Olusegun Obasanjo Former President on Saturday said in Lagos at the 2016 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum, that Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, Africaâ€™s richest woman by Forbes reckoning, was among the 25 billionaires he made during his tenure as President.
Obasanjo had used this medium to react to Alakijaâ€™s allegation, at the event, that the Obasanjo administration frustrated her effort when she ventured into oil business.
Alakija had previously alleged Obasanjo that his administration illegally took an oil block allocated to her company after her family had invested all its savings to strike oil in commercial quantity.
She said, â€œThis oil block is in 5000 feet depth of water and was extremely difficult to explore.
â€œIt took 15 years from the time that we were awarded the licence in 1993 till 2008 when we struck the first oil
â€œWhen 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.
â€œWe 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.
â€œIn all those years it was my trust in God, my perseverance and the support of my family that got me going.â€ Using her experiences as an example to charge the 2000 budding entrepreneurs at the event to be dogged, determined and not to give up in the face of challenges.
Obasanjo replied to the allegation by Alakija saying, â€œThere 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.â€
Obasanjo illustrated saying that the action of the government then was streamlined with the Mining Act, which regulates oil prospection and exploration.
He said, â€œFor you to come here and say that, for no cause whatsoever, you were denied what was rightfully yours, is not fair.
â€œI do not know you from Adam and there is no reason I would have denied you what rightfully belonged to you.
â€œSo, you have struggled, and you have struck oil. God bless your heart.
â€œMy 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.
â€œUnfortunately I failed. I created only 25 and Madam, you are one of them.â€
Obasanjo also used the opportunity to applaud the vision of Mr. Tony Elumelu for helping to build African young entrepreneurs with his resources.