Edmark Nigeria in 2023 had no business, with 5% of shareholders controlling most shares.
When will I get one of my three favorite natural toothpastes to buy? I learned to not trust many natural toothpastes that are formulated with poisnous substances when some of them tormented my mouth, teeth, and gums! When will one of my two favorite chlorophyll drinks return to the market? By last weekend, I still had no answers to these questions. The economy has pushed prices up, no doubt, and many nutritional supplements and natural products have also become scarce or extinct in the Nigerian market. However, the overheated economy and rocketing prices are not the problems of EDMARK SPLINA TOOTHPASTE, made largely from chlorophyll, and SPLINA LIQUID CHLOROPHYLL, the first liquid chlorophyll in the Nigerian market.
Swords of Damocles have been hanging over them and other nutritional supplements of Edmark International Limited sold in Nigeria since boardroom politics erupted into the open in July 2021 and became the subject of court battles, which have led to businesses shutting down since then.
Mr. Maurice Etim Anthony, a Nigerian, sued Edmark International Limited, claiming the company forged his signature and suppressed his rights as an unpaid five percent minority shareholder to keep him in the dark about what was going on in the company.
From the outside, Edmark appears to be a small company. But within its books, it had grown larger than life from humble beginnings on May 7, 2010, when it registered in Nigeria for business. Hitherto, Nigerian distributors of Edmark’s multilevel marketing nutritional supplements went to Accra, Ghana, to bring them to Nigeria. In those days, Ghana was the first port of call for Asian companies coming to English West Africa because it was relatively freer of corruption and offered an easier environment for doing business.
This arrangement of Ghana being the first port of call for such businesses made Ghanaians the upline of Nigerians, or, better yet, Nigerians, the geese that lay the golden eggs, and Ghanaians, the farmers of the geese and owners of the golden eggs.
Edmark began operations in Malaysia in 1984 as ever-dynamic marketing, which operates in more than 30 countries today.
I knew of Edmark through the SPLINA CHLOROPHYLL drink. A young woman who was an avid reader of this column asked me how she could rid herself of certain health challenges. I gave her some recipes for blood and tissue cleansing and said I could have added liquid chlorophyll but that it was not available in Nigeria. She said it was. I asked her for the evidence. She called a gentleman named Emeka Ononiwu.
He and I spoke. He invited me to lunch the following day with his Ghanaian upline, who was in Lagos. This young woman and I went over, and over lunch, I was shown samples of the SPLINA CHLOROPHYLL drink. I asked the young woman to immediately purchase some.
Thereafter, she joined the group of Nigerians who traveled to Ghana to bring SPLINA CHLOROPHYLL and some other products from Edmark to Nigeria. She was the person who helped Edmark secure its first office in Nigeria on Opebi Road, Ikeja, Lagos. From this humble beginning in a duplex, eEdmark Nigeria grew into a colossus by the time Mr. Maurice Etim Anthony went to court.
A boardroom crisis has destabilized the company since 2021, and a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the business premises of EDMARK INTERNATIONAL LIMITED, the marketers of the products, to be closed.
The quarreling minority and majority shareholders of EDMARK Nigeria returned to court last Monday, after my deadline to submit this article to the editor. However, it is doubtful if EDMARK nutritional supplements will see the light of day in Nigeria before 2023 takes its bow.
A court case under which its Nigerian head offices in Lagos have been under lock and key since July 2022 was still in progress last Monday.
Minority shareholder Maurice Etim Anthony requested the closure, claiming that Edmark Marketing Limited was owing him five percent of the unpaid minority shares.
Arguably, Edmark ranked among the biggest three nutritional medicine providers in Nigeria, rubbing shoulders with Forever Living Products (FLP) and Longrich. Edmark and FLP are neighbors on Aromire Street, a connecting road for Adeniyi Jones Avenue and Obafemi Awolowo Way. FLP, which began business in Awuse Estate, Opebi, Ikeja, Lagos, was the first to arrive on Aromire Avenue, knock down old buildings that it purchased, and build an international-class all-purpose head office. Edmark acquired the next set of properties and did exactly the same. That is where their stories ended in July of that year.
When Mr. Maurice Etim Anthony said he did not know what was going on in the company, he was probably referring to the giant strides that Edmark Nigeria had made.
These strides encompassed giant companies such as Edmark Direct Marketing Limited, Al Mansour Engineering and Contracting Limited, Edmark Direct Holding Limited, and Edmark City Development Limited.
Edmark Nigeria became so successful that it even planned to build a multi-billion-naira smart city in Lagos, similar to those in Dubai, London, and Barcelona. The location was to be on the Lagos-Epe Expressway, starting from the third round about from Lekki Phase One.
It was to be called Edmark City, possibly an answer to a proposed Longrich City by competitor Longrich, which was striving to migrate from its Opebi Road location to its own smart city where businesses would be wired to accept crypto currency for all transactions.
The government of Lagos State supported the Edmark smart city project under its plans to transform Lagos megalopolis into a smart megacity hub. The Edmark Smart City was designed to be Nigeria’s and Africa’s first block-chain-fueled city-driven project.
Contracts for the superstructure, which included piling and above-ground services, were awarded on March 15, 2022, to Al Mansour Engineering and Contracting Limited, whose Chief Executive Officer is Mr. Wael Mansour, and were expected to be delivered in 2024. The award ceremony took place at the podium International Event Centre, 31B Aromire Avenue, off Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, Lagos.
This is a great achievement for a nutritional medicine MLM company and suggests that food supplement nutrition has taken deep root in Nigeria.
Mr. Maurice Etim Anthony told the Federal High Court Judge, Mr. Justice Chukwujekwu J. Aneke, in Lagos that he did not know how decisions of the Board of Directors of Edmark International Limited (Nigeria) were taken. He said he was kept in the dark through a forgery of his signature, which permitted the company, without his knowledge, to appoint other directors with a view to edging him out of the board.
On May 24, 2022, Mr. Justice Chukwujekwu J. Aneke appointed Mr. Seyi Akinwunmi as Receiver/Manager of Edmark, following a request by Mr. Anthony. On the order of the judge, Mr. Akinwunmi, from the insolvency chambers of Akinwunmi and Busari, was to block Edmark Marketing Limited, all Edmark distributors in Nigeria, and all agents of the company from importing Edmark products and selling them. The police and the customs service were ordered to lend him a helping hand. Thus, all Edmark products that were awaiting customs clearance at the ports got stuck there; many of them have expired or are expiring.
At the receiving end of Mr. Maurice Etim Anthony’s suit against Edmark are Mr. Lo Ban Chai, chairman and chief executive of Edmark International Limited, a holding company of Edmark Nigeria; Edmark Direct Marketing, Edmark Direct Holden Limited; and Wapiano Bienviendo, chief operating officer, Edmark Development Company, Nigeria. Jordan Noel Noa.
Mr. Justice Aneke reversed the ex parte ruling five months later, on October 11, 2022, at the request of Edmark Marketing Limited following an agreement on a bank guarantee for the payment of Mr. Anthony’s five percent unpaid shares. Meanwhile, the hearing in the substantive suit continued.
Dissatisfied with the exparte ruling of Mr. Justice Aneke, Edmark CEO Lo Ban Chai petitioned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Mr. Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, claiming bias and requesting the transfer of the suit to another judge.
One of the grounds of the petition was that Mr. Justice Aneke ought not to have appointed the receiver or manager for his company since it was not declared bankrupt or insolvent.
He said the decision impacted Edmark in several ways. One was the abandonment of the multi-billion naira Edmark smart city project. Another was the loss of income by 22,000 independent distributors of Edmark nationwide.
Yet another loss for Edmark was the departure to their various countries of many specialist foreign employees whose work contracts were stalled. Besides, he said Edmark lost money from its branded products, which were stuck at the ports, expired, and attracted port fines or demurrage.
Mr. Justice Daniel Emeka Osiagor took over the case in May 2023. The hearing continued six months later, on May 2, 2023, before Mr. Justice Osiagor. He appointed the Anderson Group as forensic auditors to determine the value of Mr. Anthony’s five percent shares after Edmark and Mr. Anthony agreed he could do so.
There was a mild twist, however, to the arrangement on July 4, 2023, when the hearing resumed before Mr. Justice Osiagor. Edmark counsel, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), objected to Mr. Alade making an appearance for Mr. Seyi Akinwunmi, the receiver/manager. He said the judge had ruled against Mr. Akinwunmi being the receiver or manager. For Mr. Akinwunmi, the ruling of May 2, 2023, was in respect of a “liquidator” and a “receiver/manager”.
As there was no “liquidator” for Edmark, the court corrected itself by substituting the “receiver/manager” for the “liquidator” and saying the error was a minor slip, which it had the power to correct. Mr. Justice Osiagor then ruled that Mr. Akinwunmi hand over Edmark offices to the Anderson Group for a forensic audit. Last Monday, the court was expected to receive a report of the forensic audit.
The Nigerian legal battle between Edmark Marketing Limited and Mr. Maurice Etim Anthony has spread to the United States, where, it was reported, Edmark tried to open an office for business.
Several Nigerian Edmark distributors were reported to have visited the venue to protest that their earnings were unpaid and their work years were wasted. In the prime of Edmark business in Nigeria, some middle-level distributors earn between N350,000 and N650,000 every month.
The top fliers earned millions. Some of them were given Jeeps as car gifts, money to build their own houses, and sponsorships on foreign holidays. Under Edmark business policy, the distributor cannot serve two masters, that is, be an independent distributor for Edmark and another nutritional medicine company at the same time. Some beat the order under cover, and whoever is found out is downgraded, suspended, or stopped from representing the company.
Many of them who complied with the policy have been left prostrate in the quarreling of shareholders, with no earnings for about 17 months. Thus, many have found means of livelihood in other preoccupations, such as dining and winning with Mammon.
Back home in Nigeria, Mr. Justice Osiagor has decided, in favor of Edmark, Mr. Anthony’s claim that his signature was forged to enable the company to appoint other directors without his knowledge, a step he said was taken preparatory to getting him out of the board. According to a report by Unini Chioma, quoted by Google, Mr. Justice Osiagor’s ruling is:
• “A statement that the police’s request to Edmark staff to assist in any investigation activities related to forgery claims is a gross infringement of their fundamental rights and is thus illegal, unconstitutional, null, and void.
• “A declaration that the forensic investigative report obtained by the police on July 18, 2022, is conclusive and binding on the police in relation to any and all charges of the forging of Mr. Etim’s signature in relation to the operations, control, and management of Edmark Direct Marketing Limited.
• “While a forensic investigative report had already been completed, the police were barred from conducting any further inquiry into any and all charges of forgery of Mr. Etim’s signature in relation to the operations, control, and management of Edmark Direct Marketing Limited.
• “In regard to charges of the forging of Mr. Etim’s signature in relation to the operations, control, and management of Edmark Direct Marketing Limited, an order prohibiting the police from compelling Edmark’s staff to attend any meeting, interview, or honor any invitation in any way
Apart from these reliefs, the court awarded Edmark Management N50,000 in general damages”.
Another ruling of Mr. Justice Osiagor was based on the agreement of Mr. Anthony and Edmark to appoint the Anderson Group to comprehensively audit the account of Edmark. This was to help all parties determine the value of Mr. Anthony’s unpaid five percent shares and other claims. The receiver/manager was to vacate Edmark head offices and give the auditors unimpeded access to them starting June 21, 2022.
The ruling was stalled, however. Mr. Anthony appealed it, and the Anderson Group stayed away. Mr. Anthony declined to work with the Anderson Group. Mr. Anthony took other decisions that, till now, have foreclosed a resolution of the quarrel of the shareholders. He asked the administrative judge of the Federal High Court to transfer the case to Mr. Justice Osiagor, saying he did not trust him. Before this could be done, Mr. Anthony filed two more motions. One was for the case to be transferred from Mr. Justice Osiagor. The other requested the suspension of the rulings of Justice Osiagor.
On July 4, 2023, Mr. Ebun-Ola Adegboruwa (SAN), for Edmark, informed Mr. Justice Osiagor, Mr. Anthony, and his lawyers that they were deliberately frustrating all efforts to resolve the dispute and that this was causing economic distress to the company and its distributors and laying waste to EDMARK-branded products that were expiring in port warehouses. He said as well that it was unethical for Mr. Anthony and his lawyers to attempt to scandalize Mr. Justice Osiagor simply because they did not agree with his ruling, which, in any case, they had appealed.
Mr. Justice Osiagor reviewed the proceedings of May 2, 2023, which showed his order was based on the agreement of the lawyers of Mr. Anthony and
Irrespective of this, Mr. Bidemi Ademola-Bello, for Mr. Anthony, moved the motion for Mr. Justice Osiagor to suspend his ruling, saying he was biased.
Mr. Adegboruwa (SAN) replied that the request was incompetent on two grounds. One was that Mr. Anthony was party to Mr. Justice Osiagor’s ruling. Besides, Mr. Anthony had referred his objection to the administrative judge, and good reason required that he wait for the outcome.
Mr. Justice Osiagor dismissed Mr. Anthony’s two applications. He declined to do away with an agreement mutually agreed upon by Mr. Anthony and Edmark. Mr. Anthony failed to seek the court’s permission for his appeal of the ruling to be permitted, so the request was thrown out, the judge said. In conclusion of the proceedings, Mr. Justice Osiagor gave the Anderson Group 60 days to check the accounts of all parties to the dispute and adjourned the hearing to last Monday.
The food medicine market awaits the return of EDMARK. It, too, must have missed the market. I have missed the SPLINA TOOTHPASTE and the SPLINA CHLOROPHYLL in particular. I do not use any triclosan-containing toothpaste, as I stated long ago in a column I titled DANGEROUS POISONS IN YOUR POPULAR TOOTHPASTES. Triclosan is in many toothpastes. The ALOE VERA-based toothpaste from FLP, like SPLINA toothpaste, is free of it.
The mouth is highly vascularized. Anything placed under the tongue has a chance of being rapidly absorbed into the body cells from there. This is why it is not always good to leave some brands of toothpaste too long in the mouth and on the gums. Some of the common poisons in toothpastes are fluoride, a neuropoison, artificial sweeteners, etc.Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) Triclosan, a carcinogen likely to slough the gums, MEA, DEA, and CEA are a trinity of methylating compounds that may weaken the liver and kidneys and cause cancer. microplastics, which, when accumulated in muscles, may cause systemic inflammation and cancer. propylene glycol, a thickener and carcinogen linked with prostate gland problems. They will be discussed again in the future.
Whenever Edmark returns to the market, it may find the market a stranger. Many products are not selling fast because their prices have gone up with inflation and purchasing power as a whole.
I hope Edmark, whenever it returns, will not be tempted to recoup losses from its expired products, abandoned smart city projects, and employee claims by making skyscrapers of the prices of its products. Some of these products include ginseng coffee, a flagship product in those days until the market found it too sugary and Edmark had to remove the sugar and the product lost some of its wings.
There is also SHAKE OFF for curbing abdominal fat and constipation. Cocolagen-firm breast vagina is what the name says. What about the Edmark Troika Cafe? Edmark Cafe 73 will also pop its head. Aha! There is also Edmark red bubble tea. We cannot forget Edmark Red Yeast Tea. The same goes for Edmark Capuccino, Edmark Slimming Kit, Edmark MRT Complex, Edmark Bio Elixir, Edmark Mocha, Edmark Spiro, Edmark Bubble C, and many more.