In the wake of investors losing over N2.53 trillion, last year, Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, director-general of the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Tuesday restated that she will leave office as soon as she clocks 60 years by November 2, 2010.
She, however, added that her decision to quit was voluntary and was still subject to the NSE council’s decision at their next meeting. Okereke-Onyiuke said: “There is no quarrel among us, the NSE is one happy family and we do not quarrel. I have not changed my mind; I am leaving this year as I said last year. Do you think I do not have a life? From 6.30 a.m until 2.00 a.m, it is only NSE and nothing else. I have lost my families, I have lost everything. I do not have time for myself. It was voluntary decision for me to leave instead of being pushed away. An institute is supposed to be for everybody.
When you serve, you leave the stage for younger ones to continue. I am leaving November 2, 2010 and I do not intend to stay beyond that time”. Speaking on the suspended demutualisation of the NSE, she explained that the decision was to forestall any individual or group of individuals hijacking the shares. According to her, when the process was about to begin, there were accusations that certain people were planning to hijack the shares.
“That is why, we have to suspend the process, and re-strategise before embarking on the exercise. When we start the demutualisation of the NSE, no group of individuals, bank or stock broking firm can hijack the shares. No bank will hijack the shares during the demutualisation. The shares will be sold through a transparent manner that every Nigerian who wants to be part owner will benefit,” she said.
The market loss in 2009, according to the NSE DG at the 2010 press briefing, showed that total market value of 266 securities listed on the floor of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) dropped by 26.5 percent from N9.563 trillion to stand at N7.03 trillion at year-end.
Responding to questions from newsmen on her succession plans while reviewing market performance in 2009 and the outlook for 2010, she said: “There is nothing else to write. The decision will be taken at the next council meeting. The decision is for the full council of the Exchange made up of 16 members which I am one of them. The next announcement on succession plan will be made that day. As a person, I made an announcement on January 9, 2009 and I have not changed my mind to leave. When was the last time I went on vacation. The last time was just for one week. It was a voluntary decision. I will be 60 by November 2, 2010. I don’t intend to work beyond that time, so that the young ones can continue.”
Continuing, she said, “It is not something for public discuss, but a personal decision. Some of my colleagues say that I shouldn’t go. Everybody in the Nigerian Stock Exchange knows his/her retirement age. I haven’t changed my mind likewise other of my colleagues. Some have retired already and I have not changed my mind.”
According to her, the planned demutualisation process where by the shares of the Nigerian Stock Exchange will be listed on the floors of the exchange has been put on hold “until the market recovers”, adding that the NSE can only extract maximum values from the demutualisation process when it has metamorphosed into “the most efficient and agile entity possible. This will happen when we have completed our transformation programme.”
More burdens are coming on the ways of most stock broking firms which still battle to pay staff salaries despite embarking on staff downsize after being cut-up with market meltdown as the NSE plans to eject them by March 2010 from its building.
Okereke-Onyiuke said stockbrokers who have their offices located in the Exchange building have been asked to vacate by March 2010, adding that the brokers were given instructions to quit earlier but they had to pressure the NSE management through the council to soft-pedal on such decisions.
Currently, the NSE has concluded arrangements to accommodate Bloomberg in its building as part of its plans to contract South African based Exchange Data System (EDS) to provide ‘live feed’ online real time market transactions. Okereke-Onyiuke added that Bloomberg will now pay the NSE for using the facility/data from the Exchange.