RE: Letter to Governors of Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo, Osun, Lagos and Ogun States
The attention of Odu’a Investment Company Limited (ODU’A) has been drawn to a publication by Chief (Dr) Isaac F. Akintade (immediate past chairman of Odu’a Investment) whose nomination as a Director was withdrawn by Ondo State Government on 22nd March, 2017 on Page 5 of The Nation Newspaper of Wednesday, 19th April, 2017 titled as above. It was stated in the publication that copies of the letter had been sent to all the Executive Governors of the Owner States of ODU’A.
The Board of Directors of ODU’A Group is responsible and accountable to the Owner States Governors as custodians of this great heritage on behalf of the good people of South West Nigeria. It is with this knowledge and high sense of responsibility and purpose coupled with the confidence reposed in us that we carry out the weighty assignment of superintending the Group.
It is highly unfortunate that a former Chairman of ODU’A who served for over seven years (i.e. four years as Director and over three years as Chairman) had to go through the Pages of a Newspaper to present incorrect and inaccurate position on what happened in the organization with the intent of discrediting the company which was beginning to gain recognition and reputation after so many years of inactivity and financial stagnation.
The Board at a meeting held on Thursday, April 27, 2017 considered the allegations in the publication. Based on deliberations at the meeting, may we humbly respond to each and every allegation contained in the letter of Chief Isaac Akintade as outlined below:
Withdrawal of Chief Akintade as Chairman of ODU’ A
The standard practice and procedure for appointment and withdrawal of Directors in ODU’A is for the Owner States to nominate or notify them of the withdrawal of a Director through a letter to ODU’A after which ODU’A through the Group Managing Director (GMD) would issue a letter of appointment or withdrawal to the Director. The appointment of a Director is for a period of four years subject to any review that the Shareholder may decide. The Owner States Governments do not write directly to any nominee Director for appointment or withdrawal.
In the case of Chief Akintade, a Board Meeting was scheduled to hold on 23rd March, 2017. The notice for the meeting and all Board papers were duly sent to him by March 16, 2017 but on March 22, 2017 a letter was received from Ondo State Government withdrawing him from the Board. He was formally notified of the withdrawal. It would be unprofessional and illegal for Chief Akintade to attend and preside as Chairman in a meeting after he has been withdrawn from the Board.
At the Board meeting of March 23, 2017 in line with a precedent already set at ODU’A that the oldest serving Director would act as the Chairman pending nomination of a new Chairman, the Directors unanimously appointed Alhaji T. Ola Bello as the acting Chairman. On March 27, 2017 Ondo State Government nominated a new Director in the person of Chief Segun Ojo who has been appointed and has since resumed. Kindly refer to the Minutes of the Emergency Board Meeting of December 2, 2013 wherein Chief Akintade himself benefited from this convention of being appointed as acting Chairman pending nomination of a substantive Chairman. (Annexure 1).
Approval for Payment of N65m to Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC)
At a .meeting held on January 19, 2016, the owner states governors admitted Lagos State into ODU’A Group and directed the Board to engage the services of any of the top five Consulting firms in Nigeria to work out the details of the process of admission of Lagos State. The process was code named “Project West”• “At the meeting of the Board of Directors of ODU’A held on April 15, 2016, PwC was appointed by the Board as the Financial Adviser for the transaction, (Annexure 2). At another Board meeting held on July 13, 2016 (Annexure 3), management informed the Board that a letter of appointment as Financial Advisers has been issued to PwC. In subsequent meetings, Project West has always been .on the agenda. It is, therefore, surprising and shocking to read in Chief Akintade’s letter that the Management was seeking “approval for payment of N65m to Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC) for a job, that had neither been discussed nor approved by the Management Committee, Board Committee and the whole Board.” At the Board meeting held on August 30, 2016 (Annexure 4) it was stated: “The fees of •PWC was not agreed”. PWC subsequently presented a bill of N83m made-up of N15m Project Management and Transaction Support Fees and N68m.
Business entity Valuation; Service fees. The fees were negotiated. from N83m to N65m. Copies of the quotes from PWC are herewith attached.(Annexure 5).
40th Anniversary Celebrations
ODU’A celebrated its 40th Anniversary on December 8, 2016 with a Public Lecture and award for the three founding military governors. The event was attended by His Excellency, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and all other owner states were represented. Provision was made; for the 40th Anniversary celebrations in the 2016 Annual Operating Plan which was approved by the Board at a meeting chaired by Chief Akintade held on December 22, 2015′. (Annexure 6). The Board set up an ad-hoc committee of its members for the 40th Anniversary. Committee. The Cornmittee was aware of all the expenses relating to . the celebration and proper account had been rendered to the Board.
Appointment of Personal Assistant: On GMD’s assumption of office in June 2014, he approached Chief Akintade as the Chairman of the Board on the need for him to appoint a Senior Management Staff as his Personal Assistant for Strategy and Sustainability on grade level JC 27. This was reduced to writing with the Name, Grade and Salary of the proposed appointee which the Chairman personally approved on August 7, 2014 (see Annexure 7). At the Board meeting of January 8, 2015 (Annexure 8). Otunba Ogunkeyede the then Chairman of the Establishment Committee raised the issue that the appointment was made without reference to or approval of the Board.
Chief Akintade as the Chairman apologized to the 0oard and accepted responsibility as he approved the appointment on behalf of the Board. However, after the Owner States Governors stopped the purported attempt to lease Lagos Airport Hotel to the crony of Chief Akintade and Otunba Ogunkeyede in April 2015.
The issue was raised again and Chief Akintade stated that he gave approval for the appointment in ignorance without knowing the grade and salary of the Personal Assistant. He continued the denial until the memo he approved was presented to the SSGs at the meeting of May 6, 2015. This’ issue along with others were addressed by the SSGs after the Annual General Meeting of October 2015. The SSGs directed that the appointment of the GMD’s Personal Assistant be ratified. Chief Akintade and Otunba Ogunkeyede insisted that the Personal Assistant must be sacked. As part of compromise and in the overall best interest of the organization. the Personal Assistant was demoted, and placed on JC 45 after he had earned salary for one year on JC 27.
His compensation package was reduced by 30 per cent. His new salary was approved by the Board at its meeting held on December 22, 2015,(Annexure 9). The Personal Assistant is not the highest paid staff, neither is he being paid more than what his grade is entitled to.
Appointment of Consultants
Consultants were engaged to carry out assignments in areas where management needed specialised. skills and competence. Since the GMD’s appointment, we can vouch that he has not engaged any personal friend as contractors, consultants or vendors. Reputable Consultants like KPMG, PWC, Kola-Awodein Consulting and Greenwich Trust Ltd were engaged, Chief Akintade was not comfortable with these institutionalised Consultants as he preferred to. introduce individual Consultants who he can influence. It is regrettable that for almost 3 years- Chief, Akintade “maintained his peace until he was withdrawn from the Board before orchestrating this falsehood.
Appointment of Group Managing•Director
The GMD was appointed after a rigorous and competitive interview conducted by KPMG Advisory Services on the directive of the owner States Governments in 2014. At the Board meeting held on March 19, 2014 (Annexure 10), the then Chairman of Establishment Committee,(Otunba Ogunkeyede reported to the Board as follows:Ten candidates were hortlisted•and’nine attended the interview which had KPMG, or Adebayo Jimoh, Otunba Ogunkeyede and the Director General of Dawn Commission as members of the panel, Mr Adewale Raji came first with 82 per cent.