Many years after they served in different capacities under different administrations, Nigerians are asking where they could be now. ELEOJO IDACHABA writes.
Anthony Kojo Williams
Anthony Kojo Williams is a former chairman of the then Nigeria Football Association (NFA) now Nigeria Football Federation (NFF); however, his tenure did not last more than three months on account of what many say was his arrogance and high-handedness, for which he was impeached by the board members. In the election that brought him to the glass house, William, who was the youngest ever to have occupied that coveted position, defeated a much older and experienced Col. Abdulmumin Aminu (retd.) to secure the seat. The man, who has been absent from the national scene since his removal as NFA chairman is described by a popular newspaper as, “A man of colourful character and vast means who is blessed with looks and a physique that belies his age. The only reputation he has left behind for his readers to read about him is that after he left the glass house, he walked out of his earlier marriage blessed with four children and remarried only to leave again.”
It was, however, rumoured last year that this Lagos socialite quietly took another wife in September 2019. He is no doubt the toast of beautiful women because of his background as someone born with not only a proverbial silver spoon, but with a golden spoon. This lanky, handsome, but well-built former NFA chairman turned 60 sometime ago. Writing about him in its editorial, a Lagos-based popular newspaper said, “In 60 years, he has blossomed into a man of affluence and integrity. 60 years may be a tiny fraction of time, yet he looms large across generations into eternity. The story of his exquisite manhood resonates with a pleasant appeal. He has overtime carved his niche in the business and social spaces, a magnate and entrepreneur of immense worth. His place in the pantheon of Nigeria’s most successful businessmen undoubtedly is assured by the impact of his earthly endeavours as he made his grand entry into the league of sexagenarians.” Almost 21 years after his removal, Dapo Sotuminu, a social commentator disclosed how it happened saying, “Barely three months after his ascendancy to the exalted position of the NFA chairman which was supervised by the federal government in a highly-controlled elections in Abuja, the same elements that saw to his victory which costs millions of government money ensured his speedy removal from office in a grand design well masterminded by top government sports technocrats who bowed to the pressure from within and without to save the future of the country’s football following a despotic and obnoxious reign by the young NFA chairman.
“The impeachment masterminds used the opportunity of the Super Eagles’ preparation for the Nations Cup in Papendal, Holland, to strike and articulate the plans to dump the NFA chairman who had become uncontrollable. His harsh words for staff of the NFA were unbearable. The harsh words also extended to other football stakeholders across the country as no-one was spared the rod. The masterminds also capitalised largely on the short temper of the chairman who believed so much on his aristocratic background as a yardstick for how he should be treated by members of the football family and Nigerians in general. Before, the grand plan, it was gathered that the masterminds paid an official visit to the Presidential Villa where they met with President Olusegun Obasanjo to brief him about their plans. President Obasanjo gave his approval after he was made to understand that the continued stay of William in office would cause the country more harm than good.”
He has not recovered from this since then. His last known public appointment is as member of the football governing body FIFA from 1998 – 2010.
Chief Yomi Edu was the former minister of commerce before he was deployed to special duties ministry under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999. To those who know this former minister from Lagos state, he is a simple man who follows the strict advice of his father when the man was alive. According to him, his father once admonished him after he was appointed minister saying, “This is not the time to rejoice. You can only rejoice when you leave office with your name intact, without blemish. Be mindful of what you do in government. Don’t get used to government privileges so that it would not be difficult for you to adjust when you leave.” Edu, who is a close confidant of former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, is someone who says it all not minding whose ox is gored, for instance, long after he left the cabinet, in a widely published interview in 2003 about his perception of Chief Obasanjo, he said, “As a president of the country, he means some good things for Nigeria but as a leader, the answer is no. I wouldn’t follow him as a leader. He is vindictive, he doesn’t know loyalty and he is deceptive. However, as a Yoruba man, I am aware that we don’t fight our elders. Obasanjo is my elder and our president, so I cannot fight him. That is how we were taught in Yoruba land. I am thankful and grateful that among 140 million Nigerians, I was given a chance to be a minister. My experience was an eye opener because that was my first time in government. I learnt a lot in terms of how government works and how decisions are taken. It was a useful experience personally.” For some time now, not much has been heard about him again either on the political scene or business scene.
Olusola Obada was both the former deputy governor of Osun state from 2003 to 2010, as well as former minister of state for defence and later as substantive minister from 2012 to 2013. A member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), she was a member of the Goodluck Jonathan/Sambo Campaign Organisation in 2015, but her efforts and those of others could not return the party to power, the reason for which she appeared to have lost out entirely since then. Her last known public appointment was as chairman, governing council of the Federal University Dutsin-Ma in Jigawa state, a position that ended shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari dissolved all appointments made by the PDP administration preceding him. Apart from few society weddings and public function this former minister attended, not much has been heard about her again.