Oteh Vs Hembe:The wrong-headed House committee probe: symptom of legislative incompetence! – CPC



The Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, has noted, with unmistakable uneasiness, the avoidable spat between the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Ms. Aruma Oteh and Hon. Herman Herbe, the Chairman, House of Representatives’ Committee on Capital Market at the last sitting of the probe panel on Thursday, 15th March, 2011.
That the discourse degenerated to the petulant and mundane dimension was clearly attributable to the immaturity of the House Committee leadership!
The bigger Public interest to the Nigerian people on a prosperous capital market was derailed when the committee probe concentrated energy on purely administrative matters of SEC which the Economic and Financial Crimes  Commission(EFCC) is more structurally and legally empowered to handle.
Indeed, the close watchers of the capital market loudly attest to the strident moves in the reformatory agenda being unveiled in the last one year which had led to the unceremonious exit of the erstwhile Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The issue of transparency in the Capital market has received fresh impetus with the suspension of Dangote Plc; a clear message that it cannot be business as usual!
Truly, trading at the stock market started on a steady increase since the beginning of March, 2012 and inched to a marginal increase of 0.64% prior to the commencement of the probe. But the odious nature of the probe had reversed this trend with the all-share index plummeting at the Nigerian stock Exchange.
The DG-SEC made earth-rending allegations of corruption and personal integrity deficit against the House Committee Chairman and the Committee. She alleged that:
·         In October, 2010, Hon Herman Herbe collected a business class ticket (plus estacode) to attend a course in the Dominican Republic, but failed to attend and did not return the money collected.
·         That the House Committee demanded N39million from SEC to facilitate its probe efforts.
·         That the House Committee Chairman made a personal cash demand of N5million from SEC.
Undoubtedly, these are grave allegations that clearly underscore the need to make the elected Public officers accountable to the people. These allegations pointedly bring to the fore the noxious corruption associated with the business of the National Assembly. It is no longer a hidden fact that sponsored Bills to the National Assembly by Ministries, Departments and Agencies to enable them operate unobtrusively must be backed up by unbudgeted cash payments to receive the needed support.
The germane facts that the House Committee probe has not cleared up are:
Is the SEC board (empowered by the National Assembly) not better equipped to deal with the staffing issues that the probe panel inundated the Nigerian public with?
Is the EFCC not better empowered to deal with the untoward perks allegedly appropriated by the SEC-DG?
When will the issues of bringing the Nigerian Stock Exchange to the enviable standard of notable stock Exchange markets in the world be brought to the fore?
Is it not about time for the headship of these House committees to be based on relevant competence and not just obsequious patronage so that Nigerians are spared the obscenity of vengeful and petulant idiocy?
It is our candid hope that there would a rekindled Patriotic desire in those with the opportunity to serve the Nigerian state at this time, so as to understand that the destiny of generation may depend on their action or inaction.
God bless Nigeria.
Rotimi Fashakin (Engr.)
National Publicity Secretary, CPC.
(18th March, 2012).

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