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AbdulWasiu Sowami: Just Another Businessman After All





Many had barely heard of the name AbdulWasiu Sowami when he bought over the majority shares of Forte Oil a few years ago.


With his audacious acquisition of the company emerged information that he was the brain behind Prudent Energy & Services Limited. The young businessman came out of the blues to razzmatazz a lot of businessmen and indeed oil and gas stakeholders with his acquisition of the largest stake in Femi Otedola’s biggest success story, Forte Oil.


As such, his ownership of Forte Oil was not without a lot of compliments and encomium. Sowami was tagged Harry Houdini with a magic wand, but has he been worthy of that tag since he took over the business?


The poser becomes pertinent with the $6M debt that is presently pulling down the dark-complexioned and bespectacled Sowami and his company, Ardova Plc.


The basic fact is that Ardova Plc and Sowami are sinking ships, as bankruptcy stares them in the face. All the showers of praises poured on Sowami when he acquired Forte Oil has simply disappeared, making the man a typical businessman, just another one.


His inability to pay up his debt has seen Zenon Petroleum & Gas Limited serving a winding-up petition against Prudent Energy & Services Limited. The suit instituted at the Federal High Court, Lagos is with suit number FHC/L/CP/1450/2022. Sowami is also being trailed by allegations of financial mismanagement.


Sowami and Ardova Plc’s indebtedness to Otedola originates from Zenon Petroleum & Gas Limited‘s sales of 74.02 per cent of the issued share capital of Forte Oil to Sowami’s Ignite Investment and Commodities.


In the sales contract, Prudent Energy and Services Limited and Sowami provided a guarantee in favour of Zenon Petroleum & Gas Limited for the prompt payment of a deferred payment for the sales of the shares when due.


Shockingly, the said amount pegged at $6M and described as part of the payment deferred has been due for payment by Sowami and his company since 18th June 2022. Interestingly, despite letters of demand written to Prudent Energy & Services Limited, the debt remains unpaid.


Ardova Plc hardly witnessed a positive business year with the company initially reluctant to file its 2021 audited financial statement at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) before the deadline. The situation saw the NGX technically suspending trading in the company’s shares before lifting the restriction on July 7, after the statement was filed.


The audited financial statement published by Ardova Plc showed a loss of N3.8 billion for the year ended December 2021. The report was a contrast to the N1.8 billion profit it recorded in the previous year. The situation with Ardova Plc has thus raised questions about Sowami’s management skills.

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