It is common sense that a man adorning white regalia should desist from misbehaving around red oil lest he leaves the scene with blemished attire. Amazingly, the red oil makes more impact on a white cloth than any other colour, and it is always easily visible to everyone. This is why it is only commonsensical for the man adorning a beautiful white garment to avoid red oil at all cost and protect himself from being soiled because the attention and the immediate embarrassment it causes cannot be quantified. The protracted crisis that has overwhelmed the public image of Oando Nigeria Plc is obviously red oil that every individual clothed in white garment should abstain from lest the individual becomes stained. Some things are just too sensitive and convoluted for respected public officials to fiddle with, especially when such interference is not for the right reason.
In spite of the pains and anguish Nigerians had to bear while the recession lasted, Kemi Adeosun, the Minister of Finance who is largely responsible for the performance of the economy, managed to maintain a public image free of protest. Apart from a momentary call for her resignation in some quarters, which was more popular in the social media space, she was essentially allowed to focus on her job. Nevertheless, it may be important to add that her performance as the Minister of Finance has not necessarily earned the public applause that may have been accorded her predecessor hence one could say she has only been a beneficiary of some sort of freely conferred public goodwill. Unfortunately Kemi Adeosun seems to have thrown away all the goodwill she enjoyed by suspending Mounir Gwaro; she has knowingly walked into the Oando red oil, and her white adornment is now an attention-grabbing stained garment. Available facts which have not been refuted by the Minister point to complicity and a deliberate attempt to interfere with the forensic audit of Oando Nigeria Plc. In actual fact, it is questionable and disrespectful that the Minister took one week to formally respond to the damning allegations against her person. Keeping silent in this situation is a sign of disrespect for the Nigerian people to whom she is ultimately responsible. Her silence completely eroded any benefit of doubt that may have been attributed to the news at the initial stage. Hence it is not a surprise that shareholders are calling for her resignation.
The crisis currently facing Oando Nigeria Plc has generated enormous interest across different segment of the business sphere both locally and internationally. Beyond the shareholders who have relentlessly pushed for an investigation into the affairs of the company, stakeholders in the capital market are keenly interested in how the debacle is finally resolved. This is not the first time the Nigerian capital market is faced with this manner of corporate governance issues but this will be the first time in recent years the market would be faced with an issue characterised by so much drama. It is obvious that the management of Oando Nigeria Plc would explore every available means to frustrate the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from using the big stick. This disposition of war against the regulator by Oando Nigeria Plc clearly pitches the company against other heavily interested stakeholders. It is now a tripartite war between Oando Nigeria Plc, shareholders, the regulator with other stakeholders in the capital market gazing as spectators. It is a war that does not allow for any individual no matter how highly placed to interfere. For SEC, it is a battle to sanitise the capital and restore investors’ confidence. For the shareholders of Oando, it is a battle to salvage what is left of their investment from the alleged mismanagement by the Wale Tinubu-led management. Whatever the motives for Wale Tinubu are, he seems to be on the losing side of the war. This explains why shareholders are calling for the resignation of Kemi Adeosun because her interference clearly suggests that she has joined forces with Wale Tinubu, which automatically makes her the enemy of the company’s shareholders.
It is commendable that the House of Representatives has directed its committee on capital market to probe Gwarzo’s suspension and submit a report in two weeks. It is our hope that the probe by the legislators would unravel the mysteries in this whole scandalous drama. It will also be helpful to see the defence from the Minister in the midst of the damning letter written by the suspended SEC DG. Going forward we need to embrace a culture that ascribes infamy to unwholesome practices such as this. In saner climes, the Minister would have resigned her position before shareholders are compelled to call for her resignation. The Minister has only remained in office because our culture encourages people to walk around in spite the stains they carry. What would be best for the Minister now is to take time off her duty and attend to her stained image with the hope that the once pure garment would become unalloyed again. The call by shareholders for her to go is perfectly appropriate; Kemi Adeosun should gracefully resign now.
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