Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and one of Africa’s richest women, Mrs Folorunsho Alakija were in disagreement over the weekend as to how she hit oil, and became rich and successful.
While Mrs. Alakija noted that her effort to rise in business was almost frustrated by the Obasanjo administration, the former President averred that in fact, she made her billions under his administration.
Both leaders spoke at the 2016 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum, held in Lagos on Saturday.
According to Alakija, the Obasanjo administration illegally confiscated an oil block allocated to her company after her family had invested all its savings to strike oil in commercial quantity.
She said, “This oil block is in 5000 feet depth of water and was extremely difficult to explore. It took 15 years from the time that we were awarded the licence in 1993 till 2008 when we struck the first oil
“When this event happened, 60 per cent out of our 60 per cent equity in the business, was forcefully taken from us by the government of the day without due process. We had to fight back by going to court to seek redress and it took another 12 years for justice to be served in our favour.
“In all those years it was my trust in God, my perseverance and the support of my family that got me going”, she stated.
But Speaking later, Obasanjo disagreed, saying, “There is a saying in my part of the world that when a proverb touches you and you failed to reply, then you are a coward”.
According to him, the action government took then was in line with the Mining Act, which regulates oil prospection and exploration.
“For you to come here and say that, for no cause whatsoever, you were denied what was rightfully yours, is not fair. I do not know you from Adam and there is no reason I would have denied you what rightfully belonged to you.
“So, you have struggled, and you have struck oil. God bless your heart. My delight is to be able to create Nigerian billionaire and I always say it that my aim, when I was in government was to create 50 Nigerian billionaires.
“Unfortunately I failed. I created only 25 and Madam, you are one of them,” he said.
RipplesNigeria …without borders, without fears
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
If you are motivated and passionate about building a global society, founded on justice, equity, fairness, transparency, accountability and superior knowledge, kindly consider donating to Ripples Nigeria’s solutions journalism.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
INVESTIGATION: Inside UNILAG’s multi-million naira budgetary abuse and academic discord
The University of Lagos located in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, has been embroiled in controversies with allegations bothering on misappropriation of...
SPECIAL REPORT: Displaced residents of Zamfara battle hunger, as underfunding derails Nigeria’s nutrition goals
On paper, Muhammad Zayyanu is seven years old. The quiet boy who looks shorter for his age could not recollect...
INVESTIGATION: N7.3bn paid for unnamed projects; how Nigerian govt spent N2.2trn in six months
Analysing nearly 3,000 payments made by various Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) over the previous six months (January...
INVESTIGATION… Delay rocks Nigerian govt’s promise of N30,000 covid-19 relief for artisans, others
Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in February, 2020, Chukwudi Okoroigwe’s daily earnings as a bus driver was hardly enough to cater to the...
INVESTIGATION… Ten years after, communities count losses as AfDB, Cross River govt abandon road project
Ten years after the Cross River State government and African Development Bank (AFDB) jointly awarded the Yahe-Wanokom-Wanikade-Benue border road for...