THE burial of Sir Michael Otedola, former governor of Lagos State and the father of Mr. Femi Otedola, the billionaire President of Forte Oil, on Friday, May 30, 2014, will certainly remain indelible in the minds of many for years.
Aside the fact that the occasion brought the stars of our political and economic space to the sleepy town of Odorangunshin, Epe, Lagos State, it also afforded us to see our billionaires unwind, throw banters and reconcile their differences.
We told you in our last edition how Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote danced to King Sunny Ade’s music for several minutes with no care in the world.
We also witnessed how another billionaire, Oba Otudeko, chairman of FBN Holdings and Honeywell Group, was reeled in laughter when comedian, Seyi Law did a joke that God has told him that the billionaire will sow his jeep to his (Seyi) life and that God will compensate him by giving him a bigger one, BRT bus!
The major highlight of the evening of merriment was, however, the reconciliation of Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Oba Otudeko. Prior to that occasion, it was public knowledge that the two billioanires were not on speaking terms because of a 10.8 square metre land within the complex of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) known as the 5th Apapa Wharf Extension, which became a source of litigation between the two.
Oba Otudeko is the plaintiff in the law suit while Alhaji Aliko Dangote and his company, Greenview Development Nig. Ltd, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) are the defendants.
Oba Otudeko, through his company, Honeywell Group was asking for $48 million damages from Alhaji Aliko Dangote and other defendants for what he called breach of contract.
That was the situation of things before Friday, May 30, 2014, when the two met at Odorangunshin, Epe. The opportunity to reconcile the two industrialists presented itself during the reception at St. Patrick Grammar School, Eredo, Epe, Lagos. The initiator of the peace move was their chief host, Femi Otedola himself. He whispered some words into the ears of the two billionaires and before you knew, they stood up to exchange pleasantries to the admiration of those present.
So, if tomorrow there is news that Oba Otudeko and Alhaji Aliko Dangote have agreed to settle out of court, be rest assured that was the outcome of the peace move initiated by Femi Otedola at his father’s burial.
– TOLANI ABATTI