Amid court cases Seplat’s chairman Omiyi retires

AMID court cases, the embattled chairman of Seplat Energy Plc, Basil Omiyi, will take a bow from the company before its May 2024 annual general meeting (AGM).

Seplat disclosed this in a statement, ‘Board Succession Strategy and Intention of Director to Resign,’ on Tuesday, April 25.

The statement said Omiyi and two executive members would be leaving the company before its 2024 AGM.

Seplat and its top executives have been involved in legal battles in recent times over issues of corporate governance, among others.

In a lawsuit filed on April 6 before the Federal High Court in Abuja, the Federal Government of Nigeria accused the company and its executives of alleged breach of extant provisions of the Immigration Act 2015.

The ICIR can recall that five minority shareholders of Seplat had in a petition joined Omiyi to a court case, which was adjourned for continued hearing to May 16, 2023.

On April 20, Seplat, however, revealed that the Federal government had withdrawn the immigration case against its company and directors.

Besides the court cases, Make a Difference Initiative (MADI), a civil society and good governance advocacy group, had called on Omiyi to step down as Seplat chairman, accusing him of being the root cause of the crises rocking the company.

In the statement on Tuesday, April 25, Seplat said its Senior Independent non-executive director, Charles Okeahalam, will also be retiring from the company.

Fabian Ajogwu, an independent non-executive director, is also to step down from the board on October 21.

According to Seplat, Ajogwu resigned from the Board citing recent events and deliberate external interferences which had prevented him from effectively discharging his fiduciary and statutory duties as an independent non-executive director to the highest standards of corporate governance he had written and subscribed to.

“The Board is fully committed to enhancing the corporate governance at the company and establishing a truly independent Board.

“Despite the recent targeted attacks aimed at derailing that process, the board remains strong and resolute in completing the task,” the company stated.



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    Seplat said it would immediately be embarking on a recruitment process to run a search for the next chairman, hinting that as part of that process, the independent non-executive directors of the board who qualify to be chairman of the company would also be evaluated.

    “This is in line with the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) whereby the successor chairman must already be a director of the company and will be voted in by the other directors by a simple majority,” it explained.

    The recruitment process is expected to be completed before the end of this year, with election of a new chairman to follow thereafter.

    “Looking ahead at the likely completion timetable for the ongoing proposed acquisition, the business restructuring activities and the time needed to strengthen its governance, the Company has developed a Board of Directors’ Succession Forward Plan to underpin the transition and business transformation envisaged over the next 12 months,” Seplat added.

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