Re: ABC Orjiako Peaks Seplat Stake: The Irony of an Interloper

Re: ABC Orjiako Peaks Seplat Stake: The Irony of an Interloper

Dan Aibangbe

On Sunday, January 28, 2024, I was enjoying my round of the dailies as usual, when I encountered a shocking ‘disturbia’ of sorts. It was presented in the article referenced “All-Round Increase: ABC Orjiako Peaks Seplat Stake” on the Feature page.

My shock emanated from certain inaccuracies contained in the article itself as well as the impression it conveys on the unwary. Incidentally, I have encountered a few articles in the past, which made me fully aware of the previous boardroom tussles that threatened the progress of the Nigerian titan of the oil and gas industry.

I am conversant with the facts and events that led to the exit of Dr ABC Orjiako from the Board and Management of Seplat Energy PLC, way back in May, 2022. I am fully aware of the proxy media and legal tussles that targeted the removal of the current Managing Director and other members of the Board and Management and how those subterfuge failed to yield any result.

For the avoidance of doubt, Dr ABC Orjiako resigned as Chairman in November 2021 and ceased to be the Chairman of Seplat in May 2022. The event bordered around the requirements of the Code of Corporate Governance which stipulated the maximum tenure of Board Members. Even the current chairman is in the process of disengagement in line with the Corporate Governance Code of quoted companies of the stature of Seplat Energy PLC. The company is quoted on both the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NGX and the London Stock Exchange, LSE.

The new Board that was formed upon the exit of Dr Orjiako embarked on activities that streamlined the practices in Seplat with the requirements of the Code of Governance and found that a juicy contract contrived for himself by the former Chairman cannot be sustained and was promptly terminated. This issue was the trigger of the war of attrition that ensued and lasted for almost a full year with the potential to hamstring the bright prospects of the Nigerian Multinational Oil and Gas giant.  The company has rightfully declared its mission as Leading Nigeria’s energy transition with accessible, affordable and reliable energy that drives social and economic prosperity.

The foregoing background is why I was shocked to read the Sunday feature in which Dr Orjiako or the proxy writer appears to be gloating over the improved results of Seplat, which invariably translated to the increased commonwealth of Seplat stakeholders. I determined to put the records straight by debunking the insinuations that Dr Orjiako was instrumental to the successes, when he  was in fact playing the opposition. He is merely benefiting from the residual yield on his investment, which is being judiciously husbanded by the same competent Board and Management he fought tooth and mail to scuttle.

On another note, my instinct suggests that the article might be a hatchet job by the author. For instance, the writer in one breadth referred to Orjiako as Chairman and later in same article acknowledged him as former chairman. In fact, I was at a loss as to the real intention of the writer, who singled out the success of Seplat and conveniently overlooked Dr Orjiako’s several failures in almost all other ventures he has been embroiled in. Dr Orjiako, with his magic fingers is currently unable to settle his indebtedness to Access Bank and AMCON. The Bank has had to confiscate his assets and Bank Accounts over trade disputes and unsettled exposures.

I am really curious as to how this inaccurate presentation beat the usually stringent editorial input of Thisday, who has been privy to the corporate history of Seplat Energy, even right from the inception and during the expired tenure of Dr Orjiako.

Reading the publication by Thisday in isolation presents the exact scenario that supports the opinion of the revered Prof Soyinka on why he does not bother to read Autobiographies. He considers them mostly to be packs of lies! Specifically, this article in Thisday appears to be a metaphor for ridicule rather than eulogy as was obviously intended. As such, I consider it a wasted effort.

The writer of that article will do better to always exercise the rigor of research in order to upgrade and update his contents, even when having to eulogize public figures such as Dr ABC Orjiako. The general public can be better educated and entertained at the same instance where opinions are based on facts especially when they are freely available in public domain.

Dan Aibangbe is a Media and Public Relations Consultant

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