Billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola has revealed the role former military president General Ibrahim Babangida played in resolving the political logjam caused by the prolonged sickness of late 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.
He recounted how IBB sent a message through him to the then vice president Goodluck Jonathan to take over the empty seat of ailing 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 has 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.