Seplat energy chairman, Orjiako retires, keeps controversial agenda on table

Olubunmi Martins

Seplat Energy Plc has confirmed the formal retirement of its pioneer Chair, Dr A.B.C. Orjiako, from the Board, effective from the Wednesday May, 18, 2022.This was confirmed in a statement obtained by EnergyDay on Monday from the company’s website, signed by Mr. Emeka Onwuka, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, CFO and filed with the Nigerian Exchange (NGX).


According to the statement, further to the announcement made on November 17, 2021, Seplat Energy Plc confirms that Dr. A.B.C Orjiako will be retiring from the Board of the Company after the Annual General Meeting on May 18, 2022.


Emeka said the announcement is a followup to a previous statement issued by the company on November 17, 2021.


According to the statement , Dr. Orjiako , the outgoing Chair, will continue to support the growth of the company on a contractual basis without conflicting with the roles of serving directors on the Board.


It is, however, unclear how the contractual arrangement to use the services of the outgoing Chair will not impair the effective performance of the incoming independent board members of the company.


The Securities and Exchange Commission, the regulatory agency supervising companies and allied matters in the country, is yet to express its approval or categorical opinion on the matter.


However, there have been conversations on corporate governance issues at the board level of Seplat around which the immediate past managing director, Austin Avuru, was eased out.


Seplat Energy had earlier issued a comprehensive guideline to streamline problems associated with conflicts of interest involving its directors and other classes of employees on the 27th of January 2020.


EnergyDay’s check revealed that Dr. ABC Orjiako has been embroiled in controversy over such matters as the Malabo oil deal and, more recently, a dispute over certain oil rigs in which his name was prominently mentioned.


Seplat Energy operates about eight producing assets with sizable gas processing facilities and is progressing on the completion of ExxonMobil onshore assets, which the supermajor said it was willing to sell off.


In recent times, the company has made significant changes to the composition of its board, including the appointment of Mr. Basil Omiyi as an Independent Non-Executive Director and other notable industry executives.


In 2013, Omiyi joined the Seplat Board after a 40-year career at Royal Dutch Shell, during which time he occupied a number of senior roles in Nigeria and Europe, including Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd and Country Chairman of Shell Companies in Nigeria.
Dr. Orjiako, in what sounds like a valedictory statement, expressed delight over his role in building Seplat Energy to maturity with brighter prospects for the future.