Controversial businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim, has announced the removal of the founding editors of Newswatch – Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese, Yakubu Mohammed and Soji Akinrinade – from the Board of Directors of the company.
Mr. Ibrahim said in a statement Mr. Ekpu and his colleagues were no longer eligible to sit on the board of the company following the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) they signed when they conceded majority stake in the company to him..
The statement, which put the collective share held by the four journalists at 6.1 per cent, said by law, an individual must hold a minimum of 10 per cent of a company’s total share to be eligible to sit on its board.
“They are knowledgeable and old enough to know the implication of the documents they signed and as such cannot eat their cake and have it,” Mr. Ibrahim said.
Mr. Ibrahim said having voluntarily retired from the company with their benefits paid in full, Mr. Ekpu and his colleagues could only be allowed to sit on the company’s board if they are able to purchase more of the firm’s unalloted shares.
Mr. Ibrahim had on August 7 announced the suspension of the nearly three-decade old magazine for “corporate surgery”.
But Mr. Ekpu and his colleagues immediately stood up to the businessman, threatening to wrest control of the company from him.
They accused Mr. Ibrahim of having violated the terms of his majority shareholding, and signaled they might seek to wrest control of the magazine from the businessman.
They said the decision was never discussed at the company’s board meeting, and that they were shocked to read about it in the news media.
“These decisions break the spirit and letter of the understanding and agreement we had with Mr. Ibrahim concerning the future of our beloved Newswatch,” a statement signed by Messrs Ekpu, Agbese, Mohammed and Akinrinade, said. “We believe the decisions to be illegal and clearly counter-productive.”
They called for a reversal of the decisions and said they were “consulting the other stakeholders on the next steps to take to ensure Newswatch is not destroyed.”
The effrontery of the paper’s founding directors irked Mr. Ibrahim deeply, making him to go for their jugular.