In 2013, Mr. Jim Obazee, the now sacked Executive Secretary of the Financial Regulations Council of Nigeria (FRCN) was in the news for the wrong reasons; sexual misconduct.
A staffer of the FRCN, Mrs. Mrs. Abimbola Patricia Yakubu, had accused Obazee of sexual harassment, oppression, humiliation and intimidation.
Mrs. Yakubu worried by the development petitioned the chairman of the Governing Board of the Council, Hajia Mariam Ladi Ibrahim, with another letter from her lawyers, the Public Interests Lawyers League (PILL) to the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga. Aganga who was the supervising minister in charge of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria.
Mrs. Yakubu, a mother of three, was Obazee’s Personal Assistant for three years, from 2010, until Friday, May 24, 2013, when she was posted to Kaduna having accused her boss of sexual advances that were inappropriate.
Some her allegations read: “I close very late at night as a civil servant, not because we really have much work to do, but that’s when he finds it most convenient to talk to me about his love for me. He makes sure everyone has closed and we are left alone in the office to make his demands. I am grateful to God for the kind of husband I married who is very understanding. Besides, there is no sexual move or plea he made that I did not tell my husband, from the very beginning of the advances. So, my husband is very much aware of the goings on but, he trusts me. Even when I told the Executive Secretary that my husband is aware of his moves he tells me it is not true, that there is no man who will allow his wife go through such since all men are jealous. He then warned me sternly not to ever mention goings on the office with my husband.
“We have had to travel around the country together to places like, Calabar, Uyo, Enugu, Ibadan, Ijebu-Ode, Abuja and Minna. These were occasions he would have had his way had God not helped me, if I had not been determined to stand firm and if my husband was not solidly behind me. All of the time when we ought to retire back to our hotel rooms he would call me to either come to his room if we are in the same hotel or he would call to tell me he was coming to my room. Other times when we stay in different hotels, like when we are in Abuja, he would call me sometimes very late at night to tell me he was on his way to my hotel,” she said.
She cited a particular incident which occurred in November 2012 in Abuja. According to her, Mr. Obazee called very late at night that he was coming to her hotel room.
“I immediately called my husband who was out of the country at that time to notify him and he said I should be tightly dressed and safe guard myself. I use an MTN line; I believe if the authority would demand to get the voice data from MTN or even ask for the call log, my points here can be verified,” she said.
She alleged that several times, he had persuaded her to leave her husband and marry him instead, lamenting how his own marriage was an error, and how he was sure she was the woman for him. According to her, he said the only reason he married his wife hurriedly was due to pressure from the office in his early days in NASB when he was told that if he did not have a wife he would not be allowed to go on international trips.
Speaking further, she said, “He has told me how him and his wife are two different people that is the reason why he does not go back home early from work, but that if he marries me, he would be closing by 4pm and we would have as much as 10 children as against the two he has from his wife; and that the gap between the two children is wide because he does not have time for her. Then, I have always advised him on this and told him countless times that if he can go back home and rechanneled all the love he said he has for me on his wife his marriage would work better.
“He had asked that I run along with him to America and we both get married there and that he would establish me, and I told him that can only work out if he was willing to marry me, my husband, my three kids and all my dependants. He never liked it when I bring my husband into our discussion that’s why he asked me to stop picking his calls while at work.
“On some occasions also, he has asked me not to call him ‘Oga’ anymore but to call him Jim and I would refuse. I had to keep telling him not to treat me differentially but to treat me like any other staff. “Don’t spoil me sir” I would tell him. “you are my oga and I will always treat you so.
“A few text messages I still have on my phone will show the close working relationship we had,” she said.
She alleged that his subsequent attitude towards her, and her transfer to Kaduna was as a result of her repeated refusal to accept his advances.
When confronted with the allegations, Obazee, denied the accusations.
Obazee’s next controversy was when he nailed the former CBN governor and now Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
Obazee’s FRCN was the one that recommended Sanusi’s suspension and even rejected the responses of the former CBN governor to his query on graft, describing it as “a clear display of incompetence, nonchalance, fraud, wastefulness, abuse of due process and deliberate efforts to misrepresent facts on the part of the leadership of the CBN.”
But the brilliant public officer was living dangerously and capitulated to the whims of power players when he overreached himself with the regulation governing non-profit entities and NGOs in the country.
The FRCN it was fingered as the reason that revered General Overseer (GO) of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye stepped down as the GO Nigeria.
Adeboye’s stepping down generated a Tsunami-like response and Obazee found himself nailed to the cross of sack by President Muhammadu Buhari.
A versatile administrator by no means, Obazee holds a bachelor of science degree in accounting from the University of Benin; a master of science degree in accounting from the University of Lagos, and a certification in strategic financial analysis for business evaluation from Harvard University, USA.
He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), and a member of the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM) and the American Accounting Association (AAA).