The five-year-old legal battle between the Ondo State Government and Okitipupa Oil Palm PLC ( OOP. plc) has ended after the intervention of the State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN.
Rising from a meeting in Akure,the Ondo State capital, the two critical stakeholders in the company agreed to drop all litigations in the best interest of reviving the fortunes of the oil palm company, which is the second largest in Nigeria.
In a joint press briefing addressed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Dr (Mrs) Modupe Eshofonie and the Managing Director of Estaport Farms, Mr. Adewale Osomo, who represented other shareholders of Okikipupa Oil Palm, the two parties said with the new arrangement, the oil plantation was on the threshold of regaining its lost glory of providing and becoming economic hub of employment and revenue generations for the state.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Dr (Mrs) Modupe Eshofonie said the State Government agreed that it would no longer interfere with the management of the Okitipupa Oil Palm Plc to enhance its efficiency and optimal performance.
According to Dr. Esofone, the directors of the company have decided to withdraw the case instituted against the company and settle all agitations out of court in the interest of the people.
She also said that the representatives of government among the directors would henceforth be technocrats who know the art of business management rather than appointing those whose appointments are politically motivated.
The Permanent Secretary said that directors who were politicians in the past never called for Board or Annual General Meetings, while dividends were not declared, a development which made the investments of government in the company not to worth more than a piece of paper.
“The company which was the pride of the state before is now a shadow of itself, ” she said.
The Managing Director of Estaport Farms Mr. Adewale Osomo said under the new arrangement, experts would be recruited while competent directors would be appointed and the position of a Managing Director advertised to get the best for person to run the company.
Mr. Osomo regretted that the company which used to be quoted in the Nigeria Stock of Exchange has now been delisted from the stock market.
He expressed optimism that OOP. plc will bounce back very soon.