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When businessman and investor, Femi Otedola and his company, Zenon Petroleum and Gas reached an agreement with AbdulWasiu Sowami and his company, Prudent Energy, for the purchase of 74 per cent share capital in Forte Oil Plc in 2019, little did Otedola know that four years after, he would have no choice but to battle Sowami for full payment of the cash equivalent of the shares.

Otedola sold the shares of Forte oil for $200 million at the time. The deal was structured in such a way that the Ogun State-born Sowami would pay the money in tranches, instead of paying it in full. With that landmark transaction, Sowami became the owner of Forte Oil, which was later renamed Ardova.

However, Sowami who had been paying, stopped payment this year. The balance of the payment due to Otedola currently stands at $6 million and despite the debt and not yet completing payment, Sowami went ahead to buy a competitor, Enyo retail and supply with about 95 retail stations all over the country.

With the current state of the economy, not wanting to lose out of the bidding process for the five National Integrated Power Projects (his energy company, Amperion Power Distribution Company, the parent company of the Gerugu Power Station, is among the 16 energy companies listed by the Public Bureau of Public Enterprises qualified for the bidding) and also not wanting to risk the sale of his First Bank shares, in a bid to retain dominance in the banking sector, there is no denying that Otedola is in dire need of money.

Ironically, one of Sowami’s companies, Ardova PLC is also among the 16 lucky winners that will bid for the power assets. Tired of serving demand letters to Sowami to pay up his debt, which is long overdue, Otedola approached the court over Sowami’s inability to pay his debt. Whether Otedola will have an upper hand in the unfolding drama remains to be seen. Ardova Plc itself, formerly Forte Oil, has not been without its own fair share of challenges.

Last month the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) lifted a suspension placed on trading in the shares of the company for failing to file their Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2021. But after the company filed its Audited Financial Statements and Unaudited Financial Statements for the quarter ended 31 March 2022, in compliance with all applicable rules of NGX, the trading house lifted the suspension.

Also, the company suffered some losses from its subsidiaries, Axles and Cartage, and the newly acquired Enyo Retail and Supply Limited, leading to a group net loss position of N3.8 billion.

Unlike Femi who is well known publicly, Sowami likes to operate in the background and abhors the spotlight. Himself and Otedola are alike when it comes to philanthropy. Sowami established the Abdul-Lateef & Sanni Foundation to build schools and provide scholarships to indigent students. He holds an M.Sc. in Corporate Governance from Leeds Beckett University, England and a B.Sc. in Sociology from the University of Maiduguri. He is a member of the Institute of Directors, Nigeria.

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Zenith Bank Refunds N3.23m To Angry Customer Chiamaka Agim

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A leading Nigerian commercial bank, Zenith Bank has returned N3.23 million to Chiamaka Agim, a Lagos State resident whose N4.039 million was erroneously deducted on January 9.

 

According to reports, Zenith Bank had previously informed Agim that she would only receive N800,500 of the N4,039,900 that had been debited.

 

But on Monday, January 16, in the evening, the bank sent back N3,239,400.

 

Recently, the Zenith Bank client shared a post about the refund on her Twitter page.

 

 

Agim reported that on that Monday, the bank contacted her to provide an update on the refunded money.

 

“After the event, they had to put my account on pause, so I didn’t get any alerts,” the user said. I was told to visit the bank the next day,” she recalled.

 

“They had credited my account with N3,239,400 around 7.30 pm on Monday,” the customer said. “My account statement was printed when I got to the bank.”

 

She claimed to have discovered that Access, one of the two banks to which the funds were transferred, still held the remaining N800,500.

 

Zenith Bank stated that Access Bank is now withholding the funds and that it is not their fault at this time. They said Access Bank stated that the funds would not be released without a court order.

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UBA Appoints Abiola Bawuah CEO,UBA Africa

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The Board of Directors of the United Bank for Africa Plc has announced the appointment of Mrs. Abiola Bawuah, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UBA Africa.

 

According to a statement y the bank, Bawuah will also join the Group Board as an Executive Director, overseeing the Group’s operations across the African continent, outside Nigeria.

 

Bawuah, a Ghanaian national, is the first female CEO of UBA Africa.

 

Prior to her appointment, she was Regional CEO, West Africa, supervising the Group’s operations in nine subsidiaries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. She previously held the role of CEO, UBA Ghana.

 

Speaking on the new appointment, the Group Board Chairman, Mr Tony O. Elumelu, said, “Abiola has contributed significantly to the growth of UBA Africa for close to a decade. She brings a wealth of experience in commercial banking, and stakeholder engagement. It also gives me great pleasure that with her appointment, the UBA Group Board has now become a majority female board.”

 

The UBA Group also announced other appointments.

 

Chris Ofikulu was appointed the Regional CEO of UBA West Africa.

 

A statement by the bank said Ofikulu has over two decades of banking experience spanning corporate, commercial, and retail banking.

 

Similarly, Uzoechina Molokwu was appointed as Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of UBA Ghana, subject to local regulatory approvals. He was previously the Executive Director, Business Development – UBA Côte d’Ivoire and has over 23 years banking experience.

 

Ayokunle Olajubu was also announced as the Managing Director/CEO UBA Liberia, subject to local regulatory approvals. He currently drives compliance across Africa subsidiaries and comes with 30 years banking experience in Nigeria and other African countries, including Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire and the Gambia.

 

Other appointments include that of Theresa Henshaw who was appointed as CEO of UBA UK, subject to local regulatory approvals. She was previously the DMD, Business Development, UBA America and joined the Group as ED, Business Development at UBA UK.

 

Usman Isiaka, currently CEO, UBA Sierra Leone, has also been appointed the Deputy CEO in UBA America, subject to local regulatory approvals.

 

Adeyemi Adeleke, the former CEO of UBA, UK is now the Group Treasurer. Adeleke will be working to unlock the immense value in the Group’s multi-jurisdictional balance sheet, leveraging on its presence in 24 countries within and beyond Africa.

 

In addition to the executive appointments, UBA has announced the retirement of High Chief Samuel Oni, an independent non-executive Director, from the board following the expiration of his tenure. He joined the UBA Group in January 2015 and served on the Board of the Group for eight years.

 

The Group Chairman, Mr Elumelu, expressed his appreciation to High Chief Oni, for his commitment, leadership and extensive contributions to the UBA Group and on behalf of the Board, wishes him the very best in all his future endeavours.

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