By Itohan Abara-Laserian
A group, Ikale Vanguard for Peace and Justice, has frowned at calls on Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo to sack the Managing Director of Okitipupa Oil Palm (OOP) Plc, Taiwo Adewole, for fraud allegations.
The group made its position known in a statement issued by its National Chairman, Dr Ademola Aiyekomogbon.
The statement was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
According to the group, the calls can distract the new governor and cause violence or setback in the state.
It said that it was wrong to agitate for the removal of Adewole based on allegations and implying that he hailed from Owo, where the late and immediate past Governor of the state, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), came from.
“We also condemn a similar call on the governor by a Canada-based indigine,” he said.
According to the group, the Canada-based Ondo indigene wants Adewole removed from office and replaced with an Ondo indigene of Ikale extraction.
“Such a move is capable of provoking avoidable ethnic violence in the state,” it stated.
The group said that it perceived the calls as reprehensible, illegal, illogical and unjust against the fact that the company was not owned by the Ikale nation although it was sited there.
He said that the company was owned by Nigerians, while Ondo State was only a shareholder.
The group claimed that the calls for Adewole’s removal were as a result of some policies he introduced to revamp the firm and rescue it from those who illegally harvested its palm fruits for decades.
“We are not opposed to promoting transparency and accountability at OOP when it arises from genuine and an unbiased incident but this is not the case in this matter.“The call is malicious, strange, mischievous and misleading as it did not make reference to any particular case of stealing, fraud or missing funds in the company or any allegation by its Board of Directors.
“Adewole ought to be celebrated and honoured for his managerial ingenuity in rescuing the company from the jaw of death and for taking the firm from the mud of indebtedness to its current financial viability, holding AGM after 20 years and paying dividends after 26 years,” it submitted.
It urged the governor to disregard the calls and do his best to develop the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that OOP recently issued a statement on its website, debunking any allegations of fraud.
According to the company, it is governed by the code of corporate governance, regulations of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Securities and Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the resolutions of its shareholders at its annual general meetings.
NAN also reports that a group, Ondo Redemption Front, had on Jan. 4, called on Aiyedatiwa to probe alleged financial irregularities at OOP. (NAN)
Edited by Ijeoma Popoola