Obasanjo’s ex-aide, directors in legal tussle over ownership of oil firm

• As court slates March 2 for hearing

A former Special Adviser on Energy during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, Prof Anthony Adegbulugbe, had dragged two directors of Green Energy International Ltd before a Federal High Court in Abuja over the ownership of the oil company.

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 22.6per cent holding.

The trial Judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu had fixed on March 2, 2021, to commence hearing in the suit.

Adegbulugbe, in the suit, filed his counsel, Benbella Anachebe (SAN), 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 Clair 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 first defendant, in particular, stated that as Plaintiff’s Director-Technical, he should have been in charge of all technical matters and disclosed that the second defendant and himself were directly instrumental to the award of an oil mining license by the Federal Government of Nigeria to the plaintiff to operate the Otakikpo Marginal Oil Field (OML 11).

“That the 2nd Defendant and myself undertook the task of applying for and securing the said license because Prof Anthony Adegbulugbe was unable to do so first because he did not have the relevant contacts needed to secure the marginal oil field license and secondly because as a public official then, serving in government as Energy Advisor to the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he was precluded from doing so for reasons of conflict of interest.

“That after joining us on the plaintiff’s board as a co-director, Prof Anthony Adegbulugbe unilaterally usurped the position of Chairman, Board of Directors without the Board electing him to that position contrary to the provisions of Section 289(4) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020,” they averred.

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 Plaintiff 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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Obasanjo’s former Aide, Directors in legal tussle over ownership of oil firm

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