Share­hold­ers jus­tify protest at Oando AGM

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - From Sun­day Michael Ogwu, La­gos

One of the lead­ers of the share­hold­ers who protested at the 40th An­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing of Oando Plc held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Mon­day has said the protest was to ex­press dis­con­tent with the state of af­fairs of the com­pany.

Cle­ment Ebitimi, who is the South-South Co­or­di­na­tor of the Oando Share­hold­ers Sol­i­dar­ity Group (OSSG), who stated this also faulted claims by Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor of the In­de­pen­dent Share­hold­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria (ISAN), Sir Sun­day Nwosu, that they were paid to dis­rupt the meet­ing.

Ebitimi de­scribed as “un­for­tu­nate”, Nwosu’s at­tempt to down­play the sig­nif­i­cance of his mem­bers’ le­git­i­mate protest.

“We were in the hall when we started our ag­i­ta­tion but be­cause we did not want to dis­rupt the meet­ing, we heeded ap­peals to move to the en­trance so the whole world can see our ag­i­ta­tion. The same Nwosu was one of those who came to beg us”.

Ebitimi said con­trary to spec­u­la­tions and at­tempts by the man­age­ment of Oando and ISAN to dis­credit them, they were “not spon­sored by any­one to protest.

“The is­sue is that the val­ues of the shares of our mem­bers have been eroded by more than 80% in re­cent times,” he said.

He claimed that the com­pany has con­sis­tently re­ported losses over the past three years and has failed to pay div­i­dends, yet the ex­ec­u­tives are in­creas­ing re­mu­ner­a­tion, ac­quir­ing choice prop­er­ties and buy­ing pri­vate jets.

“Even if it is 1,000 shares, we are bonafide share­hold­ers and we refuse to be sup­pressed. Our mem­bers are bonafide share­hold­ers of Oando. Af­ter the protest and as­sur­ances that our griev­ances would be ad­dressed, we went back into the hall to con­tinue the meet­ing. We are or­derly, de­cent and law-abid­ing cit­i­zens and we proved this by our con­duct.

“We don’t want to kill Oando, but we de­mand more re­spon­si­ble be­hav­iour from the man­age­ment,” Ebitimi said.

He said the pro­test­ers’ ag­i­ta­tion has been jus­ti­fied by the re­port of the in­de­pen­dent au­di­tors, Ernst & Young, whose re­port to the An­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing casted doubt over the com­pany’s abil­ity to con­tinue as a go­ing con­cern.

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