August 16, 2022

Reporters’ Diary

Factual Reportage

EKO Hospital shareholders protest exclusion from AGM

Some shareholders of EkoCorps Plc, owners of Eko Hospital, staged a peaceful protest over disenfranchisement of stakeholders and founders from participating in its Extra-Ordinary General Meeting (EGM)

The shareholders staged the protest at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, venue of the EGM.

The protesting shareholders stormed the venue with placards with several inscriptions like; ‘Eneli, Kuku, Obiora Legacy Must Stand’ among others.

The battle for ownership of the Eko Hospital had been ongoing with the board of directors and management fighting to take possession of the company.

Mr Oladimeji Adeleke, a shareholder and representative of the Dedicated Shareholders Association of Nigeria, described the EGM as a show of shame, noting that the main shareholders were disenfranchised from participating in the meeting.

Adeleke noted that 14.5 per cent shareholding of late Dr Alex Eneli, one of the founding fathers of EkoCorps and his Estate, were deliberately prevented from participating in the voting on the legality or otherwise of the 110 million private placement.

According to him, if majority of shareholders, especially those belonging to late Alex Eneli were not disenfranchised of their voting rights, the outcome of the EGM would have been different.

He said: “Today’s EGM is not a meeting but coup against Nigerian shareholders. We can see that the meeting has been stage managed to favour some board of directors.

“This is a big slap on Nigerians’ face, it shows that the board and management of EkoCorps have taken us for a ride. It is a daylight robbery.

”We can see that there is a board crisis. The full directors are not present either by person, proxy or virtual. We can see that some founding members of the company are not also present.

“We can see that some set of people want to hijack what they didn’t work for and want to take over the company from the real owners. We are here to make our intention known in a peaceful protest.

“As shareholders, we were not allowed into the EGM on the ground that the meeting is for selected people and that our names were not on the registered list.

”I believe our regulator should look into this and do the needful so that justice will prevail.”

Mrs Efunyemi Ibideyi, another shareholder and National Coordinator, Ark of God Shareholders Association, said that their deliberate disenfranchisement from the meeting was a denial of their rights.

” I have never seen this type of AGM before. We want our regulators to please look into this. It is like the board of directors are hiding something. Eko Hospital is dying because of the crises among the board of directors.

“The crisis is really affecting our investment. This meeting is illegal. This meeting cannot stand and all resolutions is null and void,” Ibideyi said.

He urged the relevant regulators to wake up, saying “We want the regulator to help save the masses who invested in the company and those the hospital should be serving.”

Another shareholder, Mr Taiwo Bamgbose, said that it was not right to sideline any stakeholder if the crisis rocking the firm would be solved.

Bamgbose urged the Nigeria Securities amd Exchange Commission and other regulators of the stock market to persuade the board of directors at the helm of affairs to follow due process.

Meanwhile, the family of the late Eneli, had written to GTL Registrars and Data Solutions Limited, demanding for registration as holders of the shares of deceased.

In the letter sighted by newsmen, the family stated that the company had for long taken due notice of the transmission of the shares in consequence of which one Uzochukwu Eneli was appointed director since 2018, in the place of the late father.

The letter said that the family accused some board members of frustrating the exercise of the voting rights of their late father’s shares to rig the voting in the EGM in favour of one Geoff Ohen Ltd.

The family in the letter said that such step was to falsely give Geoff Ohen Ltd. 110 million shares that the courts had since annulled.

Also, the family in a notice published in Guardian newspaper of Thursday June 3, notified the public that the company’s shareholding were bedevilled with several litigations.

The letter urged members and shareholders to dissociate from participating in the meeting.

Recall that the Court ordered EGM to resolve the crisis facing the management and board members especially the legality or otherwise of the 110million private placement which had been causing the crisis in the company.

Efforts to speak with EkoCorps officials at the meeting was rebuffed by security guards who preventer nonmembers from entering the meeting venue.