Odu’a Conglomerate: How South West governors nearly assaulted one another

Odu’a Conglomerate: How South West governors nearly assaulted one another
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  • Assets of conglomerate depreciating fast
  • Governors blame one another for situation

By Abubakar Sodiq

The last monthly meeting of Odu’a Governors of South Western States, nearly turned bloody, as Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, was said to have verbally assaulted his counterparts from other states.

The bone of contention, according to sources privy to the closed door meeting, which held at Executive Council Chambers, Governor’s Office, Ibadan, was the inability of all the six governors making up the Odu’a Conglomerate to reach a compromise and common goal on how to resuscitate all the moribund companies belonging to the unit.

Credible top security sources confided in AljazirahNigeria that the governors resorted to verbal assaults, calling themselves names and almost exchanged blows before the intervention of their personal aides and security operatives.

It was exclusively gathered that, the unsolved issue, which generated into uproar among the six governors, made the three of them walk out before the end of the meeting.

Apart from the host Governor Ajimobi, others were Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti, as well as outgoing Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State.

Investigations further revealed that the governors were not happy that the companies were allowed to be moribund during their tenures, and as well not maintaining the legacy left behind by their predecessors, especially the late Sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

It was reliably gathered that panic has enveloped the atmosphere at various companies owned by Odu’a group, as funds were not available to efficiently run many of them.

An indication to this fact was the charges by Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, who recently called on governors of the six South-West states that own the Odu’a Group to shelve personal interests and party affiliation to ensure that the legacy of the founding fathers of the conglomerate was protected.

Among the numerous Odu’a companies, the only existing and functioning one is WEMA Bank Plc.

Others are facing serious financial challenges during this recession, as they can barely take care of their concurrent expenses and staff welfare.

An informed government source confided in AljazirahNigeria that the needed funds expected from the Governors were not forthcoming, thereby, affecting the performances and growth of these companies.

Some of the companies affected include Lafia Hotel, Premier Hotel, WEMABOD Estate, among others.

Some of the Directors, who did not want their names in Print, told AljazirahNigeria that the management was unhappy with the attitude of the governors and their response  to their various demands and efforts at sustaining and resuscitating the companies.

They argued that the regional conglomerate had the potential to be greater than its present status, if the six governors met regularly and support the efforts of the firm’s management for its development.

It will be recalled that Odu’a Investment Company Limited was incorporated in July, 1976 to take over the business interest of theformer Western State of Nigeria, now Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, while the Lagos State joined recently.

The company commenced business on October 1, 1976.

The company since inception has been operating as a conglomerate with over 70% of her business as investment/joint ventures with reputable multinationals.

It is involved in diverse economic activities which includes: Property Development and Management, Hospitality, Telecommunications, Printing and Publication, Agriculture, Training and Personnel Development, Capacity Building among other things.

Apart from investments in limited liability companies, Odu’a Investment Company Limited also owns substantial properties in choicelocations in the Ikeja residential/Industrial Estates and Apapa in Lagos State as well as a number of residential and commercialproperties in Ibadan including the Aje House. It also has investments in properties in various parts of the country.

But unfortunately, majority of these companies are moribund, begging for governments’ serious attention, many believe that it might collapse completely.
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