Sir Emeka Offor, the former billionaire businessman behind Chrome Oil Services, has encountered his tender state. He has finally learnt that, while leaves of hope may thrive in his orchard today, blossoming and attracting abundant niceties to his name, tomorrow may dawn with famine and a killing frost. For him tomorrow dawns harshly and with unprecedented ugliness, causing his orchard to wilt and nipping his hopes of redemption from the roots to the bud.
The joke is on him right now; having scorned the subtle nudge of reason in prosperous clime, Emeka could not foresee his doom and eventual collapse of his company. You would recall that Offorâ€™s reputation as a billionaire without precedents reached inglorious heights during the first coming of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo and Offor were reportedly very close.
Prior to that time, he had singlehandedly funded the election of former Anambra State Governor, Chinwoke Mbadinuju. On assumption of power, Mbadinuju held tight to the locks of the Stateâ€™s treasury, refusing to allow Offor burrow into it brazenly. They fell bitterly apart. Their embarrassing fall-out remains one of the anticlimaxes of Nigeriaâ€™s third republic. He threatened that the governor would not come back to office like other PDP governors.
He made good his threat. Mbadinuju has been in political wilderness since then. Indeed, the many controversies of Offor would make for a compelling narrative any day. Just when you think the gangling Anambra native has been buffeted enough by troubles, he recently took on a foe with the potentials to humble and consume him, opening yet another page in his pitiable romance with trouble. In the build-up to the 2003 general elections, Mr. Offor was reported to have donated N200 million to the Obasanjo/Atiku presidential re-election campaign. Known for his interests in oil, gas, power and construction, the businessman and politician got juicy federal contracts, while the PDP reigned for 16 years. Today, Emeka is down but not totally out.
Some staff members of the company, in a letter written on their behalf by their lawyer, Femi Falana, say they are being owed N1.14 billion, representing outstanding salaries and wages between September 2016 and August 2017. But according to a report online, Offor blamed the â€œgeneral economic meltdown and recessionâ€ for his companyâ€™s inability to meet its financial obligations to employees, saying his â€œbusinesses suffered frustration commencing from March 2015 and grounded to a halt in September 2015â€. Offor said the company had â€œno job to execute and closed office starting from September 2015â€.