By â€‹Hezekiah Silas Olu
â€œA Leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselvesâ€ â€“ Lao Tzu
Indeed, the words of this great Chinese Philosopher continue to impact the affairs of men today, and to him who has understanding and wisdom is considered the greatest of them all. How be it therefore that man is constantly in awe of the amazing feat achieved by his fellow man who has painstakingly submerged himself to the teachings and understanding of life. Little wonder why these men always stand out in their endeavours,having gone through the rigours of maneuvering through lifeâ€™s complexities.
It is therefore not surprising that when these great men are found within us today, the inability of the small-minded to fully comprehend their capabilities and prowess will sometimes arise. These people would deliberately, usually by orchestrated prompting by material inducement, rather prefer to fabricate and deliver their own twisted narratives to their gullible audience in a world in which both fake and bad news seems to be the order of the day. Their story of Benedict Peters (CEO AITEO GROUP) in the publication in the Sun Newspaper of Saturday, 11 November 2017 titledâ€œWHY BILLIONAIRE BENNY PETERS REMAINED ELUSIVEâ€ isnâ€™t far-fetched from the narrative above. It is quite clear that whoever wrote that article had no idea the type of person he was really writing about!
Calm, composed and armed with a placid demeanor, Peters is a sure and unassuming business man who has overcome considerable odds in his search and quest for service and purposeful living, eschewing flamboyance and definitely humbled by the blessings of the Almighty. It is this humility that ensures that Mr. Peters is usually not visible to those who seek to find successful men flaunting opulence and surrounded by those who would rather worship them as gods to further massage their egos.
In recent times however, presumably because he has continued to recorded tremendous success and growth in his businesses, Peters has come under attack from those merchants of doom and misery roaming the media space looking for successful people to castigate. Having paid his dues in the Nigerian Oil & Gas industry in a career spanning over 2 decades, it is no surprise therefore that consistency and dedication to service has been the pivotal platform upon which his successes have become manifest. These periodically but increasingly frequent image battering by persons hitherto unknown but disguised as freelance journalists has become another desperate approach to earning a dubious living by parading stories riddled with lies to humour those who â€œpay the pipersâ€! Letâ€™s look at some examples from the article.
It is a known fact that following the painstaking process of Aiteo acquiring Shellâ€™s divestment in the OML 29 block, Peters had unknowingly woken up â€œsleeping powersâ€ who felt it was their birth right to determine the ownership of oil blocks in Nigeria. Those unseen hands have been irked by the impudence of Peters to successfully participate in a process over which they had complete monopoly without their blessing! How dare he? It is important to note that whilst it is rumoured, that Peters benefitted tremendously from the previous government via the erstwhile and embattled former Minister of Petroleum (Dieziani-Madueke) through illicit contracts awards, it is worthy of note that not one alleged indictment of the suggested misconduct on his part has been properly made never mind proven. It is openly verifiable that the process of the disposal by Shell and the acquisition by Aiteo of OML29 has been adjudged by industry watchers as having gone through all the processes of transparency and due diligence.â€‹
Furthermore, it is no secret that having been successful in the downstream petroleum sector, given their considerable storage and trading capacity demonstrated over the years, the AITEO group has grown from strength to strength such that its investment in the upstream sector has obviously caused great concern to some people. It is disheartening that several pull-down tools are being employed to tarnish the image of this employer of labor that has done no wrong. The rejuvenation of the Nigeriaâ€™s football by the AITEO Group is a testament to his desire of making an impression on the aspirations of every young talented Nigerian footballer. The recent successes recorded already in the management and sponsorship of Football is a success story on the lips of every football stakeholder.â€‹
The quest to tarnish and malign Benedict Peters seems to be a reoccurring pastime orchestrated by the few who, simply, are jealous and disturbed by his success. Why, we may ask? Who is it that is so troubled by Peters that these public assault has become a visible pre-occupation?
It is pertinent, therefore, that practice of publishing clumsy and misguided advertorials through paid columnists must desist forthwith. The notion of castigating anyone associated with the previous government whilst carrying out legitimate business must be done with clarity and sincerity of purpose. This is becoming an embarrassing endeavour by those involved because it seems that the more this occurs, the adverse publicity intended is, in fact, having the opposite effect. Nigerians interested now understanding the position. No one is being fooled anymore.
Hezekiah Silas Olu, An Abuja based human rights activist.