Quick one on 5 December

Cheta Nwanze
3 min readDec 5, 2022

I was on Freshly Pressed with Shopsy this morning and as always we talked about a few topics, starting from the fact that I bought petrol at black market rates in a petrol station yesterday. To be honest there is nothing irrational about buying black market fuel in a petrol station. What is patently absurd is a weak state like Nigeria opting to remain stuck in the belief that it can control market forces. I can’t recommend this video often enough. It is so explanatory.

The second story we discussed was SERAP’s latest lawsuit against the FG. Some people mistook my “humourous” tweet this morning as being hard on SERAP. No, it was not.

What SERAP is doing with all these lawsuits is setting legal precedents and getting them into the record. This plays a vital role in civil society. Last I checked, SERAP had 32 active cases on various issues and at least 17 resolved cases. The one loss, which they are planning to appeal, is SERAP v CCB. In the judgement delivered on 11 May 2020, the judge ruled in favour of CCB that the asset declarations of public officials aren’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act. I think the judge is a lunatic.

Some of the other judgements SERAP have obtained are pretty useful, such as one directing the AGF to challenge state governors who move to the senate but continue collecting pensions from their states; another that asked the FG and Power Ministry to furnish the details of power sector players and the details of work they had done; and one in which the ECOWAS court told Nigeria that education is a human right. Think about it: your government actually went to court to deny some Nigerians the right to education?!?

In summary, Serap is doing God’s work.

The last story I want to mention is about the lawsuit (not by SERAP) against the Buhari government over the appointment of some babe called Stella Okotete as Executive Director at the Nigerian Export-Import Bank. Scratch that. It’s not a fresh appointment, she was appointed in 2017. Basically, Ms Okotete’s appointment breached the Act of Parliament that established NEXIM. Apparently, to be an ED at NEXIM, you have to have 18 years of post-graduate experience, and 13 of these must be in the banking industry, with two of those as at least a General Manager.

I was unaware of Stella Okotete’s pedigree until this morning, but when the producer gave me the story, I went to search out her bio. Her LinkedIn profile makes it very clear that she graduated from Benson Idahosa University in Benin in 2006, which at 16 years ago today is slightly less than the 18 years required.

Note that she got the job in 2017, or 11 years after graduation, making it even worse. Crucially, however, Stella Okotete, according to her own publicly available resume, has never worked in a bank. Her longest serving role has been as the National Coordinator of her foundation, which she started before entering university.

This begs many questions: when she was first appointed to NEXIM in 2017, what were the lawyers doing? And if the court rules against her eventually, will she be compelled to return all she has acquired due to that position over the last five years?

Finally, when Goodluck Jonathan said, “corruption is not stealing, " he was talking about this kind of thing. As so many appointments that breach our laws show, the government of Muhammadu Buhari is the most corrupt in our history.

Oh, and for the record, fair play to Stella. Gurl, you don good.

--

--

Cheta Nwanze

Using big data to understand West Africa one country (or is it region?) at a time.