Seplat Energy has revealed that the company’s Chairman, Basil Omiyi, will resign ahead of its ongoing proposed acquisition of assets belonging to ExxonMobil.

Ripples Nigeria previously reported that Seplat offered to acquire ExxonMobil’s stake in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) in February 2022.

But one year after, the acquisition is yet to be completed, as the oil and gas industry regulator is blocking the deal. However, as Seplat continues the discussion on the acquisition, the firm said part of the acquisition plan was the retirement of Omiyi from the board before the May 2024 Annual General Meeting.

This was disclosed in a corporate document filed with the capital market authority, Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) on Tuesday.

Omiyi will exit the post 11 months after he was appointed as chairman. Also, the Senior Independent Non-Executive Director (SINED), Charles Okeahalam, will leave the company as well.

“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.

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“On the 11 April, the Company published on its website its 2022 Annual Report in which it set out in the Chairman’s Statement and Governance Overview, the succession plan for the Board.

“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.

“The Chairman, Mr. Basil Omiyi, CON and the Senior Independent NonExecutive Director (SINED), Dr. Charles Okeahalam, will both retire from the Board before the May 2024 Annual General Meeting,” Seplat said.

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Seplat said the recruitment of Omiyi’s replacement will be completed before the end of 2023. His replacement is expected to come from within the company.

“The Company will embark immediately on a recruitment process to run a search for the next Seplat Energy Chairman.

“As part of that process, the Independent Non-Executive Directors of the Board who qualify to be Chairman of the Company will 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.

“We expect the recruitment process to be completed before the end of 2023, with the Chairman’s election to follow thereafter,” the document reads.

Also, an Independent Non-executive Director, Fabian Ajogwu, will resign from the board on October 21, 2023, citing external interference.

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Ajogwu hinted that his resignation was a forced one, as he had been prevented from doing his job as an Independent Non-executive Director.

In the document addressing Ajogwu’s exit, the Board said: “an Independent Non-executive Director, Professor. Fabian Ajogwu, SAN, OFR, will step down from the Board on 21 October 2023.

Prof. Ajogwu resigned from the Board citing recent events and deliberate external interferences which have prevented him from effectively discharging his fiduciary and statutory duties as an Independent Non-Executive Director to the highest standards of corporate governance he has written and subscribed to.

“He has confirmed in writing his support for the steps the Company is taking to strengthen governance. He has also made known his dismay over the actions of those who have tried to damage Seplat Energy and derail its efforts to improve corporate governance.”

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