Billionaire businessman Femi Otedola joins Nigerians felicitating with ex-military president Ibrahim Babangida who marks his 80th birthday (on Tuesday, August 17).
Wishing the retired general more rewarding years, Otedola thanked IBB for the role he played during the political logjam caused by the prolonged sickness of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2010.
In his forthcoming book on business lessons (scheduled for release in November), Otedola 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.
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.”