• Opinion - Editorial
  • Updated: April 25, 2023

When Seplat's Director Cites 'External Interferences' As Reason For Resignation

When Seplat's Director Cites 'External Interferences' As Rea

Image of SEPLAT AGM Meeting

Oftentimes, one gets to hear about people resigning from their jobs owing to external interferences. 

What does this mean really? Resigning from a job due to external interference means that the employee has decided to leave their job due to outside influences that are beyond their control. 

This could include pressure from a third party, such as a family member or a government official, or interference from a competitor or other organisation.

In a recent related development, Seplat's director, Fabian Ajogwu has resigned from his appointment with Seplat Nigeria citing external interferences as his reason. 

So the question is, who or what are these external forces? Are there justifiable reasons for pressuring Fabian into resigning his appointment or is he also a victim of 'cabalist' forces from within, without, or both?

As an independent non-executive director of an indigenous energy company, Seplat Plc, Professor Fabian Ajogwu, has recently tendered his resignation letter as a member of the company's board which comes into effect towards the end of this year. 

This was revealed in a corporate notice signed by the chairman of the board, Basil Omiyi, filed on the Nigerian Exchange Limited on Tuesday. 

The company disclosed that Professor Ajogwu, SAN, will step down from the Board on 21 October 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.

“He has confirmed in writing his support for the steps the company is taking to strengthen governance.

“He has also made known his dismay over the actions of those who have tried to damage Seplat Energy and derail its efforts to improve corporate governance,” part of the corporate notice read.

Last Thursday, Seplat Energy announced the discontinuation of the immigration case against the company, some of its directors and officers, and focus on engagements with the Minister of Interior to bring closure to all outstanding issues.

The firm also revealed its Board of Directors Succession Forward Plan as the Chairman, Omiyi and the Senior Independent Non- Executive Director, Dr Charles Okeahalam, will both retire from the Board before the May 2024 Annual General Meeting. 

The company said it would embark immediately on a recruitment process to run a search for the next Seplat Energy chairman.

“As part of that process, 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 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.

“We expect the recruitment process to be completed before the end of 2023, with the Chairman’s election to follow thereafter,” the statement added.

Seplat has been in the news in recent weeks following accusations of racism levelled against its Chief Executive Officer, Roger Brown by some aggrieved stakeholders.


Given scenarios like this, how do either the corporate laws (e.g., company and allied matters laws) or state laws proffer protection to a citizen in the face of a seemingly unfair resort to legally unrecognized factors in victimizing that citizen?

To the extent that Seplat Energy is an indigenous firm, it should be seen that the government of the day looks into a case like this and salvage it, except the government itself also needs to come out clean on the matter.

For a SAN-level professor of law to cry out against arm twisting shows the level of degeneration of sane practices in our system. 

What affects one today may affect another tomorrow. We must not be a nation where a citizen's misfortune feeds the mocking instincts of others.

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