Nigerian billionaire, Femi Otedola has let out a deep secret of what former Military President, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) asked him to tell ex-President Goodluck Jonathan when his former boss, Umaru Yar’Ardua was sick.
According to Otedola, IBB asked him to tell Jonathan to sit on the empty seat of Yar’Adua in the next Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, as a result of the logjam caused by the former president’s absence when he was sick.
The billionaire, who released the details in his forthcoming book on business lessons, sent greetings to IBB as he clocks 80 years on Tuesday.
In the book obtained by Channels TV, Otedola said he was worried by the tension and uncertainty then when Yar’Adua was sick, and that he decided to do something on his own.
According to him, in the first week of February 2010, he went to Minna, Niger State, along with Hajia Bola Shagaya, to commiserate with Babangida over the death of his wife, Maryam.
He said at his Hilltop residence, they spoke on a wide range of issues, but that he told him he needed to discuss an urgent and vital issue with him.
Otedola disclosed that Babangida took him to his study, where the two of them were alone, saying that he told him that the state of the nation had been agitating his mind.
He said he asked Babangida how the country could get out of the political logjam, emphasising that the political heat at the time was “too much”.
Otedola added that 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.”
He said he found what IBB told him fascinating and assured him that he would pass the message across, adding that he travelled back to Abuja by road in the evening and went straight to have dinner with Jonathan and did not waste time in delivering Babangida’s message to him.
According to Otedola, Jonathan nodded and asked him what he thought about IBB’s suggestion.
He said he laughed and told him, “Be a man, Your Excellency. Go and sit on that chair! He looked at me for some time and responded that he would think about it.
A week later, on Tuesday, February 9, the National Assembly adopted the famous ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ to make Dr Jonathan the Acting President pending the return of President Yar’Adua from his medical leave. Behind-the-scene moves by prominent Nigerians preceded this decision.
“The legislative resolution was unprecedented, but the nation had been tensed up. The fault lines were so stoked that an unusual solution was needed to address the unique situation.”