The legal battle between two chief executive officers of Oando Plc and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) before the Federal High Court, Lagos witnessed a series of drama as both parties tried to outsmart each other’s applications.
SEC in its bid to uphold its verdict of May 31, which ordered Oando’s Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Mr Adewale Tinubu, and his deputy, Mr Omamofe Boyo and other board members to resign over alleged infractions have opposed applications filed by the firm to be joined as a party in the suit instituted against the commission.
Tinubu and Boyo had dragged SEC before the court over alleged breach of their fundamental rights.
Apart from SEC’s pronouncement on May 31, on June 2, it further announced that it had set up an interim management team to be headed by Mr Mutiu Sunmonu, to oversee the affairs of the company and conduct an extraordinary general meeting on or before July 1.
It said that the new board of directors would subsequently select a management team for Oando Plc.
Dissatisfied with the development, Tinubu and Boyo raised concerns that the alleged infractions and penalties were unsubstantiated, ultra vires, invalid and calculated to prejudice the business of the company.
They consequently approached the court by way of an ex parte application on June 3, seeking an interim order restraining SEC from giving effect to its decision.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun on same June 3, granted the interim orders.
The court restrained SEC, its servants or agents from taking any step concerning the commission’s letter dated May 31 in which it barred the applicants from being directors.
The court also restrained Sunmonu from acting as head of Oando’s interim management team, pending the hearing and determination of the motion.
The court had urged parties to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the motion on notice.
The main suit was consequently assigned to Justice Ayotunde Faji, who on June 13, fixed hearing for June 24.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, Mr Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) appeared for the applicants, while Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN) appeared for SEC.
Meanwhile, Mr Yele Delano (SAN) announced appearance for Oando and expressed the company’s intention to be joined in the suit as well as seek consolidation of similar suits pending before the court.
He also sought an adjournment to enable him to file his processes in the suit.
In response, counsel to SEC (Idigbe) raised opposition to their request for joinder, on the grounds that it would predetermine the respondent’s case.
He argued that the issue of consolidation of the cases was meant to accelerate the matter rather than taking it backwards.
He argued that where the court allows the joinder, it would have predetermined the case of the defence and therefore urged the court to refuse the application.
On his part, Oyetibo argued in favour of the request for joinder and urged the court to allow the party seeking to be joined in the suit.
According to him, if the court refused the application for joinder, and the party goes on appeal, then he, the applicant, would be affected.
He therefore, urged the court to take a favourable look at the application for joinder, so that progress can be made in the suit.
In a bench ruling, the court held that it was far-reaching to think that the grant of an adjournment to enable a party file a motion, would be considered prejudicial to the defence
On that note, the court adjourned the case until July 4 to hear arguments on the motion for consolidation and also fixed July 22 for hearing of the substantive suit.