Family Is Everything: Kola Aluko Celebrates 50th Birthday


There is no place like home is a saying that proves itself true over and over again. Fame is what the world offers to the wealthy and the powerful. But once the ship of power hits the iceberg, away goes the fame and the attention of the world. The stranded human flounders about in the deep, desperately searching for an anchor, but there is always the family reaching out a hand to one of their own, loving without conditions and sheltering without questions.

These days, Kola Aluko is grateful for little and less. But he always has his family to be grateful for. As friends and associates withdrew their help, their company and their recognition, his family rallied round and embraced him. Kola is an embattled man in a fight for his life with the authorities. But when he is with his family, everything can be swept to one side and he can enjoy the small luxury of a faithful company.

The former most powerful man in the oil sector celebrated his 50th birthday a few days back. When compared with some of the eye-popping shindigs he threw when the going was good, this was a forlorn occasion by comparison. As he celebrated the landmark event with his family in Europe, he must have privately wondered which gods he offended to experience such a drastic fall from grace.

When the going was good, Kola lived like a superstar, mostly because he was one. He was loved, feted and envied in equal measures. As his company Atlantic Energy raked in billions from oil contracts, he seemed set to soar to the stratosphere. He partied like there was no tomorrow, toured the skies and cruised the seas in the formidable Galactica Star superyacht. His fame burst beyond the borders and attracted the attention of world celebrities and leaders of thought. He was invited to global events and strutted his stuff with an endless stream of hangers-on in tow.

With the fall of his buddy Diezani from the petroleum ministry, Kola became the whipping boy of the anti-corruption agencies at home and abroad. Many of his assets were seized and even his beloved super yacht worth billions of naira was sold off. Marooned on an island of despair, he sought his friends but was given the cold shoulder. Disconsolate, he withdrew into his anonymous cocoon and became an afterthought.