Court slates May 11 for definite hearing of Obasanjo’s ex-aide’s case over ownership of oil firm

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday slated May 11, 2021, to commence hearing of the suit by Prof Anthony Adegbulugbe, former Special Adviser on Energy to former President Olusegun Obasanjo over ownership of an oil company.

The plaintiff, Prof Adegbulugbe, had dragged two directors of the oil company, Green Energy International Ltd to court over the ownership of the oil company.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Tuesday, the two defendants, through their counsel, Alade Agbabiaka (SAN) prayed the court for an order discharging the exparte order granted in favour of the plaintiff on November 4, 2020 which compelled them to attend the November 12, 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company which they did not attend.

The defendants submitted that they did not attend the AGM because its notice ran foul of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) which requires 21 days notice before the meeting can be convened by the company.

They further told the court that the exparte order infringed on their fundamental rights to freedom of association and that the said order was obtained by the plaintiff by concealing material facts to the court.

They urged the court to vacate the exparte order against them in the interest of justice.

But counsel to the plaintiff, Benbella Anachebe (SAN), opposed the application on the ground that the exparte order complained against had no life again.

He argued that the order was to last for 14 days and that the 14 days had since expired. “The court deals with life issues and not issues that are spent,” he said.

The trial judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, in her ruling, held that the exparte order had been spent and had become an academic exercise, adding that delving into it would amount to premature incursion into the substantive matter.

The judge then fixed May 11, 2021 for a definite hearing of the substantive suit.

Adegbulugbe, in a suit numbered, FHC/ABJ/CS/390/2020, is praying the court to declare that the two directors, Dr Bunu Alibe and Mr Ayodele Olojede, cannot impose their will in the running of the company, on the grounds that they are minority shareholders with only 22.6 percent holding.

Adegbulugbe, in the suit is also praying the court to restrain the two directors from doing anything inimical to the interest of the firm but to use the internal mechanism in resolving any dispute.

In their counter-affidavits, the two directors claim that Adegbulugbe usurped the function of the managing director of the firm and had been taking unilateral decisions that were against the objectives of the company.

They averred that the aide to the former president had engaged in alleged infractions by involving multinational companies in the operations of the company without their input.

They contended, among others that Adegbulugbe brought third parties under the guise of increasing production of the Otakikpo Marginal Oil Field from 5,600 bpd to 30,000 bpd.

Contrary to the claim that the two directors have only 22.6 per cent shares in the company, they asserted that they are owners of 25 per cent shares.

The defendants stated that Adegbulugbe’s usurpation of the position of the Chairman of the Board and combining same with the position of the Chief Executive Officer of the company is contrary to the provisions of Part A, Section 2(2.7) of the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018.

They, therefore, prayed the court to protect them as executive directors and as bonafide minority shareholders of the company.

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