The former President who was a guest speaker at the 2016 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum, said this while reacting to claims by Alakija that the Obasanjo administration frustrated her moves to explore the oil sector after getting her oil license from the lae military dictator, Sani Abacha.
According to Alakija who was also a panelist, the Obasanjo administration illegally took an oil block allocated to her company after her family had invested all its savings to strike oil in commercial quantity. Vanguard quotes her as saying
“This oil block is in 5000 feet depth of water and was extremely difficult to explore. It took 15 years from the time that we were awarded the licence in 1993 till 2008 when we struck the first oil When this event happened, 60 per cent out of our 60 per cent equity in the business, was forcefully taken from us by the government of the day without due process. We had to fight back by going to court to seek redress and it took another 12 years for justice to be served in our favour. In all those years it was my trust in God, my perseverance and the support of my family that got me going,” she said.
Obasanjo replied Alakija when he was given the microphone to speak at the event. He said
“There is a saying in my part of the world that when a proverb touches you and you failed to reply, then you are a coward. For you to come here and say that, for no cause whatsoever, you were denied what was rightfully yours, is not fair. I do not know you from Adam and there is no reason I would have denied you what rightfully belonged to you. So, you have struggled, and you have struck oil. God bless your heart. My delight is to be able to create Nigerian billionaire and I always say it that my aim, when I was in government was to create 50 Nigerian billionaires. Unfortunately I failed. I created only 25 and Madam, you are one of them” he said