A re-alignment of business interests and affiliation is believed to be in the offing and it involves three of Nigeria’s most celebrated billionaires. In recent times, the news have made the rounds of a business skirmish between Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Mr. Femi Otedola, both had been known to be buddies and have been reported to have jointly engaged in business ventures over the last five years.

The chummy relationship between the two, however, is believed to have been embroiled in suspicion and a brickbat of sort on account of Dangote pitching his support for his kinsman, Sayyatu Dantata over the acquisition of the majority shareholding in downstream Chevron Nigeria Plc, a shareholding in which Otedola had confided his interest in Dangote.

Reports close to Otedola and Dangote indicated that on the heels of Dangote’s preference for Sayyatu, Otedola might have to go his way in matters of business relationship with Dangote, the officially profiled richest man in Nigeria.

But then, in the context of doing business in Nigeria where government influence is all pervading, a businessman must understand the act and intricacies of balancing power plays by networking with power players.

“Of course, you know that political power and influence determine a lot of things in business in Nigeria,” a source told FORTUNE & CLASS Weekly. “So to survive in business at the level these people operate, you have to know the right people and understand how to continue to pander to their needs. The relationship between Otedola and Dangote was principally predicated on this kind of facilitation. For instance, during the presidency of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the two had enjoyed some privileges of state support because Otedola enjoyed the favour of Obasanjo. Obasanjo extended his favour to Dangote because he was friend to Otedola, who is his Yoruba southwest kinsman. And since Nigeria’s democracy has a peculiar command structure, everybody within the circle of the Obasanjo’s presidency had to extend all the courtesies of power to the two businessmen,” the source explained.

With the shift of power to Northern Nigeria, our source reasoned that the centre of power influence revolves around a core group of Northerners and until the disagreement that unravelled the relationship between Dangote and Otedola, the two had farthered their business interests by acting together to relate with individuals that influence the power structure.

“With the parting of ways with Dangote, Femi must naturally form new alliances because he has grown quite massively in the business sector. And if I must tell you, the fact is that not many people are happy with big time players if they are not within the circle of the influential,” FORTUNE & CLASS source reasoned.

According to reports gathered last week, there are strong indications that Otedola, who owns Africa Petroleum, one of the country’s largest downstream sector operations and other long list of A-class business entities, might be gravitating towards Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, the billionaire core investor in the nation’s biggest insurance concern, NICON Insurance.

“I understand that the two have started talking and I think it is natural. Barrister Ibrahim has survived a most violent onslaught by some adversaries in business and government. Do not forget that his business troubles started during the presidency of Obasanjo despite the fact that he, like Obasanjo, is from the Yoruba speaking southwest. This did not stop the presidency from contending with him on a number of issues that culminated in his sacking from NICON where he had invested so much. But as it turned out, he was able to resolve all the contentious issues and regain control of the company. And to top it all, he became quite friendly with the current president, Umar Musa Yar’Adua,” another source gushed.

“I think the two would find common ground to relate,” the source further asserted. “This is because the two of them are involved in the downstream sector of the oil and gas sector and are adventurous enough to pursue their business expansion dreams vigorously. I can say that very soon, the two of them would become a pair if the effort of elders facilitating the alliance is successful,” the source said.


Over the last six months, staffers of ETB, the bank owned by Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr. have had had to resume work with the burden of uncertainty weighing over their shoulders until close of work. Reason for the anxious moments at the workplace is the report of periodic letters being dispatched to personnel of the banks conveying management’s instructions advising the recipients of such letters to voluntarily retire from the services of the bank.

“Nobody is sure of what would happen during work hours,” a staff of the bank told FORTUNE & CLASS Weekly. “The fact is that we don’t know exactly what is going on; I am aware that the bank has been employing new people but at the same time is confounding that some of the people even, we staff consider to be very good at their work get these shocking letters of compulsion to disengage. So, how can one be at ease when one is at work with such things happening to co-workers and one has not made alternative employment arrangement?” the staff queried.

FORTUNE & CLASS Weekly gathered that a number of staff at the managerial level, have, however, taken their fate in their hands by resigning their appointments to avoid the unpleasantness of a sudden ditch by the bank’s management.

“I think those are that are lucky to quickly secure employment with other places are smart enough, if I have the option I will do the same. You can imagine people that had put between 10 and 16 years into the service being unceremoniously given the boots like that? Everybody would naturally be jittery,” another ETB’s staff echoed

“In fact, when one of the much respected senior officials at our branch got the letter informing him to voluntary retire, we were aghast. At first, we wanted to protest but unfortunately we did not have the right platform to do that. Then we told him that he should write in his retirement letter that he was forced to retire and explain in the letter that he had had a clean record of service delivery to the bank. When the concerned staff called his contact at head office of what he intended writing in his letter, the man at the other end said they won’t accept the letter if it is written that way. It’s really so frustrating,” another staff confided.

Mr. Abdul Funsho, Head Corporate Communications, however, insisted that nothing extraordinary was happening at the bank.

“The bank is only repositioning and restructuring for efficient service delivery. The bank is employing more hands by the day. So, it is natural that going forward the bank has to look for skills that match the vision and goals of the bank,” Funsho said.