It was a harvest of praises by representatives of Nigerian shareholder groups who were at Seplat Energy Plc 9th Annual General Meeting (AGM) which held in Lagos as they visibly lauded Dr ABC Orjiako who just retired after 13 years as the board chairman of the leading energy company. Speaking at the AGM, Ayodele Kudaisi of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) who tagged her comments as validiatory/ recommendation said, “As the saying goes, there’s nothing that has beginning that doesn’t have an end. It is so painful to all shareholders that you have to leave at this point in time. You have done so well and so much for the entity called Seplat Energy. You and your team have taken Seplat to an enviable position among all its peers, with resiliency, commitment, focus and unsurpassed objectivity. You have come, you have seen and you have conquered. We are definitely going to miss you here, but don’t be too far away from Seplat.

“From time to time, there may be need to tap from your vast experience for a way forward. To the incoming chairman, the shoes that you are going to leave behind is so giant for anybody to wear, but I want to believe that the incoming chairman will not disappoint us, I pray not. Out going chairman, may you be blessed more. May your ways be smooth, and may your future endeavours be smooth,” Kudaisi said. Also speaking, another shareholder, Prince Dr, Anthony Omoniyi Omojola, current national coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria said “That Seplat Energy Plc is a reliable energy company with limitless potentials is not a mere statement. This has been aptly demonstrated in our performance in the 2021 annual report and accounts we are considering.” You have shown leadership by example by your actions as we pray to reap the benefits of this well planned out accelerated growth pattern. We congratulate you. We are proud that the strong foundation you have laid to position Seplat as a leading indigenous energy company in Nigeria within a short space,”  Omojola said.

Matthew Akinlade, president,  Noble Shareholders Solidarity Association (NSSA) said “This is a unique occasion that one must commend the Board and Management of the company for stellar performance. I felt highly impressed the kind of progress. The turn around of the company this year to significantly improved profitability and what you are doing to take the company to higher heights especially the acquisition of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU)”.  “For our outgoing Chairman, I’m emotional about it because this is a gentleman that has led this company more or less from the cradle and to the height that it is today. I thank God for you. I think it is better to leave when your ovation is highest and I think today the ovation is highest. I say congratulations. I implore you not to be far away from this company because you have put so much into this company. We are talking of 13years into the service of this company. It is marvellous,” Akinlade added. Seplat Energy Plc will latest this Friday annouce its new board chairman to replace ABC Orjiako who retires from the board after 13 years.

This was disclosed by Seplat Energy Plc shortly after the company’s 9th Annual General Meeting. The retired chairman, Orjiako; the CEO, Roger Brown as well as Emeka Onwuka, Chief Financial Officer addressed the media after the annual general meeting.  Seplat Energy Plc, a leading indigenous Nigerian energy company with a strategic focus on Nigeria is listed on both the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) and London Stock Exchange (LSE). “This is my last AGM as your chairman. Now that I have climbed the iroko,  I have fetched all the firewood,” Orjiako cheerfully told the shareholders at the meeting.  I’m very happy that I have been associated with the company in the last 13 years. It has been a good journey. It is the real actualisation of good dream that was supported by the people Seplat has,” Orjiako said. While thanking the shareholders and all stakeholders in the company for their co-operations during his tenure, Orjiako noted that “though I am retired, but not tired.”

“I am sure that this company can only grow. I have absolute confidence in the board, management and staff of Seplat, also, the incoming chairman,” Orjiako added. At the annual general meeting, the shareholders approved for the board to pay a final dividend of $0.025/share (2.5 cents) to Seplat’s shareholders whose names appear in the Register of Members as at the close of business on May 5, 2022. Seplat Energy Plc audited results for the full year ended December 31, 2021 shows it recorded growth in its 2021 full-year gross profit by 128.9percent to N114.2billion. The foremost indigenous energy company also recorded a 38.2percent rise in its 2021 full-year revenue to N293.6billion; and a growth in profit before tax by 321.1percent to N71billion. Basil Omiyi, Senior Independent Non- Executive Director of Seplat Energy Plc in his farewell speech to the outgoing chairman stated: “It has been an exciting journey watching the exponential growth of Seplat since its inception. In my many decades of experience in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, I confidently believe no indigenous energy company has significantly impacted the Nigerian energy sector as Seplat Energy has in the last 12 years”.

According to him, “Since its entrance in 2010, Seplat has continued to expand and redefine the frontiers of the Nigerian energy landscape. Through a clear vision and astute leadership, the company has established itself as Nigeria’s leading independent energy provider.  “Under the steer of the outgoing Chairman, the management and every staff of this great company continue to play critical roles, resulting in the company’s many success stories. Seplat has had occasional challenges, as in any other company, yet it has achieved exceptional milestones”. Omiyi further stated “Through his dexterity, the company recorded many firsts in the industry. For example, he played a pathfinding role in the company’s first asset acquisition with the 2010 landmark acquisition of a portfolio of three onshore oil and gas leases: OMLs 4, 38 and 41, from the international oil companies. This transaction was the first of its kind in Nigeria.  Subsequent acquisitions under his tenure, including the Sale-Purchase Agreement for 40% participating interest in OML 53, onshore north-eastern Niger Delta, from Chevron Nigeria Ltd in 2013 and the 2019 acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Eland Oil & Gas, consolidated Seplat Energy’s reputation as a strategic business entity on a global scale. The Eland acquisition was another first of its kind, the first acquisition of a UK listed company by a Nigerian company.

“To consolidate Seplat’ s vision of being a world-class energy provider, the company took another giant leap under the leadership of Dr ABC Orjiako to play on a global scale. In 2014, Seplat successfully raised $535million from its Initial Public Offering (IPO), which was over-subscribed and progressed to a dual listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (now Nigeran Exchange Ltd) and Main Board of the London Stock Exchange. This feat made Seplat’s Listing the first for a Nigerian Company and the Largest out of Sub-Saharan Africa at the time. In 2018, four years after, the Nigerian Stock Exchange migrated Seplat to its elite Premium Board. These accomplishments targeted good Corporate Governance and sustainability of the business. Again in February this year, Seplat Energy under the leadership of Dr. Orjiako, ticked another first. The company announced that it was on course to make one of the most significant acquisitions in the history of the Nigerian Petroleum industry. The company announced its successful signing of a Sales Purchase Agreement to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited from Exxon Mobil Delaware. This deal represents a transformational acquisition for our company. He further noted: “Still, under Dr. ABC Orjiako, Seplat Energy maintaining a healthy relationship with its strategic stakeholders was paramount. This determination has resulted in the creation and retention of value for all parties. Indeed, his firm commitment to strong partnerships with the company’s communities, investors, regulators, and other critical stakeholders attest to his leadership insight, which produced invaluable dividends.

“For the past 12 years, Dr. Orjiako has steered the Seplat Energy Board with remarkable dexterity, rare foresight and uncommon determination. He instituted steps to running a high performing board. To share a few, he: Initiated Corporate Governance Training sessions and set the Corporate Governance Policies and Standards; Initiated Board Evaluation Reports to usher in HIGH-PERFORMANCE BOARD MATRIX; Set up the Corporate Strategy Committee, setting the stage for our corporate transformation; Ensured that the Seplat Board has the right combination of diverse, inclusive and well-experienced professionals who are deeply committed to building the Seplat Energy dream; And for board meetings, he produced a detailed, insightful, well-researched Chairman’s report that he read at the board meeting to lay out his strategic thoughts and set the tone for our meetings. These board reports remain a strategic reference material for the Board and management to stay the course. Dr. Orjiako’s other achievements as the Chairman of Seplat include but are not limited to: He pursued an appropriate pricing framework for Domestic gas in Nigeria to drive Seplat’s gas commercialization, which led to our midstream business, starting with our flagship Oben gas plant; The acquisition of Chevron assets with operatorship provided Seplat with the opportunity for the ANOH project.

“Evidently, we all have good reasons to be proud to be a part of this outstandingly successful corporate story out of Nigeria, under the leadership of Dr. ABC Orjiako. He led the way in developing the company’s strategic vision, from which the Board and management derived their bearing in creating the solid foundation that Seplat now has.  Therefore, as Dr. ABC Orjiako retires from the Board of Seplat Energy today, ladies and gentlemen, it is with a great sense of pride and gratitude that I thank him for providing Seplat with the strategic vision. It formed the bedrock of the Seplat Energy Success story and created immeasurable value for shareholders and other stakeholders alike.  I also wish him the very best in all his future endeavours and many more of God’s blessings,” Omiyi said.