Seplat Energy Plc has disclosed that Basil Omiyi, its board chairman and Charles Okeahalam, its senior independent non-executive director, will retire before the next annual general meeting (AGM) in May 2024.
Seplat in a statement on Tuesday, said the resignation followed the likely completion timetable for the proposed acquisition of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) assets, business restructuring activities, and the time needed to strengthen its governance.
“The chairman, Mr. Basil Omiyi, CON, and the senior independent non-executive director (SINED), Dr. Charles Okeahalam, will both retire from the board before the May 2024 annual general meeting,” the statement reads.
The company said it would immediately embark on a recruitment process for the next chairman.
As part of the process, Seplat said, 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,” the oil company added.
Seplat said it expects the recruitment process to be completed before the end of 2023, with the chairman’s election to follow thereafter.
The resignation of the duo comes days after the company confirmed that Fabian Ajogwu, an independent non-executive director, would step down from the board on October 21, 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,” Seplat had said.
Omiyi, Okeahalam, and Ajogwu were among the defendants in a four-count charge filed by the federal government at a federal high court in Abuja, against Seplat and its top executives.
In the suit, marked, FHC/AB/CR/149/2023, the defendants were accused of conspiring among themselves to allow Roger Brown accept employment as chief executive officer at Seplat Energy “without the consent of the comptroller-general of immigration”.
Last Thursday, Omiyi said all the proceedings in the charge were withdrawn by the federal government.
Meanwhile, on March 3, 2023, the federal government had revoked the visa, resident permit, and work permit of Brown, following allegations bordering on racism by aggrieved stakeholders of the company.
He subsequently stepped down from his position after an ex-parte order barred him from functioning as the CEO of the organisation.
However, a federal high court in Lagos vacated the interim ex-parte order, and adjourned the case to May 16, 2023, for accelerated hearing.