World’s Richest List: Why Mike Adenuga, Jimoh Ibrahim didn’t make it

In a direct confirmation of Fortune&Class Weekly news report of last week, the Forbes magazine, the United States of America’s compiler of the annual list of the world’s richest, Mr. Femi Otedola, Chief Executive Officer of Zenon Oil and Gas and largest shareholder of African Petroleum joined Alhaji Aliko Dangote on the world’s richest […]

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Jimoh Ibrahim barred from meeting Yar’Adua

Despite the seeming success of Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, the Group Managing Director of NICON Insurance Plc, he seem to be having challenges breaking the barrier of easy access to relate with the President, Alhaji Umar Yar’Adua.

This became evident during the inauguration of the new Ghanaian President in Accra, Ghana.

Ibrahim was not privileged like Femi Otedola and Aliko Dangote who were part of the presidential entourage aboard the presidential jet. He arrived Ghana via a commercial flight.

While Yar’Adua was meeting with Musiliu Obanikoro and another diplomat in the Presidential lounge at the airport, Barr. Jimoh Ibrahim made frantic efforts to meet with him but the President’s aides would not permit the unscheduled meeting.

While Ibrahim was trying to persuade the aide, President Yar’Adua and his team decided to move. Ibrahim and others were courteously shoved to pave way for the President.

It is believed that Barr. Jimoh Ibrahim made the Ghana trip after efforts to connect the President in Abuja failed.

MIXED FEELINGS OVER JIMOH IBRAHIM’s NATIONAL HONOUR

The intention of the Federal Government to honour controversial lawyer cum businessman, has come under heavy criticism by Nigerians.

It is being echoed that Ibrahim’s lifestyle and his debt ridden business status alongside other controversial and unresolved issues, do not present him as the best worthy to be honoured.

The belief is rife that Ibrahim is nominated for this award because he was a ready catalyst to discredit the Obasanjo administration as well as be positioned as ‘government friendly business ally.’

A few, however, consider him most suitable for this honour, as one from humble background who shook off the mud to be considered relevant for courting by banks, who have strongly backed virtually all his initiatives financially.

Another vital factor is the age advantage. In his early 40’s, he has embarked on gargantuan projects in the nine figure range.

His investments span hospitality, insurance, oil and gas, human capital development, real estate, etc.

…ACQUIRES 500POUNDS HOTEL IN LONDON

Words filtering in as at press time reveal that Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim is on a spending spree once again. He is said to be on the verge of acquiring Cumberland Hotel, Central London, in the United Kingdom. Details are still sketchy, but his business history shows his flair for hospitality business.

Prior to this Cumberland Hotel purchase, he has in his kitty Nicon Hotel, Ajuba, Hilton Hotel, Lagos, among others.

It is yet to be clarified which financial institutions provided the back up for the acquisition of the said hotel.

CEMENT PRICE WAR STARTS NEXT WEEK: OTEDOLA TO SELL AT N700 PER BAG, JIMOH IBRAHIM NICON CEMENT ON THE WAY

Who holds the Ace?

Who holds the Ace?

When the Federal Government approved licenses for 13 Nigerian firms to import bagged cement into

Nigeria, the Government’s stated intension was to put an end to short supply and ensure the crash of price of the product in the country. Yet, most Nigerians would not still believe the prospect of a crash in price of cement, because, according to cross section of Nigerian residents in Lagos State, when prices of commodities go up in the country they don’t often come down.

Some suggested that a cartel had perfected its stranglehold on the supply side of cement that no matter what measure the government puts in place, as it had over the years, the strong cartel had always found a way to undercut supplies thereby sustaining high prices for the essential building material.

This state of helplessness may, from next week, start changing with the direct involvement of Mr. Femi Otedola to get involved on the supply side and manufacturing of cement. According to a source close to the Epe-Lagos State born businessman who had made a name for himself in the petroleum downstream sector, Otedola’s first shipment of his Otedola Portland Cement (OPC) would be launched sometime next week with a strong identification with Nigerians desires to be able to buy cement at affordable price.

“I can surely tell you that OPC is about being offered to Nigerians and in the character of chairman (Otedola) the product has to be affordable. I think the retail price that is been considered for the 50kg bag of cement is N700. That is about 40 percent slash from the current market price. Chairman believes that this price slash will help break the backbone of the monopolistic cartel that had dominated the cement market for a long time.” The source that is directly involved in the landing of OPC confided in FORTUNE & CLASS.

Otedola has a record of price dumping, a business model that another source in his Zenon Oil & Gas Company said, has by and large, impacted on the mass of Nigerians.

“For Otedola, a little profit is better than huge gains. You remember he blazed diesel price slash in Nigeria when the petroleum product became so scarce and expensive. It is simply about adding value for Nigerians who are in dire needs of products that are, otherwise, common goods but had now turned essential because of the activities of monopoly inclined operators.” The source said.

“I can tell you that we are planning an elaborate launch of Otedola Portland Cement starting from Mushin, the densely populated suburb of Lagos which would symbolize the populism appeal of the cement.” The source directly involved in the cement landing explained.   

 “Even beyond this, I can also reveal to you that Chairman is putting finishing touches to selling petrol at his AP stations for N59. You can expect this in the next six weeks. This would naturally force competitors to also reduce price for the benefit of Nigerians.”

Coming on the heels of recent rapprochement between Otedola and Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, Chairman of the NICON Group, might have also persuaded the lawyer businessman to consider diversifying into cement manufacturing in the country.

“The idea is to flood the Nigerian market heavily.” The source informed. “What Chairman told Barrister Ibrahim is that if he comes into the supply side he would also be helping to make cement available to Nigerians at affordable prices. I am aware that very soon Barrister Ibrahim will be announcing the arrival of NICON Cement.”

AFTERMATH OF FALL-OUT WITH DANGOTE:FEMI OTEDOLA SEEKS ALLIANCE WITH JIMOH IBRAHIM

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.