Betrayal: How Tony Elumelu Backstabbed Me-Otedola
Fred Omotara, Lagos
Nigerian businessman Femi Otedola has accused the chairman of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp), Tony Elumelu, of backstabbing him repeatedly at his most vulnerable moments in business.
Mr Otedola made the revelation in a statement that marks his first public intervention in the recent battle for the soul of Transcorp, obtained exclusively by PREMIUM TIMES.
The billionaire recently divested his newly acquired stake in Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) to Mr Elumelu, pulling the plug on the scramble for the top ownership of the group.
In his intervention Tuesday, Mr Otedola opened up on how he went bankrupt in 2008 and was betrayed by Mr Elumelu.
“I became Chairman of Transcorp Hotel in 2007 with a shareholding of 5% and unknowingly Tony gradually started buying shares quietly,” he began.
“By the following year in 2008, I went bankrupt in Nigeria. Tony proceeded to take my shares in UBA to service the interest on my loans and he also took over my shares in Africa Finance Corporation, where I was the largest shareholder.
“Shortly after, Albert Okumagba informed me that an American firm wanted to acquire my shares in Transcorp, which I then agreed to sell. However, this supposed American firm turned out to be Tony Elumelu. The revelation of this prompted me to resign as Chairman of the hotel.”
The businessman also alleged that in 2012, he told Mr Elumelu about his interest in the Ughelli power plant and the Transcorp chair “quietly went ahead” to outbid him in the acquisition of the plant.
“Years later in 2012 Tony said he wanted to see me, so we met in my office where I had previously had a meeting with foreign investors who had not yet departed the premises.
“Curious to know, he asked what sort of meeting I had with the foreign investors, and I disclosed that I wanted to go into the power business, specifically Ughelli Power Plant. Tony quietly went ahead to bid for Ughelli and he outbid me by offering to buy the plant for $ 300 million.
“And as some would say: the rest is history.”
Efforts to immediately reach Mr Elumelu as of press time on Tuesday morning failed as multiple telephone calls placed to Rahmon Nosir, the head of external and media relations at UBA, were not responded to.
Mr Elumelu, as chair of Transcorp Power Limited, on Monday, received the discharge certificate of the Ughelli power plant from the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE).
The discharge came one month after the National Council on Privatisation approved the recommendations of the BPE that Ughelli Power Plc be delisted from routine monitoring, having satisfied five core post-acquisition requirements.