Series four of the Adenuga story… It’s getting interesting o
-He faced a lot of troubles in the hands of fellow Ogun dude and former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. In his efforts aimed at procuring a telecommunications licence, he was thoroughly humiliated by Baba Iyabo (some felt he was being persecuted because of his ally, Atiku Abubakar who was then slugging it out with OBJ). The following scenario occurred in Aso Rock Presidential Villa when Obasanjo still held sway:
“Okay, I would show you that I am playing God and kuku (ultimately) destroy you once and for all”
said Obasanjo; a threat to which the frightened and weather-beaten Adenuga replied with his knees crawling on the floors in Aso Rock and his palms stretched full length in the charged, steamy atmosphere:
“Sir, I am your son. Please don’t be angry with me.” Obasanjo:
“I shouldn’t be angry? Why shouldn’t I be angry? See you now. You would come and prostrate and when you leave here, tomorrow, you would go and be publishing your adverts, abusing me. No be so (Is that not true)?”
Adenuga lost $20 million (N3.2 billion)when he was denied the license not even after he had donated a multi-million naira library to Obasanjo’s Bells University of Technology in Ota. But he didn’t give up. He applied again. He would send people to beg OBJ and on occasions, he would prostrate to the Ebora of Owu as a Yorubaman but the former president would stare into his eyes and thunder:
‘I would not give you my licence!’ He would then mutter some curses. But Adenuga was undettered. He was always full of hope and optimism (that is important, I tell you). At another point, IBB tried to intervene on the issue ofAdenuga’s licence with Obasanjo. The Commander-in-Chief was enraged, and accused IBB of using Adenuga as a screen to protect his vested interests. IBB denied the allegations and told Obasanjo that the so-called security report on the issue was a figment of the imagination of his EFCC boys. Obasanjo practically ordered IBB out of Aso Rock, and shouted at him as he left
‘‘Get out, just go!”.
Still in his yet to be released biography, he talks of how Obasanjo demanded a sum of £ 1 million donation (N250 million) from him for his Presidential Library Project. Adenuga had no choice but to drop a quarter of a billion naira as the Chief Launcher. In the book, the scenario was described thus:
“Adenuga had gone to Abeokuta with Dr. Yemi Ogunbuyi for the occasion and the duo had decided to go to greet Baba first. But they were intercepted by a man in a white Kaftan robe who turned out to be Obasanjo’s cousin. The cousin politely said Baba wanted to know how much Adenuga was going to donate. Incidentally, Adenuga had raised this question with Ogunbiyi on their way coming.
“How much do you think I should donate to this thing?”
‘I don’t really know may be N100 million,’ Ogunbiyi suggested.
“That’s exactly how much I have in mind,” declared Adenuga.
“Now the question from Obasanjo’s emissary was curious and unusual, he thought, but nevertheless, he had no choice but to inform the man that he planned to donate N100 million, thinking the man would be very impressed. Wrong. Obasanjo’s cousin brought out a piece of paper and handed it to Adenuga. “Sorry sir, but Baba says you can’t donate less than that amount,” the man had written.
“Inside the piece of paper was the sum of N250 million scribbled in Obasanjo’s handwriting with a red pen. ‘No problem,’ Adenuga told the emissary, wondering if others were subjected to the same experience, but also knowing he dared not ask anybody, lest he be betrayed. He later showed Ogunbiyi the piece of paper.
‘I’ll give anything he wants,’ he told Ogunbiyi.
‘I’m afraid of that man o. N250 million is about the price of an oil well,’ Adenuga added.”
-Never far from the corridors of power, he was arrested in July 2006 by operatives of the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Mobile policemen and security agents numbering about 70 were mobilized to arrest the titanic mogul. In a commando style reminiscent of the US Navy Seals, they stormed his Lagos residence, pulled down his gate with hammers, generators, welding equipment and other heavy machinery, and flew him to Abuja. He was questioned for some hours before he was released, then he visited the Aso Villa. What actually transpired that day, only Chineke knows but he was so traumatized and when reports were coming that he may be rearrested and prosecuted, he left for London and did not come back until a new government was in place. He has had his brushes with the law, and at a time, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) sealed up his oil companies for allegedly evading taxes of about N89billion. Some believe he, alongside other tycoons are stifling Nigeria’s development while some people sharply disagree highlighting his contributions to the economy. What do you think?