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In new book, Otedola recounts IBB’s role in Jonathan’s ascendancy to President

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[FILES] Goodluck Jonathan. Photo: TWITTER/GEJONATHAN

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Ahead of the 80th birthday celebration of ex-military president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), tomorrow, August 17, billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola, while felicitating with the retired general, yesterday, thanked him for the role he played during the political logjam caused by the prolonged sickness of former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2010.

In his forthcoming book on business lessons (scheduled for release in November), Otedola revealed that Babangida sent a message through him to then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to sit on the empty seat of the President at the next Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

With Yar’Adua failing to formally transfer power to his Vice President when he was flown abroad for medical treatment, there was tension across the nation as a result of the power vacuum, which led to public protests.

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Writing on the need for entrepreneurs to engage with political authorities in one of the chapters, Otedola maintains that such a relationship would benefit the country. He notes that entrepreneurs’ outreach and dialogue with political leaders, among many positives, will ensure stability and social coherence, guaranteeing economic progress.

“Worried by the tension and uncertainty, I decided to do something on my own,” he wrote. “In the first week of February 2010, I went to Minna, Niger State, along with Hajia Bola Shagaya, to commiserate with General Ibrahim Babangida over the death of his wife, Maryam. At his Hilltop residence, we spoke on a wide range of issues, but I told him I needed to discuss an urgent and vital issue. He took me to his study, where the two of us were alone. I told him that the state of the nation had been agitating my mind.”

Otedola said he asked Babangida: “Your Excellency, how can we get out of this logjam? The political heat is too much.”

“Calm and resolute, IBB replied: ‘Femi, advise your friend that when he gets to the Council Chambers next week for the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, he should go and sit on the President’s chair.’ I found that fascinating and assured him I would pass the message across. I travelled back to Abuja by road in the evening and went straight to have dinner with Dr Jonathan. I did not waste time in delivering General Babangida’s message to him,” he wrote.

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