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Plot thickens as Eko DisCo board chairman, director legal disagree on the removal of Tinuade Sanda as CEO

Eko-Electric-distibtion

The leadership crisis at Eko Electricity Distribution Plc (EKEDC) deepens following the announcement of the termination of Dr. Tinuade Sanda’s service as MD/CEO to be replaced by Mrs. Rekhiat Momoh as the company’s acting chief executive officer in a statement signed by its the board of directors on Tuesday, 26 March 2024.

The chairman of EKEDC, Mr Dere Otubu allegedly affirmed the sack of Sanda as in compliance with the statutes of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) attenuated in a letter to the company on its employee and governance structure necessitating the dismissal.

However, in recent reports, the matter has taken a new turn, as EKEDC Board members purportedly backtracked on the statement issued on Tuesday thus, nullifying the termination of Sanda’s appointment as managing director/chief executive officer.

Furthermore, the director, and chairman Legal and Regulatory Committee of EKEDC, Babor Egeregor, in a statement described NERC’s order as unambiguous, incapable of, and unyielding to plural interpretations.

According to him, there was nowhere in the order where NERC requested the removal of any staff either seconded to or hired by EKEDC except those connected to alleged fraud and negligence.

He said NERC’s directives were issued to compel the Board of EKEDC, following picketing by the union and unrelenting staff protests, to act appropriately in the face of a determined position of a majority of the board members to cover up the alleged use of ghost workers together with the alleged fraud and especially protect the suspects.

The statement reads, “It has come to my notice that by a letter dated 26th of March 2024, the chairman of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), Mr. Dere Otubu purportedly terminated the Contract of Employment of Dr. Tinuade Sanda, the MD/CEO of EKEDC, allegedly in compliance with orders/directives issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

“The said order of the NERC, herein displayed, are unambiguous, incapable of, and unyielding to plural interpretations. There was nowhere in the order where NERC requested the removal of any staff either seconded to or hired by EKEDC EXCEPT those connected to the alleged fraud and negligence.

“NERC’s directives were issued to compel the board of EKEDC, following picketing by the union and unrelenting Staff protests, to act appropriately in the face of a determined position of a majority of the Board members to cover up the alleged use of ghost workers together with the alleged fraud and protect Wola Joseph Condotti especially.

Mr Dere Otubu’s letter, therefore, was done in bad faith and vengeful revenge against the MD/CEO for escalating the alleged fraud and issuing queries against one of his protégés, whom he has desperately sworn to protect by all means. As a matter of fact, the acting DG of the BPE, representing the government on the board of EKEDC, vehemently rejected the attempt to cover up the alleged crime and insisted on compliance with the punishment prescribed in the Conditions of Service.

“Rather than comply with the Orders of NERC, a recourse to subterfuge was hatched with the purported termination and the publication of different misleading headlines such as “FG Sacks MD of EKEDC”, “Tinuade Sanda relieved of her position as MD, Eko Distribution Company”. There are no doubts about a deliberate agenda and unconcealed mischief to misread the Orders of the NERC to malign Dr. Sanda’s reputation for daring to escalate and issue queries to the suspects for alleged fraud through the use of ghost workers for three years, and continuous payment of salaries to exited staffs despite personally receiving their resignation letters.

“Similar queries were issued to Sheri Adegbenro, the chief audit and compliance officer, and Aik Alenkhe, the chief human resources officer respectively for their failure and gross negligence to audit and detect fraudulent payments on payroll for over 3 years.

“We are also aware of a purported press release appointing Mrs Rekiat Momoh as the acting MD/CEO.

“The Board of EKEDC, on which I sit has neither met nor decided on the purported appointment of Mrs. Rekiah Momoh as acting MD/CEO, except Mr. Otubu and his close circle of colleagues have transformed themselves into “The Board”. I and all well-meaning members of the EKEDC Board, I believe, should vehemently distance themselves from this contrivance.

“The Board is not a one-man show, and matters are to be collectively deliberated on and approved by the board members. Mrs Momoh is the chief commercial officer of EKEDC and remains so.

Mr Otubu and his co-travellers have chosen to cherry-pick the exhaustive interaction with NERC where one of the commissioners wondered why no one was yet to be tried or in prison for these grievous allegations and how to recover lost funds part-owned by the federal government. They are more focused on settling scores with our performance-driven MD/CEO, Mrs Tinu Sanda

“At EKEDC, we are known for due process and legality, and anything that would take away from our avowed commitment to due process and corporate governance would be resisted.

“Therefore, let it be known that Dr. Tinuade Sanda remains the MD/CEO of Eko Electricity Distribution Company and has since her assumption of office as the MD/CEO, turned EKEDC around for good, with very great milestones and achievements which every sector player recognizes. She made EKEDC the number-one distribution company in Nigeria.

“The investors, board, and management of EKEDC believe firmly in her leadership and look forward to many more record-setting and breaking moments. This is for the information of the general public and all NESI stakeholders.”

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