Ondo government hands off running of Okitipupa oil palm company
•Largest shareholder, Osomo, takes over
Reprieve has come the way of the Okitipupa Oil Palm Plc (OOPC) in Ondo State, as Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s administration has relinquished the over five years hold on the firm by his immediate predecessor.
Akeredolu pledged that his government would not interfere in the running of the ailing firm, which used to rank among the successful in the country and where former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Unilevers then had substantial shares before it plunged, “due to government interference.”
The governor who announced the handing off at a meeting he held in Akure with the firm’s majority shareholder; EasterPot, led by its chairperson and former Minister of Housing and Urban Planning, Mrs. Mobolaji Osomo, promised to send technocrats, not politicians, to the board of OOPC which he directed should be constituted immediately.
The decision not to send politicians to the board, according to the governor, underscored the priority his administration accords agriculture as an inexhaustible source of huge income for the state and as the ultimate solution to unemployment problem.
The meeting was also attended by the Deputy Governor Popoola Ajayi, Secretary to the State Government, Head of Service, representatives of ministries of Agriculture and Commerce, and the governor’s senior special assistant on investment.
Osomo who turned 81 on June 23, and a former Commerce Commissioner, thanked Akeredolu for what she described as ‘the priceless birthday gift after my heart, which is the return of OOPC to its rightful custodian’.
In a statement, Wale Osomo, who was the chairman of the Board before it was truncated by the government, painted a gloomy picture of the company, but pledged to revive it within100 days. He promised to return the firm to the Stock Exchange within the same period, adding that there would be need to inject about N5 billion into it. He hinted of plans to partner with the Bank of Industries and reputable investors in this regard. EasterPot with 35 percent share, is the largest shareholder in OOPC, followed by the state government which has 29 percent share.