Some inconvenient facts are invariably being exposed by the financial headwinds currently buffeting Wempco, the premier steel company owned by the Chinese. According to reports, a raft of policy reversals by the Nigerian government plunged the import-dependent multinational into the red such that several thousands of jobs are now threatened.
But the tabloid angle to the deepening adversity is the resolution by the gasping corporate titan to offload its pearl in the hospitality sector, the Oriental Hotel (a five-star resource nestling the Lekki side of the lagoon in Lagos) for a whopping $250m (N90b) to save the entire group from sinking.
For those addicted to media gossip, that revelation must have come as a rude shock indeed. For, part of the negative profiling of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the last twelve years by political adversaries is the consistent retailing of the false narrative that the hotel is his. Such reading seemed reinforced by the decision of the hotel management to name one of its lounges after the former Lagos governor at take-off.
So, overall, perhaps the few objects or spaces in Lagos whose ownership have not been traced to Tinubu yet would include the notable cemeteries and the Atlantic Ocean that straddles Lagos State.
In fact, when the for-sale tag was first sighted over the towering hotel on some online platforms soon after the recent general elections, the easy conclusion of the usually resourceful gossip media was a screaming headline that Jagaban, who was co-chairman of the Buhari Campaign, had become broke ipso facto. So, one of such platforms declared, with authority, even if without investigation, that he had decided to auction the pleasure castle to regain his financial breath.
Oh! Maybe Jagaban’s forebears actually descended from a remote province in China and the folks at Wempco, who have been in business in Nigeria for forty years, are his alter ego after all.
Surely, a liar’s mouth never bleeds, as they say.