in 2011, having worked in-house as Company Secretary and Legal Adviser, and subsequently, Executive Director of United Bank of Africa Plc. He was also a non – executive director of UBA Trustees and First Security Discount House (the first Discount House in Nigeria).
He has written several articles on globalisation of legal services and local content development in Nigeria’s Oil & Gas sector and regularly speaks on these issues on domestic and international platforms. Fellow and Director of the Aspen Leadership Global Network (West – Africa), he is also a member of the advisory board of Art X (Art Fair) and was a member of the Presidential committee on the recovery of stolen assets. He is a Sloan Fellow of London Business School.
Market stakeholders had been calling on the government to constitute a board for the capital market regulator to ensure effective regulation of the market.
For instance, the Chairman, Association of Securities Dealing of Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), Chief Patrick Ezeagu had urged the federal government not to delay any longer to get a board for SEC.
“We have been calling for a board for SEC without response from the government. SEC, which is regulating a market of several trillions of Naira should have a board to enable a smooth running. It is disheartening to know that most of the laudable projects espoused in the master plan are being affected by lack of a board, which is statutorily mandated to take some major decisions in that direction.”
Ezeagu further noted: “Apart from not having a board, the DG and the commissioners are all in acting capacities. This does not send good signals to investors out there. Appointing a board for the commission and confirming the officers would significantly boost investor confidence, thereby restoring some level of stability to the market.”
Speaking on why SEC urgently needed a board, a senior market operator and lawyer had said the commission could not be an arbiter over corporate governance of listed companies without a board.
“Can you give what you do not have it? You cannot be superintending over what you do not have”, the market operator, who would not want his name in print asserted.
He added that SEC is signatory ‘A’ member of International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), explaining that being a signatory ‘A’ member requires that commission should have an institution in place and the head of that institution is the board.
“In terms of market dynamics, information is the key and the timeliness of information is pivotal. For information, which is key and timely, you must have a board that quickly takes decisions because as it is today, the Ministry of Finance serves as a board. For any decision to be taken, the ministry, which is already saddled with the running of the economy, and over-burdened with such, what time will it have to attend to the commission. Though the ministry supervises the commission, what capacity with specific reference to capital market that the ministry to be able to give a guided advice to the commission,” he added.
Buhari dissolved the previous board on July 16, 2015, and set up an eight-man panel headed by a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal, two months later, to reconstitute it.