Okotete: When Conspiracies, Blackmail Fell Flat

Okotete: When Conspiracies, Blackmail Fell Flat

Hon Stella Okotete is a name that will stay so long in the history of this country when mentions are made on individuals who are thriving in the face of sheer undeserved adversity. At just a young age of 39, she has maintained a growth trajectory in business, character, and administration and in the polity, and despite being celebrated by millions of Nigerians, a few conspirators and petty blackmailers attempted to drag her in the mud and dim her shine but a stellar performance from Stella at the hallowed chambers of the Senate has stemmed the tide and silenced the naysayers.

Those who have worked closely with this smart, suave and brilliant young lady doing exploits at the Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) can affirm to the fact that she is full of wisdom and has the ability to see beyond things that are obvious, a rare quality of individuals who operates in the spiritual realm. Okotete’s biggest drive is her relationship with her God and her commitment to the course of humanity.

Her resilience, perseverance and willpower should form a curricular course of study for the girl-child and young women who are aspiring to be at the top.


Reeling out the unfounded and shambolic allegations against this epitome of hard work and a true representation of the Nigerian spirit would be to dignify the senselessness of her accusers but this piece would rather dwell on the positives that have earned her a seat at the table of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

President Tinubu has made one of his finest decisions in the choice of Hon Stella Okotete and few others who are young and determined to create impact at the national level.


A coalition of civil society organisations had referred to the faceless group who went as far as forging letter of the Code of Conduct Bureau just to indict her as an ill- informed petition to the National Assembly, containing unverifiable and unsubstantiated allegations, riddled with vexation and ill will, and smacks of a well- orchestrated witch hunt by disgruntled elements and political jobbers both within and outside, whose real motive is to tarnish and smear the good name and untainted records of Hon Stella Okotete, a well-grounded professional and highly educated woman of many years of meritorious service, with an unblemished career, spanning the entire gamut of private and public service bureaucracy.

The coalition later warned those involved in this mudslinging spectacle to put a stop to it immediately, retrace their steps and apologize to Deltans and indeed, all well- meaning Nigerians over this atrocious campaign of calumny against the person of Hon Stella Okotete.


From the home front, her sibling Ufuoma Okotete described her sister as an exceptional professional, business entrepreneur and public servant with an impressive track record. She’s not just qualified; she’s more than qualified to serve as a minister in Nigeria.

She reeled out her academic profile saying “Stella is a renowned and active alumni of Benson Idahosa University from where she had her bachelor’s degree and is actively running an Executive Masters in Public Administration, both from reputable institutions. She is an Alumni of Harvard Kennedy School of Government 2012, Alumni of Pan Atlantic University, INSEAD, Columbia University Business School and the University of Oxford Business School amongst others. Her educational accomplishments speak volumes about her commitment to knowledge and excellence. The claims about her not graduating from university are nothing but laughable fiction.


“Throughout her career, Stella has played an instrumental role in fostering Nigeria’s non-oil export growth as an Executive Director of Business Development at the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM). Her strategic acumen and ability to drive revenue and secure new business opportunities have been nothing short of remarkable. She has relentlessly worked as a part of the Bank’s executives as the Business development lead and delivered growth in the Bank’s balance sheet from N67.73bn in April 2017 to N246.46bn as of May, 2023.

“On top of her impressive professional achievements, Stella is a passionate humanitarian who has spearheaded numerous initiatives to empower women, uplift communities, and advocate for positive change. In fact, People do not know that Stella has been solely supporting an orphanage for over 10years. Her dedication to public causes has garnered recognition and respect from all corners”


At NEXIM, Okotete is a darling of the people. She is loved by all. The Management Team of NEXIM Bank, made up of Mr Abubakar Abba Bello (Managing Director/CE), Dr Bala Bello (Executive Director, Corporate Services) and Hon. Stella Okotete (Executive Director, Business Development) were appointed on 9th April 2017 and sworn in on the 2nd May 2017.

The Executive Management resumed in the Bank to meet an institution that was challenged by a myriad of problems, principal amongst which were poor asset quality, dearth of operational funds and loss of focus on core mandate. This led the new management to quickly commence a turnaround programme and with the assistance of KPMG Professional Services, developed a new Strategic Plan (2018 – 2022) that was articulated towards improving operational performance, achieving the Bank’s core mandate and contributing towards meeting the objectives of the Federal Government of Nigeria under the Economic Recovery & Growth Plan.

The implementation of this plan contributed significantly to rejuvenate the Bank, with remarkable improvement in its operational and developmental indices. Aside the reversal of the dwindling financial performance, the Bank introduced new programmes, including the PAVE (Produce, Add Value and Export), through which it supported the establishment of processing facilities as part of efforts to increase value-added exports.


Reiterating the sentiments of the senator representing Delta Central in the Red Chamber, Senator Ede Dafinone, Okotete as the head of the business directorate of the bank implied that she was at the heart of the successes recorded by the institution. A few of the achievements is reproduced here below:

Growth in the Bank’s balance sheet from N67.73n in April 2017 to N246.46bn as at May, 2023, a continued positive performance, increased strategic partnerships for lines of credit and the push for recapitalization of the Bank, the target is to achieve a significant increase in Balance Sheet size in line with growing export opportunities, particularly in view of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. (AfCFTA)

The Bank Achieved an annual profit of N1.09bn in 2018, N2.13bn in 2019, N1.28bn in 2020, N4.10bn in 2021 and N6.23bn in 2022 after a loss of N567million in 2017 and a bigger loss of N8.03bn in 2016. The profit decline in 2020 was due to the impact of Covid-19 on businesses, which necessitated the rebate on lending rate and moratorium extension granted by the Bank to its customers.


Introduction of aggressive debt recovery and proactive loan work out measures leading to increase in overall recoveries from only N200m in December 2016 to N13.77bn and US$6.40mn between January 2017 and May 2023. In addition, assets worth about N7bn have been put for sale.


Continued efforts to clean up the balance sheet and improvement in risk management practices with new loans granted from 2018 performing 100%, a major departure from the huge non-performing loans of about 94% in the past.


Enhanced operating model through restructuring of Regional Offices for the Bank, to maintain presence in each geo-political zone of the country for better market penetration and nationwide coverage.


Okotete indeed has a robust profile and enjoys the goodwill of Nigerians and appropriately a round peg in a round hole. On this note and in accordance with the Senate leadership’s verdict, she should take a bow.


 Jonathan Eze,  is a Lagos based journalist

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