Hakeem Belo-Osagie resigns as chairman of troubled Etisalat

Hakeem Belo-Osagie

Chairman of Etisalat Nigeria, Hakeem Belo-Osagie, has resigned his appointment with immediate effect following the restructuring of the telecommunication company.

A statement by the company said Belo-Osagie had planned to leave immediately the banks made the take-over move, but opted to tarry until a road map for the company was finalised.

“The timing of the resignation was strategically delayed till now when stakeholders have agreed a plan and comes more than a week after Mubadala Development Company directors tendered their resignation,” the statement read.

“The development also reflects Belo-Osagie’s deep commitment to protecting the interest of all stakeholders.”

Belo-Osagie was the surviving shareholder in the embattled mobile operator currently embroiled in a $1.2 billion (about N377.4 billion) loan repayment crisis with a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks.

He was the promoter of Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services (EMTS) which controlled 15 per cent of the equity holding of the company.

It is now expected that Etisalat Nigeria under its new shareholding structure will navigate through its current loan repayment challenge with minimum impact.

Over the last several months, Belo-Osagie worked extensively with critical stakeholders to prepare clearly articulated strategies and robust road maps that will mitigate the impact of the new shareholding restructuring and realignment on the operations and management of the fourth largest telecoms player in Nigeria.

With this development, the new board will assume control of Etisalat.

This is coming following interventions, which have been roundly applauded, from regulatory agencies, including the Nigeria Communications commission (NCC) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other stakeholders to ensure that the best decisions are taken in the interest of the subscribers, employees and the Nigerian economy.

Further announcements on the composition of the new board are expected from the stakeholders.

Belo-Osagie used the connection of his father who was gynaecologist to the family of former military President Ibrahim Babangida to secure a job as a special assistant to the presidential adviser on petroleum and energy and later as special assistant to the minister of petroleum and energy.

Those positions put him in a position to close on a few oil deals from where he made his first fortune.