Jim Osayande Obazee is the first Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC). He was born on March 28, 1965). From June 3, 2011, the day the Financial Reporting Council was established, until January 9, 2017, he served in this capacity. In that role, he was in charge of establishing, overseeing, and enforcing corporate governance procedures in the Nigerian economy’s public and private sectors. The task involved coordinating the operations of the pertinent professional and regulatory organisations in Nigeria.
Early Life and Education
Jim Obazee was born in Nigeria’s Edo State capital city of Benin. He went to Edokpolor Grammar School, Ebomisi Secondary School, and Agbado Model Primary School 1 in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. He graduated from the University of Lagos with an M.Sc. in Accounting, the University of Benin with a B.Sc. in Accounting, and Harvard University in the United States with a certificate in Strategic Financial Analysis for Business Evaluation. He belongs to the American Accounting Association and is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Accountants.
He is the 29th Chairman of UNCTAD-ISAR’s International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR). ISAR is the sole intergovernmental working group committed to corporate accounting and transparency problems. ISAR addresses a range of corporate accounting and reporting challenges with the goal of enhancing the cross-border comparability and accuracy of corporate reports. He participated in both the United Nations Consultative Group on Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement and the United Nations Consultative Group on Accounting by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
He served as the head of Nigeria’s national committee for the adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards.
He formerly served as the Nigerian Accounting Standards Board’s (NASB) Technical Director and Chief Executive Officer. In a previous position, he had attachments with the Canadian Accounting Standards Board and the Financial Accounting Standards Board in the United States. The NASB hired him in 1993. Prior to this, he taught accounting as a lecturer at the University of Benin in Nigeria’s Edo State.
1. Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (F.C.A)
2. Associate Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (AMNIM)
3. Member, American Accounting Association (AAA)
1. Member of the United Nations (UN) Consultative Group on Accounting by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
2. Member, United Nations (UN) Consultative Group on Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement.
3. 29th Chairman, International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) of the United Nations.
4. Chairman, National Committee on Road Map to the Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in Nigeria.
5. Chairman, National Committee on Top 100 Businesses in Nigeria 2015.
Major Investigations Led in Nigeria
Technical Committees Participated to Date
1. Technical Committee on Accounting in the Petroleum Industry – Upstream Activities.
2. Technical Committee on Accounting for Insurance Business
3. Technical Committee on Accounting for Statement of Cash Flows
4. Committee on Implementation Guide to Accounting for Leases
5. Technical Committee on Accounting in the Petroleum Industry – Downstream Activities
6. Committee on Accounting by Banks & Non-Bank Financial Institutions (Part 2)
7. Technical Committee on Earnings Per Share
8. Technical Committee on Taxes
9. Technical Committee on Financial Reporting in an Inflationary Environment.
10. Technical Committee on Research and Development Costs.
11. Technical Committee on Segmental Reporting.
12. Technical Committee on Accounting by Not-for-Profit Organisations.
13. Technical Committee on Interim Financial Reporting.
14. Technical Committee on Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets.
15. Technical Committee on Consolidated Financial Statements and Accounting for Investments in Subsidiaries
16. Technical Committee on National Code of Corporate Governance
Some written works to Date
1. Accounting Information: Qualities, uses and user groups: Official Journal of NUASA, Uniben Branch, Vol. 1 No. 6, 1990
2. Capital Maintenance Reserves Approach in the Banking and Manufacturing Industries (A case study of selected Banks and Manufacturing Companies in Nigeria) M.Sc. Thesis, 1991.
3. Developments in Balance Sheet Reporting: Local and International Accounting Standards Requirements: A paper presented at the ICAN workshop on Developments in Balance Sheet Reporting at the Lagos Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Nigeria, in November 1993.
4. Introduction to Accounting for Financial Institutions (Unpublished, 1993).
5. Regulation of Accounting Profession in Nigeria (Unpublished, 1993).
6. Interpretation of Accounts and Ratio Analysis: A paper presented at a workshop on Basic Credit Analysis by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria in March 1994.
7. The Strengthening, Harmonization and Development of Accounting Professional Capacities in Africa: A paper presented at a workshop organized by the African Accounting Council in Brussels, Belgium in December 1994.
8. International Accounting Standards: Key Successes and Challenges in the Harmonisation of Accounting, Auditing and Reporting Standards: (ICAN Official Journal – The Nigerian Accountant, July/September 2002 Vol. 35, No. 3)
9. Standardisation of Financial Reporting at the Federal, State and Local Government levels (ICAN Official Journal – The Nigerian Accountant, Jan/ Mar 2005. Vol. 38, No. 1)
10. Financial Reporting in the Extractive Industries in Nigeria: A paper presented at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on Financial Reporting and Transparency in the Extractive Industries. Held at Palais des Nations Geneva, Switzerland; October 2007.
11. Country Practice: American Accounting Association, International Accounting Section. AAA Journal No. 92, Fall 2007, Page 4.
12. Practical Challenges in Implementing International Financial Reporting Standards in Nigeria: ABWA Journal Vol. 1, No. 3, Page 7.
13. Reliability of Corporate Financial Reports: Global Issues, Challenges and Options: Cover story of the 2008 Edition of the Nigerian Stock Market Annual published by CITC-PLC group, Lagos 2008.
1. Working visit to the UK Accounting Standards Board (November 2001);
2. Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), USA. (April & May 2003);
3. US Securities & Exchange Commission, Washington. (April 2003);
4. International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), UK. (June 2003) and
5. Working visit to the Canadian Accounting Standards Board (November 2005).
Obazee is married to Elizabeth Omotayo and blessed with two sons: Bethlehem and Naioth.
Accused of Sexual harassment by his P.A
Obazee was accused of sexual harassment by one Abimbola Yakubu, his personal assistant of three years, in 2013. But he denied the allegation.
In a letter to the board of the FRC, Yakubu alleged that Obazee had repeatedly threatened to sack her if she did not accede to his amorous gestures.
“For the period of years that I worked with him, I have always been closing as late as 10pm and sometimes beyond. I have been very loyal, committed and dedicated to duty. I have never for one day shown any sign of insubordination. Early this year, I noticed the Executive Secretary’s attitude changed towards me,” she wrote.
“I met with him on several occasions, asking him what I have done wrong but he would not say anything rather, he would yell and scream at me saying all manner of unprintable words like: ‘when I am done with you, you will cry’; ‘when I am done with you, you will hang yourself’. So I withdrew and kept to myself. He continued in this attitude towards me, not relating with me and giving my subordinates my job to do (the things I should be doing).
“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 trust, that there is no man who will allow his wife to go through such since all men are jealous. He then warned me sternly not to ever mention goings in 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 added that Obazee later transferred her to a corner office in Kaduna, where she would “suffer”, and that he eventually sacked her. Despite the allegations, Obazee was not probed. He strongly denied them, saying he sacked Yakubu because she had a history of poor performance at work.
Recommended Sack of Sanusi
The sack of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, in February 2014, is perhaps, one of the most controversial actions of the FRC under Obazee.
Prior to his sack, Sanusi had made weighty allegations against the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
He had alleged that billions of dollars accruable to the federation were being diverted by some persons in the management of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
And in the heat of the storm which followed his allegations, Jonathan relying on a recommendation of the FRC, which accused Sanusi of financial recklessness, sacked him.
After his sack, the FRC began to probe Sanusi, but he shunned several invitations from the council.
He later sued the council for defamation of character.
Suspended Peterside FRC’s Number
In October 2015, the FRC under Obazee suspended the FRC number of Atedo Peterside, chairman of Stanbic IBTC, implying that for the period of the said suspension, he would be unable to append his signature on financial reports.
The council cited infractions in the 2013-14 financial statements of the bank as the reason for its decision.
It directed the bank to restate and reissue its 2013-14 financial statements. It also imposed a fine of N1bn on the bank.
Besides Peterside’s, the FRC numbers of Sola David-Borha, the group managing director, and two other directors of the company, were also suspended.
The matter was challenged in court; and in December 2016, the FRC lifted the suspension on the management of the bank.
Forced Adeboye to Step down
In late 2016, the FRC directed not-for-profit organisations — including churches and mosques — to comply with a corporate governance code stipulating a term of 20 years for heads of such entities.
It was by this provision that Enoch Adeboye, who had spent over 20 years as the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), named Joshua Obayemi to head the Nigeria church although he emphasised that he remained the worldwide overseer of the church.
But two days after Adeboye stepped down, and in the heat of a caustic controversy, Buhari fired Obazee and approved the reconstitution of the board.
In a statement afterwards, Constance Ikokwu, media aide of Enelamah, said the law had also been suspended in order to review it.
“The Corporate Governance Code issued by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria has been suspended pending a detailed review, extensive consultation with stakeholders and reconstitution of the board of the FRC,” she said.
Obazee has 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).