Who would have imagined that two of Yoruba’s most enduring money men, octogenarians and grandfathers too; Chief Kola Daisi, an industrialist, and Chief Kessington Adebutu, a lotto magnate; can be estranged to the point of not being on speaking terms like two disputatious co-wives?
Well, that is the situation between the two billionaires. For emphasis, Daisi, the Bashorun of Ibadanland, is 87 while Adebutu, the Asoju Oba of Lagos, is 84. Neither of them seems to give a hoot about how their disinclination and animosity toward each other are affecting their families and friends; they are past caring. Many of their mutual friends have been left wondering what went wrong even though those who know the genesis know. When Chief Daisi lost his wife, Sherifat, last October, it is not public knowledge that Adebutu either commiserated with or paid him a condolence visit.
Neither gesture could have gone without the public knowing because of their statuses in the society. Likewise, Adebutu’s absence was very conspicuous at the burial ceremony and the 41-day Fidua prayer which also marked the 80th posthumous birthday of the deceased at the Civic Centre in Agodi GRA, Ibadan. It was this particular no-show that triggered voluble mutterings. Animosity can’t be more intensely demonstrated than that. Yet, before their relationship went south, the two old men were chummy and inseparable and did many things together.
A privileged source disclosed that they fell apart over competition in the lotto business. The problem reportedly started when the Lagos State Government revoked Chief Daisi’s lottery licence in Lagos. As the biggest player in that industry and a major financier of elections, Adebutu was fingered as the brain behind Chief Daisi’s loss in the lottery pie. Daisi allegedly felt that the sky was big enough for all birds to fly unhindered but his friend reportedly thought otherwise.
The source said, “One major factor that affected Chief Daisi was that when President Olusegun Obasanjo’s standoff with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was at its peak, he was not perceived as a friend of Lagos. He was thought to be on the side of Obasanjo which reportedly made Asiwaju to revoke his licence leaving Adebutu to solitary run the show.” Since his own nest had been feathered, Adebutu reportedly made no moves to help out his friend thus began one of the most acrimonious estrangements between two distinguished Yoruba sons. Efforts have been made by some highly placed Nigerians to make these accomplished men sheathe their swords and embrace lasting peace, but these have met with failure as none of the billionaires wants to shift ground.