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Chairman, board members at logger head over sack of Eko Disco MD/CEO

by Business News Report

Chairman and board of directors of Eko Electricity Distribution Company, EKEDC, have disagreed over the sack of the company’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Tinuade Sanda. In his letter on March 25, 2024, the EKEDC Chairman, Dere Otubu, attributed the sack of Dr. Sanda to the directive by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, saying, “We have received a directive from NERC stating that all staff working for the utility must be employed directly by the utility, bound by applicable service conditions that apply to the employees of the utility, and paid through the utility’s payroll. “The Disco is obligated to comply with these directives due to the powers of NERC as stipulated in the Electricity Act 2023. In compliance with the aforementioned directive, all seconded staff from WPG Ltd are being released by Eko Electricity Distribution Plc and returned to WPG Ltd.

“Accordingly, you are hereby relieved of your role, office, and position at Eko Electricity Distribution Plc effectively immediately, and returned to your employer, WPG Ltd.” The chairman also said:  “We wish to inform the general public that Mrs Rekhiat Momoh has on 26th March 2024 assumed the role of Acting CEO of Eko Disco. This follows the redeployment of our erstwhile MD/CEO Mrs Tinuade Sanda back to WPG Ltd, the core investor who seconded her to Eko Disco. We have great confidence in her ability to perform this role effectively and take the company to greater heights.”

But in their rebuttal on Wednesday, a Director and Chairman of the Legal & Regulatory Committee, Mr. Babor Egeregor, stated: “It has come to my notice that by a letter dated 26th of March 2024, the Chairman of 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 NERC. “The said orders 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 i.e., Wola Joseph Condotti, Sheri Adegbenro, and Aik Alenkhe.” Providing further explanation, Egregor, 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 the 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. Rather than comply with the orders of NERC, recourse to subterfuge was hatched with the purported termination. 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 Wola Joseph Condotti for alleged fraud through the use of ghost workers for three years, and continuous payment of salaries to exited staff despite personally receiving their resignation letters.” 

He said that similar queries were issued to the Chief Audit and Compliance Officer, Sheri Adegbenro, and the Chief Human Resources Officers, Aik Alenkhe, “for their failure and gross negligence to audit and detect fraudulent payments on the payroll for over three years. 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 Board members. Mrs Momoh is the Chief Commercial Officer of EKEDC and remains so. 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 recognises. 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.”

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