Friday, 26 April 2019
What may have been intended as a PR masterstroke to buy public sympathy for the embattled Tony Okoroji appears to have fatally backfired.
Insiders irked by the brazen attempt to foist falsehood and demonize one of six directors who had moved to halt the rot and protect the funds of right owners from mindless plundering by Okoroji have been forced to break their silence.
A former director who served on the interim board of COSON at inception pleading anonymity, stated how surprised he was that Okoroji didn't move to request that the story be pulled down before it was circulated if by chance he had no fore-knowledge of its publication.
"I'm a bit surprised. I would have thought Okoroji was a more strategic thinker than this. For anyone to go after Efe Omorogbe with stories of loans they neither said were illegally collected nor remained unpaid is more of a move against Okoroji than Omorogbe. You see, the first problem we had during my time on the board was a row over a loan Okoroji collected in 2007 that remained unpaid until 2011. Each attempt to get him to repay the loan was met with unapologetic reluctance that offended and embarrassed the directors who approved the loan. If my memory serves me right, it was the same Efe Omorogbe who led the plea that more time should be given to Okoroji to repay and eventually offered to personally pay off the loan to ease the tension and stabilise the board.
A lot of the attacks Tony Okoroji would later launch against then finance committee members even after their exit from the board stemmed from their insistence that the debt owed by Okoroji must be repaid to COSON and not written off as he had expected."
Another close associate of Efe Omorogbe who was actively involved during the early years of the Association of Music Business Professionals (AM.B-Pro) quipped; "Uzor and his sources have unwittingly initiated a PR suicide for Okoroji. Mr. Integrity? Mr. VERY DISCIPLINED and FOCUSED? For where? Okoroji's debt was almost five years old. N850,000.00 when the naira had far more value. Efe paid N300,000.00 from his pocket to spare Okoroji's blushes and keep the ship on course so that the board can focus on tackling the users instead of endless in-fighting caused by Okoroji's indebtedness and recalcitrance.
Sunny Neji, Charlimo, Onyeka Onwenu, Joel Ajayi, Ben Ofoeze, Laolu Akins, Toju Ejueyitchie, John Uduegbunam, Victor Uwaifo, Obi Asika, none of them can say they didn't know about it. Not one. Anybody that denies knowledge is a blatant liar. Ask them.
In fact, what they may not know was that Efe discontinued paying the loan when he discovered that Okoroji collected a handsome sum of money from COSON for some PSAs, documentary or magazine he produced and insisted on getting paid for even though there was no prior bid, negotiation or approval. After collecting the money, Okoroji refused to service the debt. Not with even N100,000.00. Efe felt his generosity and kindness were being taken for stupidity so he discontinued paying Okoroji's long term, interest-free loan. This was also the genesis of a regular self-awarded contracts and questionable commissions Okoroji would continue to use to plunder the COSON accounts until the ill-fated COSON House contract award and contractor payment fiasco led to his sack as chairman.
These clowns saying their Mr. Integrity has never taken one penny of COSON money should wait until the audit is done. Even dem go shock when dem go see how much of COSON money don enter Okoroji and TOPS account.
Why you think say baba dey dodge forensic audit like SARS bullet? Why is it that it appears he'd rather contend with the regulator and force them to revoke COSON's operating licence than submit to an audit to validate his claim of being above board?" he queried.
The story published by Uzor Chikere's beats-onit.com, the subject of a looming lawsuit against the journalist was mischievously scripted to portray Okoroji as a victim of vicious persecution by Efe Omorogbe because of his (Okoroji's) refusal to allow Efe "turn COSON into his personal piggy bank".
The blog and its sources would go on to claim to have exposed the real motive behind Efe's "desperate bid" for the COSON chairmanship and the reason behind his insincere and self-serving call for forensic audit.
Before news about the letter from Efe's lawyers broke out, Rhiemen Omorogbe, Efe's brother and business partner had posted five questions (which have remained unanswered by Okoroji's cheer leaders as it the time of writing this piece) thus:
1. COSON audited accounts have often had "Other Loans" line item listed suggesting that loans have been granted and duly reported. Have all of these loans been granted to just Efe Omorogbe? If not, who are the others? Did they like Efe, pay back? If yes, within what time frame did they pay back?
2.Is there evidence of loan requests from Efe that were turned down by the board or finance committee? Were these alleged repeated requests made privately to Okoroji? Does Tony Okoroji have the sole right to approve and grant loan requests?
3. If a VERY DISCIPLINED and FOCUSED Tony Okoroji repeatedly tolerated and allowed Efe’s “excesses”, what does this say about his touted disciplinary credentials? If the reason for tolerating Efe's excesses is due to Okoroji's soft spot for Efe, how many other directors/members does he have soft spots for and how many did he "spoil" with unilaterally loans from COSON accounts?
4. Efe, whose companies run big projects and service major brands across Nigeria is being accused of desperation to be COSON chair while he is repeadly stating that he'll take a forensic audit over the chairmanship any day;
Okoroji whose personal business, TOPS has been alleged to have operated for years unethically servicing COSON as its major or maybe even sole client (within some financial years), has fought tooth and nail to avoid a forensic audit;
Between these two, whose past, present and future appear dependent on COSON chairmanship?
5. As suspiciously skewed as this "Chikere-leaks" bombshell is, doesn't it make it ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY for the FORENSIC AUDIT to happen right away and expose all of Efe Omorogbe's, and maybe, Tony Okoroji's hanky-panky once and for all?
Click here to view emails and letter exchange.