A popular social media influencer, Japhet Omojuwa, has backtracked on his statement dissociating a former Nigeria’s Education Minister as one of Alpha Reach Limited co-owners.
A BuzzFeed had reported that employees of the PR company run by Mr Omojuwa got paid to promote a social media campaign for the release of a detained Venezualan diplomat, Alex Saab, in Cape Verde.
In his April 9, 2021 statement on the matter, Mr Omojuwa maintained that “Alpha Reach, as an organisation, was not involved in the campaign making the rounds,” even as he added that that Mrs Ezekwesili had never been a part-owner of the firm.
“On another note, Alpha Reach wishes to state that at no time was Dr. Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili a part-owner of Alpha Reach, and she is not a member of the Alpha Reach board. This clarification is necessary because of insinuations being made that she is/was a co-owner of Alpha Reach. Thank you,” Mr Omojuwa had written.
Ms Ezekwezili, in reaction to the situation, had threatened to sue the social media influencer for an unauthorised use of her name as a director of the company without her consent.
The former minister had, through Femi Falana’s law firm, written to Mr Omojuwa, claiming that she was shocked to learn of her status as a director of the company when contacted by BuzzFeed.
He denied her involvement in the company, although PREMIUM TIMES’ check with NG-Check.com, a platform that provides information on Nigerian companies, listed her alongside the Governor of Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai, as parts of the company’s directors.
On that basis, Mrs Ezekwezili demanded, through her lawyers, an apology and full disclosure of the records of Alpha Reach, from Mr Omojuwa.
Many Nigerians had bid the then hot debate farewell until Wednesday when Mr Omojuwa shared via his Twitter handle his reply to Mrs Ezekwezili ‘s lawyers walking back his claim that the former minister was never a part-owner of his firm.
In the four-page letter dated April 14, 2021 ,which was written on his behalf by a law firm, Babalakin & Co, Mr Omojuwa said the former education minister was a director of the firm and that her consent was sought and obtained before listing her as one of the company’s directors in 2012.
“The company was indeed registered in 2012; our client however unequivocally denies your allegations that consent of your client was not sought before she was listed as a Director. Our client sought and obtained your client’s consent before listing her as a Director of the company, based on their close relationship, which you curiously omitted to mention in your letter,” the reply read in part.
Mr Omojuwa did not indicate if Mrs Ezekwesili signed any document to be made a director of the company, but went on to dwell on what he described as his “basis upon which our client sought and obtained your client’s consent.”
“In the interest of completeness and the full disclosure that you requested in your letter, we have set below the basis upon which our client sought and obtained your client’s consent to be listed as a Director of the company to begin with,” stated in the letter addressed to Falana & Falana’s Chambers.
Mr Omojuwa’s legal team also chronicled how the relationship between the duo went south as a result of the alleged refusal of the latter to play by his former benefactor’s playbook on and off social media.
“In addition, there are correspondences between both parties (on various platforms, including Yahoo.com, Aol.com, WorldBank.org, iCloud.com,
gmail.com, BlackBerry chats, WhatsApp chats, and Twitter Direct Messages) that demonstrate the extent and strength of their relationship in the period leading to and after the registration of the company. For instance, on:
“April 6, 2012 at 21:23, your client sent a message to our client stating as follows: “pull in your brother(s), Chine and Chuba [her biological sons] into what you do from now.” She made similar comments on 6 October 2012,” his legal team said, expressing its willingness to share documents connecting Mrs Ezekwezili to the company.
Mr Omojuwa, however, said he would not share the records of the company requested by Mrs Ezekwesili’s lawyers until she signed an undertaking not to make them public.
He ,rather, through his lawyers, threatened to use every information at his disposal on the subject to defend himself against Mrs Ezekwezili in the future.
Process of registration
PREMIUM TIMES’ attempts to hear from Mr Omojuwa to ask him about the company’s incorporation documents were futile as he declined to answer the questions on the registration of the controversial PR firm “for legal reasons.”
However, this reporter’s scan through Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) companies registration requirements in Nigeria shows that there is the need for means of identification of directors, subscribers and even stakeholders for inspection by the commission.
“It is a legal issue and I don’t think my lawyer would advise I grant any interview on this subject,” Mr Omojuwa said before cutting off this reporter.
He ignored this reporter’s call after the first call.
Several calls made to Mrs Ezekwezili popular line were dropped by her network provider.
She has not responded to a message sent to her by this reporter on the subject as at the time of filing this report.
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