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July 16, 2024

Rejoinder: Clearing the name of Honorable Stella Okotete as ministerial nominee

By Bashir Suwaid

I write in response to the recent allegations published by SaharaReporters against Honorable Stella Okotete, a ministerial nominee and former Executive Director of the Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM).

These allegations, which are based on a petition filed by one Barrister Aare Oladotun Hassan Esq, claim that Honorable Okotete engaged in falsification of documents, fraudulent misrepresentation of qualification, corrupt practices, monumental fraud, and misappropriation.

Personally, I categorically deny the veracity of these uncorroborated allegations and strongly assert that they are baseless and without any merit.

The allegations against her are nothing more than the work of mischief makers trying to tarnish her reputation.

It is important to note that these allegations are surfacing now, just as she has been nominated for a ministerial position.

This raises suspicions of ulterior motives and suggests a targeted attempt to sabotage her appointment.

Hon. Stella Okotete, before her nomination, was never accused of any wrongdoing.

It is clear that these accusations are politically motivated and aimed at discrediting her in order to prevent her confirmation as a Minister, driven by malice and personal vendetta rather than any evidence of wrongdoing.

Furthermore, the assertion that she lacks the required banking experience is false. Stella Okotete has a proven track record in the banking industry, with numerous accolades and achievements to her name. Her expertise and knowledge in the field make her eminently qualified for the role of Executive Director at Nigeria Export-Import Bank.

Throughout her tenure as the Executive Director of NEXIM, she demonstrated unwavering commitment to transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct. Her outstanding leadership skills have been widely recognized and praised within the financial sector, both nationally and internationally.

Moreover, the claim that she has been approving loans for unqualified companies to misappropriate public funds is also baseless. It is important to remember that Hon. Stella Okotete has been a public servant for years, and her actions have always been guided by integrity and transparency. There is no evidence to suggest that she has engaged in any corrupt practices.

The fact that the Code of Conduct Bureau is requesting her pay slips from 2019 to date indicates that they are conducting a proper investigation into the allegations. The CCB is an independent body responsible for ensuring compliance with the code of conduct for public officers.

Their involvement in this matter demonstrates a commitment to uncovering the truth and holding individuals accountable for any wrongdoing.

It is disheartening to see that such allegations are being used as a weapon against someone who has dedicated herself to public service and the betterment of society.

Stella Okotete’s loyalty to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and her commitment to the party’s principles have been commendable.

Her appointment as a minister is significant, as it recognizes the important role that women play in our society. By representing the concerns and aspirations of women, she has the opportunity to bring about positive change and empower countless individuals. It is unfortunate that there are those who seek to hinder this progress.

It is important for the public to exercise caution and not be swayed by baseless accusations. Let us not allow the work of mischief makers to distract us from the real issues at hand. As Nigerians, we should focus on supporting qualified individuals who are dedicated to serving the country and making a difference.

It is important to note that these accusations have not been subjected to a thorough and impartial investigation.

The Nigeria Police Force’s decision to initiate a discreet investigation should not be seen as an endorsement of these allegations, but rather as a routine procedure to ensure all claims are thoroughly examined. We are confident that during the investigation, the truth will prevail, and the innocence of Honorable Okotete will be affirmed.

It is also crucial to recognize that these allegations are being fueled by mischief makers who have a vested interest in derailing the progress and development of our country.

Their aim is to create division and distract from the important work that Hon. Stella Okotete has been doing and will continue to do as a minister.

We must therefore reject these false allegations and stand firmly behind Hon. Stella Okotete.

Her dedication to service, loyalty to her party, and commitment to the advancement of women’s rights and concerns make her an invaluable asset to our nation.

Let us not be swayed by baseless accusations but instead focus on supporting individuals who are working tirelessly to bring about positive change.

We urge President Bola Tinubu and the Nigerian Senate not to be distracted by these baseless allegations. Honorable Okotete’s qualifications, experience, and commitment to public service make her an excellent candidate for the position of Minister.

She possesses an in-depth understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing our nation, and her appointment would undoubtedly contribute to the realization of President Tinubu’s vision for a prosperous and united Nigeria.

In conclusion, the allegations against Minister Nominee Stella Okotete are the result of malicious intent and should be disregarded. Let us stand in solidarity against the work of mischief makers and support deserving individuals who have shown a genuine commitment to public service.

I therefore call on all Nigerians to refrain from engaging in unfounded speculations and to await the outcome of the investigation.

It is our firm belief that the facts will exonerate Honorable Stella Okotete, and she will rightfully take her place as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, serving our great nation and its people with utmost dedication and integrity.

Bashir Suwaid

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