What we know about new minister, Stephen Ocheni

Professor Stephen Ikani Ocheni, the Kogi State new minister just sworn in by acting President Yemi Osinbajo  is a Professor of Public Sector Accounting and currently the re-elected Dean of Faculty of Management Sciences, Kogi State University, Anyigba.

Stephen Ocheni  hails from Uwowo in Igalamela/Odolu Local Government Area of Kogi State.

He obtained his West African School Certificate from Idah Secondary Commercial College, Idah, in 1979 and bagged a Higher National Diploma from the Federal Polytechnic, Idah, in 1983.

The Minister obtained an MBA (Finance) from Enugu State University of Science and Technology in 1990 and bagged a PhD in Financial Management from the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2004 after successfully undergoing a rigorous M.Sc/PhD programme.

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Stephen Ocheni took his quest beyond the shore of Nigeria as he embarked on series of professional training in the United States and the United Kingdom. These endeavours fetched him a Certificate in “Strategies for Home ownership”, from Howard University Washington DC, USA, Certificate in Internal Auditing with Computer Application from Worthing, West Sussex U.K, and Certificate in Project Financing and Sustainability, USA.

His commitment to financial management, fiscal discipline and leadership responsibilities has taken him to the zenith of reputable professional bodies in the country. To this end, he has been a Fellow, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, FCNA; Fellow, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, FCTI; Fellow, Chartered Institute of Local Government and Public Administration, FCPA; and Fellow, Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria, FCE.

He is a thorough professional and technocrat with unblemished records. In this regard, he has at various times served as Financial Controller, World Bank Assisted Kogi State Essential Drugs Programme; Director (Office of the Accountant General, Kogi State/ State Programme Accountant, UNDP) and Permanent Secretary in Kogi State, all between 1992 and 2003. At the federal level, he was Deputy Director, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development; Director, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation; and Director, Finance and Accounts, Ministry of foreign Affairs all between 2003 and 2013.

Mr. Stepten Ocheni is a teacher and researcher of no mean repute. He was a lecturer in Accounting, Taxation, Cost Accounting and Management Accounting at the Federal Polytechnic, Idah, Kogi State, between 1985 and 1993. His zeal for and commitment to research is demonstrated in the number of books written and scholarly articles published in reputable journals. These include six books in Accounting, Finance and Management issues published by the Spectrum Books Limited, Ibadan, 42 articles published in reputable international journals with many of them available online and six others published in local journals.

The research and academic prowess of the ministerial nominee captured the attention of the National Universities Commission, NUC, which engaged him as member of undergraduate and postgraduate accreditation panels to universities across the country. He was a member of accreditation panel to Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State (2014), Post-Graduate Accreditation Panel to Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and Enugu State University, Enugu (2014); Undergraduate Accreditation Panel to University of Port Harcourt (2014), Undergraduate Accreditation Panel to Federal University of Technology, Owerri (2014) and Undergraduate Accreditation Panel to Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State (2015).

The ministerial nominee who was appointed Professor of Public Sector Accounting by the Governing Council of Kogi State University in October 2013 has been fully involved in administration, teaching, research and supervision of students at the undergraduate, masters and PhD levels since then. He has successfully supervised numerous postgraduate students (M. Sc and PGD) in Accounting and Taxation and is currently involved in the supervision of PhD students.

It was to the credit of Professor Ocheni as the Dean, Faculty of Management Sciences that Kogi State University recorded huge success in the first ever postgraduate accreditation of programmes in the faculty by the National Universities Commission (NUC). The programmes that secured full accreditation in this regard include M.Sc. (Accounting), M.Sc. (Taxation), MBA (Accounting), Ph.D. (Accounting), M.Sc. (Business Administration), MBA ((Business Administration), Ph.D. (Management), M.Sc. (Banking and Finance), Ph.D. (Banking and Finance), M.Sc. (Public Admin), MPA and Ph.D. (Public Administration).

In terms of national and community services, the ministerial nominee has served as chairman/president and member of boards, committees, council and associations at both the local government, state and federal levels. The most recent of such assignment was his chairmanship of Kogi State ADHOC Committee on Fiscal Responsibility saddled with the responsibility of working out the strategies for the implementation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) in the State, adoption and implementation of the Contributory Pension Scheme and post autonomy strategies for enhanced revenue collection by Kogi State Internal Revenue Service (KGSIRS).

Professor Ocheni has attended numerous conferences, workshop and seminars at the national and international levels and presented thought provoking papers at such occasions. Among them are “Project Financing and Sustainability, Management Sciences for Health” (Boston, USA, 1994); “Strategies for Home Ownership Howard University” (Washington DC, USA, 2006); “Enhancing Policy Consistency in Governance: Pathway to Sustainable Growth and Development in Africa” (University Auditorium, University of Lome, Togo (2011); and “Impact Assessment of Internal Audit on the Performance of Public Sector Management in Nigeria: A study of selected States in Nigeria”. Annual Joint Conference of the International Academy of Business and International Educators Group (Washington DC, USA, 2014).  He has also been involved in numerous diplomatic engagements in and outside the country.

Mr. Ocheni’s commitment to professionalism and service of humanity has earned him several awards from reputable bodies and organisations over the years. These include Kogi State Merit Award as The Best Permanent Secretary in Kogi State; Distinguished Honours Awards by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) FCT Council; Award for hard work and Financial Prudence by the Nigerian Union of Journalists (October 2010); Merit Award by the Rotary Club International; Award for Academic Excellence and Hard-work by Igalamela Community Development Association, Abuja Chapter; Distinguished Service Award by the Institute of Independent Marketing Management of Nigeria; Distinguished Leadership Award by Igalamela Solidarity Forum; Merit Award for distinguished Humanitarian Services by the Old Students Association of Idah Secondary Commercial College (2010); Award of Excellence by the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa in recognition of technical support to the Directorate, among others. The university don holds the title, “Omachi Atta Igala” conferred on him by the late Atta Igala, His Royal Majesty, Aliyu Obaje.

The minister is happily married with children.

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