Maduka/Ubah faceoff: Questions, more questions! By Olayinka Olaleye

But while the war rages on, what has become apparent is that the truth is buried somewhere beneath the propaganda

 

The drama that is currently playing out in the media, involving two ‘heavyweight’ sons of the industrial town of Nnewi, in Anambra State, is becoming interesting by the day.

From all indications, the (Cosmos) Maduka/ Ubah (Ifeanyi) faceoff does not appear to be an issue that will soon go away. The war (well, that’s what it is), is being fought in the law courts, and also in the electronic and print media, with indications that it would soon become a communal issue. It does appear, however, that the matter has passed the stage at which the traditional ruler of Nnewi and his cabinet can handle, contrary to what Dan Ulasi, who would like to be seen as a troubleshooter in the ongoing war, hinted on Sunrise, the Channels Television breakfast programme, a few days ago.

Ifeanyi Ubah, the chairman of Capital Oil, had, for several weeks, been in the news for the wrong reasons, namely, alleged involvement in the fuel subsidy scam, for which some oil marketers are currently standing trial. Ubah, it was alleged, had got the federal government to pay his company subsidy benefits for fuel it did not supply. And just when the public was trying to find answers to the whys and where-to-fores of the allegation, Cosmos Maduka, the president of the Coscharis Group, came into the picture, raising the alarm to the effect that a brother, Ubah, whom he bailed out of trouble, had turned around to bite the finger that fed him and, in a curious twist, plotted a sinister move to put him (Maduka), in trouble.

Ubah has, since coming out of incarceration, been crying foul, alleging a grand design involving the minister of finance, Access Bank and, wait for it, Maduka, to run him out of business.

The point must be made that both men in the centre of the current war are what we usually refer to as ‘men of timber and caliber’ in the Nigerian economy. One is an industrialist of no mean repute, with significant contributions to the growth of the Nigerian auto industry and the transport sub-sector, while the other is a major player in the downstream sector of the oil industry.

From what can easily be discerned, there was a business relationship involving Maduka and Ubah, over the importation of fuel. Maduka says he intervened to assist Ubah secure a facility from Access Bank of which he is a director, when no bank would grant him facility, on account of the alleged bad record he has across the financial sector. But even then, the Coscharis boss could only secure the facility by using his own name. And being the calculating risk taker that he is, he got Ubah to guarantee him, just in case a situation like we are witnessing today occurred. And because he isn’t a Mother Teresa, or a Santa Clause, Maduka, who can perceive the smell of money just like any other businessman, made sure he benefited from the business for which Ubah needed his assistance.

The Capital Oil owner, who is not known to have any connection whatsoever in Access Bank, on the other hand, says he helped Maduka secure a facility in Access Bank. Not only that, Ubah allegedly pledged many of his company’s assets, including a choice property on Banana Island, as collateral for the loan.

All went well with the business of importation of fuel, with the first six consignments delivered and the proceeds properly accounted for, and both parties smiled in satisfaction, well, until something happened to the seventh consignment! Maduka says one year after the vessel conveying the fuel was supposed to have berthed in Nigerian waters, following in the footsteps of the first six, there has been no trace of the ship, its cargo or the proceeds that should accrue from the sales. He contends that even if Molue, the popular Lagos mass transit bus, was used to convey the fuel from its point of purchase, it would have arrived Nigeria a long time ago. Ubah argues that the consignment arrived quite all right, was sold, and the proceeds deposited in the vaults of Access Bank, where they can never be traced, hinging this bizarre argument to the supposed machinations of Maduka and Access Bank.

The Maduka/Ubah saga is nothing other than a business transaction gone awry. It is typically what happens when transparency is in short supply in a business dealing or, for that matter, any dealing. In analysing the fallouts of the multi-million dollar fuel importation business that has now obviously fallen on its face, there is need to ask some salient questions.

With about 38 years’ active involvement in the Nigerian economy, Maduka is not known to have ventured into any business and failed. Indeed, he has been a pace setter in the different sub-sectors of the auto industry which he has been involved in. If he found attraction in the fuel importation business, why would he need to climb on Ubah’s back to achieve his aim? Who helped who? For a man whose name opens doors within and outside Nigeria, including financial institutions, why would Maduka need Ubah’s assistance to secure a loan facility in a bank in which he is a director? It cannot be that Ubah has exclusive knowledge of the intricacies of fuel marketing, such that a Maduka would need his help to navigate the rough waters of the industry. If children of politicians and other money bags are using their fathers’ names to succeed in the sector, Maduka, who has been around for a long time, would hardly need Ubah to succeed.

Access bank is not a charitable organization. Its first objective for being in existence is to make money. So, why would it connive with Maduka to withhold proceeds from a business for which it granted a loan; indeed, why would it hide the proceeds in its vaults, with the full knowledge of the borrower (in this case Maduka), while making the latter pay a monthly interest of almost 400 million naira? Something doesn’t look tidy here.

Did Ubah watch the AIT interview in which Maduka alleged that he is a bad sale among banks? I expected the Capital Oil boss to slam a libel suit on Maduka, with AIT joined as co-defendants. But as I write this, the man has yet to take that action.

What is the interest of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Aig Imokhuede and Maduka in running Ubah out of business? Ubah did not say Maduka is seeking to take control of the downstream sector of the oil industry, nor did he reveal that the three own a company that is involved in the importation of fuel. And if we have to contend with the bring-him-down syndrome that is common in Nigeria, are we to believe that the London court that has frozen Capital Oil’s assets worldwide in connection with the deal is also working in collaboration with Ubah’s adversaries to ruin him?

I watched Ubah on Channels Television when he appeared to give his own side of the story. I saw him brandish some documents which he threatened to read from, but he did not read any portion of the document till he left the set.

We are watching a battle whose end is certainly not in sight. But while the war rages on, what has become apparent is that the truth is buried somewhere beneath the propaganda, to be unearthed only by the truly discerning.

Olayinka Olaleye, a company executive writes from Lagos


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  • zubair

    Mr Olayinka are u Mr Maduka’s PR Man..

  • kunle

    Let’s wait and see.

  • Mrs feyishara ajayi

    ifeanyi Ubah has always been a man of controversy over the years based on the press interview of Cosmos Maduaka. Never keeps to his words.

  • mrs bukky adeyemi

    cosmos maduka’s agitation is based on the fact that his involvement with ifeanyi ubah was merely for business transaction with stated agreement of terms which was breached due to the fact that he as a business man take’s very careful look at each business proposal weighs its risk and merits be for taking a final decision….but due to the dubious act of a fellow kinsman who posed as a brother….but as you can see from the video capture on channels all what Mr ifeanyi said were just white lies

  • victor adams

    with a close view of what am seeing here, cosmos maduka has just been betrayed, cos i see no reason why ubah would want to play smart on him after all the agreement they both had before any transaction was carried out…

  • norlyn

    Ubah should treat cosmos as a Godfather. Ubah respect the finger that fed you.

  • Elijah mobolaji

    ifeanyi in his huge success within a short period in business,is due to deception,collusion and outright fraud.on my own perception,his business has been in leaps and bands of what i can call,fraudulent foundational existence.

  • bukky

    Ifeanyi Ubah is popularly viewed as a dubious business man. This is a some what seen in his interview , he does not look serious cracking silly jokes about a very serious issue bothring credibility. if he doesnt take this serious i wonder what he will take serious .

  • adams02

    @norlyn.. exactly, cos ifeanyi ubah has just starbed cosmos maduka in the back… someone who took a huge risk of vouching for you in other to get you out of your mess not knowing you already have a game plann on how to ruin him…

  • Uzo Charles

    This face-off between these two men of timber and cannibal doesn’t seem like an issue to be treated with kid glove. Maduka has vouch to follow Ifeanyi to every corners of the earth to ensure that justice is done. I am in support of this because with my little knowledge about this feud, Ifeanyi Ubah is simply playing a sympathy game to deceive the public and shift attention from the main issue.

  • EDET OBONG

    The chairman of capital oil Ifeanyi Ubah is just acting like a little kid that fell from a bike and starts blaming the pedals and the chains for making him fall relishing the fact that it was the same bike he rode on before crashing.how on earth will you just try to cry to the public on a business transaction that took place on the based on trust between himself and his fellow kinsman…he should just try to save some energy for tears latter because this is just the beginning of a catastrophe yet to unfold…

  • Mrs feyishara

    @bukky; that’s true I watch it too. ifeanyi ubah
    is just beating around the bush…… He’s not answering the questions that was
    brought before him, he was just involving prominent people and implicating
    himself……

  • adams

    if maduka had known ubah to be this crafty he wouldn’t have indulge himself in this issue at all cos i see no reason why someone who tried in fixing up your mess and you repay back with betray mind

  • andersonJFK

    This another kind of fraud and lack of trust from Ubah, he
    needs to put things straight in order not to tarnish his business name so that
    other firms wont believe he is been progressing through fraud and cannot be
    trusted….