Emma is a senior colleague, distinguished in looks and deliberate in mannerism.
As I exited the cafeteria at the Green Legacy Resort at the Obasanjo Library, I happened to see him seated regally in the lounge.
I sat with him. I like him. He is a senior colleague. a well-known investment banker and finance professional who had excelled in our industry.
Working with the legendary Henry Imasekha, he berthed the very first post-modern mall in the country-Mega Plaza.
They went on to execute some landmark transactions that have made them mythical figures in our space.
It’s no wonder that when Lami and I wanted to buy the then Etisalat, it was to Emma we ran to.
We had placed a bid for Etisalat on the premise that we wanted to buy it back for Nigerians. Our plan was simple. We would galvanize 100,000 Nigerians to invest $1,000 in an SPV, list the SPV, and then use the vehicle to take the firm.
The authorities took us seriously as we got to the last 5. We were published on the front pages of most serious newspapers, including Thisday, and we were in pole position to win the bid.
It was at this point that we felt we needed firepower, so we went to Emma.
He listened very carefully to our pitch and began to systematically direct it. By the time he was through with us, it was very clear that even in the unlikely event that we won, we would still face a herculean task in running it.
So by the time we received the email at midnight, we had been dropped, and we were no longer enthusiastic about it.
This didn’t stop us. Lami has a lion heart, and I am the dreamer. Once I dream, Lami will say “oya.”
So I said, “Let’s buy Bank Phb.” The bank had over N60b in deposits and assets running over a trillion.
We put together an investor fund and raised over N22 billion in one month, enough to get the CBN interested in us.
We submitted the bid and started doing the groundwork. We went to Emma again and he dissected their finances and said, “Guys, if you have raised this kind of money, go start your own.” They won’t give you any, because all your investors are from one part of the country.
A fact as simple as that didn’t cross our minds, and it was not to our surprise when the email came-thanks for your bid…..
So here I was with Emma in Abeokuta discussing Nigeria. His politics are right of center, obviously. His take on leadership is the same as mine, and his positions on almost everything from the economy, health, and social impact go hand in hand with mine.
He sees potential in new leadership taking over. He believes that sanity in the legislative arm would provide the much-needed oversight that would correct things.
He is very strong on liberal democracy and very open to building practical alliances amongst tendencies for the better good of the country.
Edgar, I am going into the Senate, “he tells me a matter of factly.” I mentioned time.
He says he listened very carefully to OBJ and agreed with most of his postulations and disagreed with his position on succession.
I listened very intently, as I would when serious people are speaking. I have made up my mind, “he continues, and I believe this is the time.”
I strongly endorse and support his candidacy because it fits very well with my belief that intellectual strength should take over the legislature.
Instead of running towards the presidency as the legion of motivational speakers are doing, the new leadership should concentrate on the legislative arm of local government, through state houses of assembly, to the two major chambers.
With people like Emma stepping up, hope is rekindled and I remain excited.
Well done, my brother. We are behind you.
The Shomolu Duke