Femi Otedola, a Nigerian businessman, has accused Tony Elumelu, the chairman of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp), of repeatedly backstabbing him during his most vulnerable business moments.
Mr Otedola made the revelation in a statement obtained exclusively by PREMIUM TIMES, which marks his first public intervention in the recent battle for Transcorp’s soul.
The billionaire recently divested his newly acquired stake in Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) to Mr Elumelu, effectively ending the race for the group’s top ownership.
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,” he explained.
“Curious to know, he asked what sort of meeting I had had 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.”
As of Tuesday morning, PREMIUM TIMES had not been able to reach Mr Elumelu.
Multiple phone calls to Rahmon Nosir, UBA’s head of external and media relations, went unanswered.
Mr Elumelu, as chair of Transcorp Power Limited, received the discharge certificate from the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) on Monday.
The discharge came one month after the National Council on Privatisation approved the BPE’s recommendation that Ughelli Power Plc be delisted from routine monitoring after meeting five key post-acquisition requirements.
Available capacity, capital expenditure, human resources, health, safety, and the environment, as well as corporate social responsibility, are all requirements.
The Ughelli Power Plant, which was built in 1966 with an installed capacity of 972MW, became an asset of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc in 2013 through the company’s power subsidiary, Transcorp Ughelli Power Limited.