President Muhammadu Buhari has sacked the Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRN) Jim Obaze and ordered for the reconstitution of the board.
A statement by Presidential Media Aide, Garba Shehu said President Buhari has also appointed Adedotun Sulaiman, as Chairman and Daniel Asapokhai as the Executive Secretary of the Council.
Obazee’s sack comes barely two days after implementation of his agency’s law led to the exit of Nigeria’s most influential Christian cleric, Enoch Adeboye.
Adeboye resigned as the general overseer of the Redeemed Church in Nigeria on Saturday, but retained oversight of the global arm of the church.
Obaze’s removal, MetroBusinessnews gathered from a government official, is part of recommendations made in a report submitted by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelemah.
“It was part of the recommendation made to the President and he signed it, I know he would have read through the reasons, but I am not privy to them” the official told our correspondent in a phone enquiry. The report and recommendations have been on the President’s table for some time now.
It will be recalled that Enelamah, and Obazee have been at loggerheads over a regulation by the FRCN which stipulates 20 years tenure for heads of religious groups and civil society groups in the country.
There have also been allegations of selective probe and violation of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act. Between Obazee and Enelamah, there have also be reports of insubordination and disharmony. Industry watchers have since urged the President to replace Obazee.
The statement signed by Shehu on Monday read “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate removal and the replacement of the Executive Secretary and the reconstitution of the board of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRN).
” He has appointed a chairman and a new Executive Secretary for the council. The new Council as approved by the President has Mr Adedotun Sulaiman, MFR as Chairman”.
Sulaiman was a former Managing Partner/Director of Arthur Anderson and later, Accenture. He is a Chartered Accountant and a product of the University of Lagos and Harvard Business School.
The President has also approved the appointment of Daniel Asapokhai as the Executive Secretary of the Council.
Asopokhai is a partner and a Financial Reporting Specialist at the PricewaterHouseCoopers (PWC), Nigeria.
He is a product of the University of Lagos and the University of Pretoria.
President Muhammadu Buhari has also instructed the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment to invite the 19 ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government and private sector organisations specified in the FRC Act to nominate members of the board of the council.
Barely two months ago, the Federal Government suspended the implementation of the Code by the FRC, following series of criticisms by industry stakeholders and shareholders on the implication of the Code of Corporate Governance on the Nigerian business community.
With the forceful implementation of the Code, Obazee appears to have drawn a sword against the FRC supervisory ministry headed by Okechukwu Enelamah, minister of trade and investment.
“The matter is still being looked into. You are aware a memo was issued and the issue has not been concluded by the minister yet. When it is concluded, we will get back to you,” Constance Ikokwu, special assistant to the minister of industry, trade and investment, told BusinessDay on phone yesterday.
Our sources at FRC said that the minister had written the Obazee directing him not to execute the regulation.
While the controversies regarding the effectiveness of the Code have not been laid to rest, the FRC of Nigeria insists that the instruments are still being implemented.
As this drama unfolds between a subordinate and his superior, insider sources at the Presidency confided in BusinessDay that Obazee has been acting ‘a written script’ by one of the aides of President Muhammadu Buhari, making him to challenge the decisions of his superior.
Recall that last month, a boardroom expert, Olusegun Osunkeye, criticised some of the provisions of the suspended National Code of Corporate Governance, saying it is capable of affecting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into Nigeria.
Osunkeye, who chaired the opening session of a two-day annual corporate financial reporting summit, would ordinarily have sang the host’s praise, but only succeeded in stunning the teeming audience when he said “there are some controversial areas in the Code.”
His words: “The mandatory nature of the Code is contrary to the global corporate governance trend and Nigeria should not be operating in isolation if we are to attract needed investments into the country.”
At the weekend, Pastor Enoch Adeboye announced Pastor Joseph Obayemi as a new leader of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nigeria. Adeboye, on announcing his successor cited a government regulation, which stipulates mandatory office tenure for general overseers of all registered churches, as the reason for the restructuring.