Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Arunma Oteh has been announced as West Africa’s Business Woman of the year 2014 at Africa’s most prestigious business awards, the All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA).

At the ceremony held in Lagos, Oteh was celebrated for her peerless vision and dedication in her role as Director General of SEC Nigeria as she has been an instrumental force in the on going growth and development of Nigeria’s economic landscape.

Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Arunma Oteh

Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Arunma Oteh

In an address at the event, Joe Nazzal, head of Reserve said, “The nominees in this year’s AABLA Awards exemplify the game-changing vision that has helped to grow the West African economy, with Nigeria making incredible strides in this regard.”

“Johnnie Walker Blue Label is proud to acknowledge all these individuals who, through their tireless innovation and pioneering spirit, have made a lasting impact on the continent’s business sector. The fact that all winners were from Nigeria emphasizes the impact the country’s business leaders are having on the continents’ business landscape” he added.

In her remarks after receiving the award, Oteh expressed her gratitude to CNBC Africa who she said has changed the landscape of business reporting and has been connecting Africa to the world.

“So I am really honored that I amiable to be some evidence of excellence. I also just want to say that this recognition for me means very much. I had vision, but I had a team around me, the SEc staff who tapped into that vision. We also have had capital market operators who have aligned behind our vision. I want to celebrate SEC staff, capital market operators and Nigerians.

“This is very important to me because I think it is an outstanding category for what we do at SEC. I think what we have done is to create an enabling environment such that businesses can realize their potential but also such that our nation can realize its potential. But in doing that, what we have seen is that we have been such a role model for other countries around the world because we have been bold, we have done things people have wondered whether they should do” Oteh said.

While admitting that the Commission has taken some risks in the course of doing its work, she however said that those risks have paid off adding that what is most important for her in this recognition is that around the world, capital market regulators feel that there is a greater understanding of the role that capital market play in transforming society.

“Whether it is to help businesses or creating jobs, whether it is just building a meritocracy, but even as we deal with the security challenges that we face today, all of us as regulators, whether market participants believe that what capital does is to enable social cohesion and enable us address some of the challenges that we face today.

“For me, this is significant in many ways, but most importantly, all over the world people know that without the capital market we cannot do the kind of businesses with a lot potentials. And I believe that in Africa and for us in Nigeria, we have laid the foundation over the last four years, but watch this space, it is a strong foundation and we will be greater” she added.

Other winners at the event were Atedo Peterside, Chairman IBTC Holdings Plc as West African Business Leader of the Year, Tayo Oviosu, CEO of Paga as West Africa’s Entrepreneur of the year, Chude Jideonwo and Adebola Williams of Red Media as West African Young Business Leader of the year and Subomi Balogun who won the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The West African round marked the final regional leg of the AABLA Awards with East Africa’s business elite having been honored in Nairobi in september, and South Africa’s pioneers having been lauded earlier this month.

The winners of this round will then travel to South Africa for the AABLA finale on 14 November where they will compete against other regional winners from Southern and East Africa for the title of Africa’s most exceptional business people in their respective fields.