For Daring to Seek the Release of Abiola, Igbinedion Walked Me Out, Says Otedola

Segun James

A multi-billionaire businessman and Chairman of Forte Oil Plc, Mr. Femi Otedola thursday, narrated how he was walked out of a house by the former Managing Director of the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Peter Igbinedion for daring to plead for the release of Chief Moshood Abiola with the late General Sani Abacha’s son, Ibrahim.

Speaking at the presentation of three books, ‘PENdulum 1&2’ and ‘Fighting Lions,’ written by the publisher of Ovation International magazine and THSDAY columnist, Chief Dele Momodu, Otedola said he was motivated to seek the intervention of Ibrahim Abacha, who was a friend, after he watched Abiola on a television, emerging from a Black maria prison vehicle, when he was undergoing trial for daring to seek the actualisation of the mandate freely given to him by Nigerians.

According to him, he sought audience with the young Abacha who asked him (Otdedola) to me him (Ibrahim), somewhere in Ikoyi.

Otedola stated that on getting to the venue of his meeting with Ibrahim, he met Igbinedion.
Not realising that the house belonged to Igbinedion, Otedola said he proceeded to plead with Ibrahim to appeal to his father to release Abiola.

He further narrated that as soon as he (Otedola), raised the issue of Abiola, an angry Igbinedion stopped him from further talking about the issue and immediately walked him out of the house.
Otedola said he was very embarrassed the incident ended his intervention.

He said that he never met Igbinedion again until 2013 at the London home of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“He was begging to have my number. Now, level has changed. Such is life,” he said.
He said that Abiola touched his life in many ways right from the time himself and Kola Abiola were classmates at the University of Lagos Staff School in 1971.

Otedola said he had a taste of Abiola’s magnanimity and generosity in 1991 when he developed an idea to have a Chief Obafemi Awolowo memorial concert with his friend and grandson of the political sage, Mr. Segun Awolowo.
He said the idea was to get Abiola to be the chairman of the occasion. But to their surprise, despite the political differences between Abiola and Chief Awolowo, Abiola did not only accept to be the chairman, but he also came to the concert with his wife, Chief Simbiat Abiola, with both of them dancing to the music of Sir Shina Peters.

“The highlight of the event is the cheque of a N100,000 he gave Segun and I at the event -a huge amount back then! We admired the cheque all the way to the bank. At the end of the event, he took me aside, shook hands with me and called me a great man,” Otedola explained.

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