Obeying financial regulations (1)
By Tunde Thompson,
Monday, April 02,  2012

As you very well know, “what is good is good, and what is bad is bad.” That is very much like saying that darkness and light are absolutely incomparable, because you only need some light for darkness to be totally enveloped.

You may well ask, won’t a measure of darkness also swallow up light? That indeed is a timeless debate – on the conflict between light and darkness. A reality which compelled John Milton to craft one of his greatest pieces of prose – “Areopagitica” – in which he ruminated on that conflict, and concluded that light will never surrender to darkness, no matter the situation.

This perennial conflict between light and darkness often leads to skirmishes everywhere, including in the courts of law, and also in the chambers of parliaments around the world. There is often no way you can decide who is right or wrong in these matters, because you were not privy to the facts on transactions made in the dark that require the light to unravel their appropriateness or otherwise.

However, the laws and evidences advanced by the disputing parties in the law courts and legislative chambers as well as other theaters of such engagements, can be very helpful indeed, as far as getting at the truth is concerned.
That is why the following quotation comes in handy now:

“…..We believe that governments and laws are necessary for a well-functioning society. The laws of nations help provide order and protection for individuals and families. Where possible, people should take an interest in developing laws by participating in the political process and electing honorable leaders to positions of authority….”

This statement from a brochure of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which substantially provides an explanation on the alleged loyalty of its members to the Church “but not to their local governments and political leaders” (fictions and facts), provides a relevant background for understanding some of the current developments and realities in the Nigerian political and economic arenas.

Some of them give you the impression that the bespoken “Armageddon”, or the Biblical “battle between good and evil”, and “ a terrible war that could destroy the world” (which may very well occur if Israel and the USA do not leave Iran alone or if the former attacks the present-day relic of the ancient Persian Empire rather than initiate her quietly into the Nuclear Club without further ado in racial, religious, geographical and sociological terms), is almost here already.

Ii is not only the nuclear confrontations aspect of international relations (majorly as mentioned above, between Iran and the Western Alliance, notably USA, France and Germany, which took Iran’s money from the days of the late Shah Rehza Pahlavi and gave the country her nuclear technology skills), that lend support to the fears that “Armageddon” is here. Local political and financial controversies over handling of the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC)affairs, leave one wondering who are truly serving the interests of light and darkness in some parts of the world, including this country.

Now that the probe of the SEC at the House of Representatives has been put on hold until April 10, or thereabout, for the new probe team to get on with trying to convince us that the Director-General, Ms. Orunma Orteh led the SEC into jeopardy, those of us who want peace in our land and the flourishing of our economy, feel obliged to make a few observations.

First, the House of Representatives deserves commendation (and is hereby commended), for taking very seriously its oversight duties on practically every institution and aspect of national life, so far. Secondly, in view of the capital laid out in probing the Capital Market at the House – with more money yet to be spent after April 10 – we had better start considering whether or not the probe is worth all the money and effort being put into it.
Part of the problem arises from the bad public relations the investigations have already earned its initial “driver”, following the revelation from Ms. Orteh.

Questions abound: Why did the House have to seek financial sponsorship from an organization or economic sub-sector which it wanted to probe? Does the House not have the funds provided statutorily for such an exercise?
Thirdly, if the whole purpose of the probe was to truly determine what led to the former woes of the Capital Market, were the House of Representatives probers not unduly partial in defining the scope and time – frame of the investigation? Did the “collapse” of the market begin two years ago, or as far back as 1998?

Put differently, did the House go far and deep enough towards unraveling the collapse  of the Capital Market in the panel’s terms of reference ,the work of  which was set into temporary disarray by the first female salvo on the dark doings of those supposed to provide illumination and forward movement at the market (hopefully to be contained in the panel’s recommendations, if it does not go the way of the Elumelu panel on Power, the  conclusion of which one hardly  hears anything about, nowadays).

Those of us who were not elected into the House of Reps or the Senate cannot pretend to know everything or to be better able to do their jobs for them. But the fact is that as citizens, we have the right and responsibility to comment on what they are doing or saying, and can even mobilize to withdraw those of them deemed to be working against the national interest. And because sovereign power belongs to the people (who has never heard of that?) citizens are to be fearless and broad-minded when raising their queries and offering suggestions for better results from those in authority positions.

Therefore, it is hereby proposed that considering the fact that the capital market did not start collapsing under Ms. Orunma Orteh, but actually started improving in tandem with parallel positive developments at the Central Bank and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the whole probe should be halted entirely, if those directing it  cannot go farther and deeper to achieve their published objectives.

Or are they afraid of a female “Mighty Igor”?
In that event, we the observers have no choice but to conclude that the panel members will only be “working to the answer”; presenting us with a shallow report, a fait accompli of an exercise which would have made the country waste money and time, deriving nothing substantial therefrom. They should look back to 1998, or forever hold their peace and allow Ms Orteh get on work her job.

Fourthly, this is when the SEC needs peace and not the kind of negative publicity (which may very well be malicious in intent) it is getting at the moment.  Whether or not someone stayed in a hotel (when her accommodation was not yet “monetized”, which would have been culpable); responded to a cash demand by making a counter-offer and putting the seeker(s) on the run, et cetera, we have to recognize that the capital market is very very sensitive to all stimuli in the polity and therefore terminate counter-productive probes that demonstrate muck- raking, rather than progress – chasing, for the overall national economy in the long run. I have said my own. What about you ?

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