Billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola has revealed how former military president General Ibrahim Babangida sent a message to the then vice president Goodluck Jonathan to take over the empty seat of ailing President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2010.
The business mogul made the revelation while felicitating with Ibrahim Babangida fondly called IBB on his 80th birthday.
Otedola who wished the General whose birthday will be marked tomorrow more rewarding years revealed how the political ingenuity and counsel of IBB helped to resolve the political logjam caused by the prolonged sickness of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2010.
In his forthcoming book on business lessons scheduled for release in November this year, Otedola who thanked IBB for the role he played to nip the political imbroglio in the bud further revealed that Babangida sent a message through him to then Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan to sit on the empty seat of the president in the next Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
According to him, “With Yar’Adua failing to formally transfer power to his VP when he was flown abroad for medical treatment, there was tension across the nation as a result of the power vacuum, which led to public protests.’’
Writing on the need for entrepreneurs to engage with political authorities in one of the chapters, Otedola maintains that such a relationship will benefit the country.
“Entrepreneurs’ outreach and dialogue with political leaders, among many positives, will ensure stability and social coherence, guaranteeing economic progress.
“Worried by the tension and uncertainty, I decided to do something on my own,” he wrote.
“In the first week of February 2010, I went to Minna, Niger State, along with Hajia Bola Shagaya, to commiserate with General Ibrahim Babangida over the death of his wife, Maryam.
At his Hilltop residence, we spoke on a wide range of issues, but I told him I needed to discuss an urgent and vital issue. He took me to his study, where the two of us were alone. I told him that the state of the nation had been agitating my mind,” he added.
Otedola said he asked Babangida: “Your Excellency, how can we get out of this logjam? The political heat is too much.
“Calm and resolute, IBB replied: ‘Femi, advise your friend that when he gets to the Council Chambers next week for the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, he should go and sit on the President’s chair.
“I found that fascinating and assured him I would pass the message across. I travelled back to Abuja by road in the evening and went straight to have dinner with Dr Jonathan. I did not waste time in delivering General Babangida’s message to him,” he wrote.
“He nodded and asked me, ‘What do you think?’
“I laughed and said, ‘Be a man, Your Excellency. Go and sit on that chair!’
“He looked at me for some time and responded that he would think about it.
“A week later, on Tuesday, February 9, the National Assembly adopted the famous ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ to make Dr Jonathan the Acting President pending the return of President Yar’Adua from his medical leave. Behind-the-scene moves by prominent Nigerians preceded this decision. The legislative resolution was unprecedented, but the nation had been tensed up. The fault lines were so stoked that an unusual solution was needed to address the unique situation.
“With Jonathan now legally empowered to act as President, there remained the critical optics: would he stand-in for the President confidently and authoritatively? Or would he try to maintain a subdued outlook? The following day was the FEC meeting. As Dr Jonathan entered the Council Chamber, he sat on the chair of the Vice President—his usual seat. As the protocol officer pulled out the VP’s chair, Dr Jonathan marched towards the seat reserved for the President.
And he sat on it! That was the moment Dr Goodluck Jonathan took control of power. By that act, he sent a strong signal to all Nigerians that he was now in charge. The same day, Jonathan even reshuffled the cabinet.
‘’Yar’Adua died on May 5, 2010, and Jonathan was sworn in as his replacement, going on to win the 2011 presidential elections and serving one term in office.’’
In the book, Otedola said entrepreneurs must engage with political authorities because it is only when there is peace that the economy can boom.
He wrote: “While many may see political engagement for entrepreneurs as one-sided—in the sense that only the entrepreneur benefits—the reality is that it could work both ways. I tapped into my political connections to contribute my little quota to resolving a power crisis that almost set the country on fire.
This example is one of the several instances in which I used my access to the seat of power and political heavyweights to contribute to nation-building and national development. Entrepreneurs need to appreciate the fact that peace for the country is peace for their businesses, too. We need a stable and peaceful country first and foremost.”
Nigeria Triumph In Dubai Spelling Bee Challenge Despite Sponsorship Woes
Nigeria colours is currently flying high in far away United Arab Emirate, where her team came 1st in the senior category of an intercontinental Spelling Bee competition final held at the weekend.
Nigeria team featured in 2 categories of the 2021 Intercontinental Spelling Bee competition final held on Friday 24th September at the Best Western plus Hotel Deira Creek Dubai.
The team came 1st in the senior category courtesy Oni Inioluwa Daniel of the Ambassadors College, Ota and Nigeria also came 3rd with Olujobi Oluwadarasimi Opeyemi also of Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State.
In the junior category Pearl Koshi Etika-Matthews Eni Memorial High School, Calabar, Cross Rivers State came 2nd, whilst Nanret Adamu from St. Augustine College, DU, Jos, Plateau State emerged the most promising Speller in the Senior category.
The Nigerian Consulate in Dubai was ably represented by Consul Prince Wale Awolesi, who donated $500 of his personal funds to the over $4,000 left to settle their bill.
Akin Olu-Philips the executive director Of Peat Philips Foundation, led the team to a successful outing in Dubai.
Female Journalist Laments EFCC Night Invasion Of Her Bedroom, Kitchen
A woman journalist, Mrs. Norah Okafor, has alerted authorities to the invasion of her home in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, by over 25 masked operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The incident, she said, took place on Thursday between 1:36 a.m and 2 a.m.
“At exactly 1:36 a.m, I was alerted by my brother that there were armed robbers at my gate trying to make their way into the compound. Because it was an electric fence, I didn’t bother enough because I felt they could not make their way in. Alas, I was wrong. At 2 a.m prompt, they entered the compound, and they came prepared. There were over 25 of them in two Hilux buses. They were masked and dressed in all-black attire.
A huge member of the team climbed the fence with a pair of pliers and immediately cut off parts of the wires. He jumped into the compound and, with an axe, broke the gate key open to enable the team enter my apartment.
“As a nude sleeper, while they tried to make their way into the compound, I found something to wear while my brothers and I were thinking of a way of escape. The worst case scenario for me was that they would rape or take the only valuable available (a car key).
So, I prepared my mind. The next thing I realised was that about seven of them were in my room with shouts of ‘Lie down, face down; (switch) on the light. Where’s your phone? Where’s your car key?’ They asked for so many things and I became confused. Seeing over 25 hefty men with different kinds of guns, mhen, e don be, be that (It had finally happened, I presumed).
“I handed the phone over to them with the key. Before then, they had taken my laptop. I turned to be sure if they were armed robbers.
They asked for my passwords to all the devices collected with masking tape to identify each. Still in shock, I heard someone destroying everything in the kitchen, my room, that of my brothers and all the drawers. I was still asking myself: what’s happening?
“They asked me to stand and follow them downstairs. Lo and beyond, they unmasked themselves. Hmmmm! Are these criminals? I asked. All my neighbours were already going through the same pain as I was.
They had given my brothers the beating of their lives, carried my neighbour downstairs and tried unlocking all the cars in the compound. And after searching all the phones and laptops, three of them walked in. Behold, they were from EFCC.
“What?” I screamed.
“Shut up” was the next thing I heard.
“When they couldn’t open my phone, they asked me to, and I did. After a while, I asked them: ‘Please, where is your office so I can come and pick up my things on my way to work?’ They asked me what I do and I said I’m a journalist. They asked my neighbour and he said ‘lawyer’; the other one a ‘doctor’.
“They looked at me, handed over the phones and said: ‘We just wasted our time.’
“Those fools spent over one hour molesting and destroying things in this compound. I feel so pained and embarrassed right now. “Is this how EFCC operates? How did we get here? Who is the informant? I am just confused right now. Thank God, my mum isn’t here…”
Yoruba Nation, Biafra Agitators, Two Others Protest As Buhari Addresses UN Assembly Today
While two of the groups are protesting against the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the third group will demonstrate in support of the ex-military leader.
One of the groups comprising Yoruba Nation and Biafra agitators, Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination, is headed by Prof Banji Akintoye.
Also, activists under the aegis of TakeItBack movement have mobilised for a protest at UN headquarters in New York with demands.
PUNCH gathered that the last group would be holding a pro-Buhari protest tagged, ‘One Nigeria March.’
Akintoye explained that NINAS’ protest tagged, ‘Million-Man Freedom March,’ was to show the world “the crimes against humanity, attacks on press freedom, free speech and other criminalities being aided by the Buhari-led government of Nigeria.”
He also said the agitators “are demanding the conduct of a regional referendum so that the indigenous people can decide on their nationhood”.
The renowned historian accused the Federal Government of sponsoring the counter-protest at UN headquarters, alleging that black foreigners living in the United States of America were “hired at $500 per head.”
Akintoye, in a statement on Thursday by NINAS Director of Public Communications, Mr Maxwell Adeleye, said, “Irrespective of the material and financial superiorities of these Lions, there’s no way they can defeat United Foxes in a democracy.
“The Friday Grand March in New York shall be historic; hence, the Nigerian government is jittery. The ring leader of government officials and a top Lagos journalist are now in New York to start hiring black people who will pretend as Nigerians to stage a pro-Buhari and One Nigeria protest to counter NINAS.
“But we refuse to be rattled. We shall not be intimidated. No oppressor has ever triumphed against the collective will of the people. The people are the government and power belongs to the people. The people make the constitution.”
TakeitBack Movement’s Global Director of Mobilisation, Gbola Owoborode, listed four demands for the activists’ protest, among which were that the leader of Independent People of Biafra and Yoruba Nation activists, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Igboho, should be freed.
He said, “The regime should also free Sowore, unconditionally and drop all charges, of which he has been falsely accused.
“We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, including Nnamdi Kanu, Igboho and the over 300 #endSARS activists still under illegal detention, as well as an end to terrorism, kidnappings. and banditry that has completely ravaged the entire country.
“The resignation of the Buhari regime that is incompetent, lawless, despotic, nepotistic and corrupt.
It has failed to guarantee the security and welfare of Nigerians which is their primary responsibility as a government. The Buhari Junta must go!”
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