Like a bolt out of the blue, a massive lighting then of unparalleled brilliance, he came on the scene gbam! No day then would go that his name wouldn’t come up in some kind of conversations or chats, in awe, like there was never any one like him before then. He was then seen as the ‘unrivalled, unequalled benevolent and cheerful giver’. Many around him, many who got in contact with him either by chance or deliberately, many who did business with him or the many brands/establishments he founded then, would never forget this man in a hurry. For him then, everyday (hour, minute, seconds, period, chance, opportunity) was a good day.
Dude knew had to spend money, and that was because he seemed to have lassoed money (held it in captivity) to utter submission. He just knew how to send money on errands and we mean money in the most valuable currencies available were his servants, his house boys. It was like he had it in a limitless amount, like he had a bottomless well of it available, behind his house that was loaded with and overflowing in currencies that matter, be it Pound sterling, Euros or Dollars. According to even the unconfirmed legend then, businesses in some of his then companies were conducted strictly or denominated in foreign currencies chief of which was the US Dollar.
He was a magnet that attracted so much to himself then and the magnate with the supposed ‘midas touch’ whose very touch turns anything to gold and we heard then of the kinds of gifts, which were out of this world too that he gave then to those deserving of such, like houses, cars like Rolls Royce, Rolex watches or other brands and more.
That wedding ceremony of his 1st son-Oluwatosin Omokore in Dubai, the UAE then to Faizar, the daughter of the then Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources could and would never be forgotten in a hurry.
He and his then business partner and super good friend, another extraordinary billionaire then, in the person of the awesome ‘Kola Akanni Aluko’, dazzled all of Dubai to no end, like no other black person had ever done before them and after them, until maybe the emergence of the ‘spendthrift extraordinaire and ‘alleged international fraudster’ Raymond “Hushpuppi” Abbas, who until he was arrested and deported to the US recently to face the law for his uncommon atrocities, bestrode Dubai like an unbelievable royalty with unlimited amount of money, the highest one can imagine.
At that wedding of the year then in June of 2013, a whole weekend was dedicated to the incomparable Africans from Nigeria, who had come to show them in Dubai, the actual colour of money. Apart from Omokore taking over 2 floors entirely -the 37th & 70th floors of a certified 5-star hotel- JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai, many other 5 star hotels also fell in line and were also taken over the likes of -The Address, the One and Only etc, mostly paid for by the ‘impressive benevolent billionaire’. At the wedding proper itself, the kinds of gifts that were given out to the VVIP guests (the guestlist was strictly 1400 people) were totally unbelievable then, just imagine things like full Arabian tea sets, full luxury bathroom towel sets, Black Berry Q10 phones (the most awesome phone then), Samsung Galaxy Tabs, Bang & Olufsen Sound System speakers. Wizkid, Naeto C and a foreign band that had taken part at the American Idol Reality Series and had come 3rd performed at the wedding and the deejay that did justice to the day was none other than Nigeria’s best then- ‘DJ Jimmy Jatt’. There were more than 20 distinguished Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in attendance, just like there were many serving Governors and former Governors in attendance too and there were at least 3 first class royal fathers also in attendance, led by the then Ooni of Ife, the ‘exquisitely impressive’ late Oba Okunade Sijuwade, the Olubuse. Dubai that week had one of the highest number ever of private or chartered jets arriving the town for the wedding from across the globe. The opulence of that outrageous wedding whose conservative estimate was between $8 to $10M dollars then, was part of why the dad of the bride was said to have been immediately relieved of his post after returning from the wedding ceremony.
With a holding company called ‘Energy Resources Group’, the umbrella under which were the famous ‘SPOG Petrochemicals Ltd’, ‘Real Bank Ltd’, ‘Cedar Oil and Gas Exploration Limited’ & ‘Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts’, the Isanlu town, Yagba LGA, Kogi born ‘then’ billionaire and then PDP stalwart had it so good that other billionaires who should normally have the mettle were pushed aside into near oblivion, like they didn’t know what they were doing then, neither did they know what the time then was saying while he the king of money reigned supreme. Energy Resources Group’s annual turnover as was claimed then was said to have been a colossal $400M dollars!
But then, the alarm bells suddenly began to ring that things weren’t going to continue the same way again as it used to be and that a major change had even begun, most especially when the then President Goodluck Ebele Azikwe Jonathan, GCFR of the PDP, had lost the election to return as the President of Nigeria, meaning that the then Minister for Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Dieziani Allison-Madueke, who was a close friend and associate and benefactor of Mr. Omokore wasn’t going to come back too. And then like they say suddenly ‘the cookie began to crumble’, things began to unravel so fast right before his eyes, it was like a mad unprecedented, unencumbered tumble from the hilltop down to the valley. The speed of the tumble was quite unbelievable even Jack and Jill would have been astonished by it all. Things just began to go steadily downhill, the title of that famous novel ‘things fall apart’.
In 2017 just 4 years ago, the then SkyeBank now Polaris Bank where Lagos State Government is the supposed owner/highest shareholder bared her fangs, as the bank wanted to recover an unprecedented N110B (one hundred and ten billion Naira) in ‘unresponsive loans’ that had been given to Omokore’s companies namely Atlantic Energy DrillingConcepts-N56B; Cedar Oil and Gas Exploration Limited-N22.4B; Real Bank Ltd-N31B, incidentally, the MD of SkyeBank Plc then, is the now Senator Tokunbo Abiru who some claim is being prepared to be the future Governor of Lagos State, who incidentally was an Executive Director at FirstBank, when Omokore had also gotten a N120B (one hundred and twenty billion) in unresponsive loan, it was later that Tokunbo Abiru moved to SkyeBank as the Managing Director/CEO, where Omokore’s companies also got the N110B.
While the clamped down was coming from all sides like it was raining clamp down; on the side of the EFCC through Magu, the fraud police then also came after the man, his associates and his companies too for a staggering total of $1.7B said to be due to Nigeria, which was said to have been diverted into personal pockets. AMCON wasn’t left out too in the drama as its sledgehammer also came down heavily. AMCON took over the assets of Cedar Oil and Gas Exploration Ltd one of the brands founded by Omokore which were seized for debts to the tune of N29B in 2019.
The assets from Cedar that were clamped were Block A, No 46 Gerrard Rd, Ikoyi which comprises of 26 flats value of which was put at (₦5,210,520,515) then, Plot 1236, River Niger St, off River Benue St, Maitama, FCT, Abuja; Marion Apartment, Block 8, No 4 & 5, Onikoyi Estate, Banana Island consisting of 43 units of Apartments valued at ($76,160,000 million) then; 33A Cooper Road, Ikoyi which was (renovated) for ($4,937,750M) dollars then, Mason Apartments, 6 Gerrard Road, Ikoyi made up of 60 units of 3 bedroom apartments valued at ($78,000,000 million) dollars then.
Before the above or while all of the above were going on, the US through her ”Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative”, a searchlight initiative of the US Government to ‘seize any alleged proceeds of corruption’ had beamed her light on some of the valued assets of both Omokore and Aluko valued at about ($144 million dollars) as they went after the businessman and his business partner Kola Aluko, seizing from them a total of approximately $66M in cash traced to some banks as follows- $25,000,000M in LDT Switzerland, $1,000,000M in Corner Bank, Lugano Switzerland, $40,000,000M in Deutsche Bank Geneva, $175,000 in HSBC London. This staggering amount didn’t include assets like their humongous properties dotting exotic locations around the world in the likes of the US, UK, Canada, France, Switzerland etc owned by the duo to the value of millions in dollars and others that were also clamped too. 58 best of the world machines of intimidation (first class cars) of different makes that money could afford were also seized too.
In fact, when the going was good, Omokore as a very cheerful giver, donated N800M for vehicles for his party, the PDP; a donation he did then via the PDP national vice chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, he also later donated another N130M, again also for vehicles but now to Dieziani and others at the NPDC. Between Omokore and Aluko then -both men transferred $69,912,981.15 to different companies for various acquisitions then.
So for as long as the reign of the Bashorun was, he wasn’t a hidden figure at all, there was a time, it was claimed that he was the highest single shareholder in a bank that’s presently one of top 5 banks in the country, where his highly cerebral wife was even an executive director then, with many even speculating then, that maybe she was going to become the MD of the bank after the tenure of the then highly celebrated MD would have ended. But that didn’t happen afterall.
So just imagine then that the same man, who was so conspicuous, so in our face then, with his SPOG Petrochemicals, Fivatek Nigeria Ltd, Innovative Haulage Ltd and Expedia Marian just to mention a few of his brands all bubbling then like they were the only ones in existence and he himself was the ultimate toast of the world, across the many continents. But just like he appeared then like a meteorite, a flash in the pan, it seems like his glow has now burnt out and he is now just a shadow of himself now, not even a tiny whimper is heard about him today.
Just imagine that all of the razzle-dazzle, the extreme razzmatazz, the fanfare, the flash that brought on so much paparazzi, celebration, encomiums and more of just a mere 10 years ago is no more! It has ceased! In between that decade of yore, even Forbes got up to be counted as one of those that acknowledged the deep pocket of Otunba Jide Omokore, who some that used to pray to be like him used to refer to as the ‘lord of money’, some even used to refer to him because of his undoubted benevolence as the ‘blesser of people’, while many also addressed him as the ‘godfather’.
Gone are the days when the mere mention of the name of this ‘moneyed colossus’, some would immediately stand at attention, even as he may not be present there physically, that was how awesome his aura was, but now we don’t even know where he may be and what he may be doing. Also those companies of his seem all to have gone totally off the radar.
Where is Bashorun Jide Omokore?
If by the grace of God, (great miracles do still happen we know) and he bounces back into public reckoning again and with as much as he used to control then again, we can bet our last kobo on it, that he would gladly prefer to live a more circumspect life, devoid of any attention whatsoever again.
Still we would love to hail him as one of those who let people dream.