I did not hear about you and never met you in your lifetime on earth. The first time I heard about you and your works, was on November 1, 2021, shortly after your 21 story building under construction collapsed in Ikoyi, Lagos, with deadly consequences.
A friend had called from Abuja to inform me that CNN was reporting a building collapse in Lagos and wanted to know if I was safe.
I called a friend, a regulator in the building sector in Lagos, whom I figured will know about it or know people who will know about the building. He confirmed the information and said, “the building belongs to one Ijebu man who came from London. He is from Ikenne, I can’t remember his name now”.
I then checked the social media in search of more information and found a letter allegedly written to you by the Engineering firm you had engaged on the project.
The letter was allegedly written sometime in February 2021.
The firm informed you about their decision to withdraw their services from the project because of some unethical practices that made it impossible for them to continue on and with the project. The letter disassociated the firm from the project and demanded that you remove their name from it.
It was from the letter I got to know your name, your company and the project-360 degrees.
My first impression after reading the letter was that you must be someone who is opposed to rules or due process — a corner cutter.
My impression was solidified by the trending images of you resisting officials of Lagos State Government from sealing the property for some violations; your interviews with TVC and other media organizations where you expressed disdain for professionals in Nigeria citing their over-prescription in respect of a generating set for your first project in Ikoyi; your pronouncement that you know how to do it all having done it yourself in the UK, USA, and SA; and your story of twice being “lucky” about the mistakes by authorities in London in approving an extra floor each in your two projects and how you defeated them at the commission or panel set up to investigate the issue.
Then I heard about you having approval for 15 floors and building 21 floors, and I said “this guy is clearly averse to rules”.
But then, I began to have doubts when the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Femi Hamzat contradicted the General Manager of Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Mr Gbolahan Oki that you had approval for 21 floors and not 15 floors.
I took a second look at the letter and found that there was no indication that you received or acknowledged it. The letter was also not copied to the relevant authorities in Lagos State, and no one in Lagos State has acknowledged receiving a copy of the letter.
A visit to the office address of the Engineering firm listed in the letter by a crew from a TV Station did not find them. So I don’t know if the letter is real or just done and put out to exculpate them. You are the one who can confirm or deny, and you are no more. You can’t speak or hear or respond to us anymore.
Femi, is it true that you were doing the project yourself by using direct labour without the input and skills of relevant professionals in the industry? Is it true that you refused to employ an Engineer because he is a Muslim and because you are a Pastor? Did you cut corners on the project by under-measuring materials and doing sub-standard works to maximize your profits? Did you disregard warnings and cautions from the officials of Lagos State Government not to go beyond 15 floors and resist them through force and connection?
These are questions that we may never get answers to because you have gone to the land of all flesh where you are unable to speak to us no matter how eager you are. We will never get to know what really happened. Your friends and family who should speak on your behalf are not talking because they are still mourning and struggling to come to terms with the tragedy. I hope they speak sometime in the future and state your side of the story and leave the judgment to us, God and men!
You were there with some people — workers, friends, clients, and potential buyers. Many of them died with you.
Your friend, Wale Bob-Oseni, whom you invited to come and see your project, died also.
You may have seen and reconnected with him in your new world and reality! Apart from you and Wale, 42 other persons also lost their lives in the tragic incident.
I’m not happy that you died in the crash or that anyone did, but I can only imagine what the narrative would have been if you had survived!
Some would have said you used the blood of the dead to do a money ritual so you can make more money and become richer.
Others would have accused you of deliberately staying away at the time because you knew what was coming, but you died in the crash and so the story now is that you killed them deliberately by your action in cutting corners.
We may never know the whole story. I also don’t know how you would live any meaningful life after the incident!
I have heard that the dead have residual power in some cultures and traditions and that they can speak to people through dreams and other means while their corpse is yet to be buried especially if they died prematurely and in some tragic circumstances.
I don’t know if the Ijebus have such a tradition, if they do, Femi, please invoke that power and do some things...
Speak to your family to stop fighting over your assets.
It is too early!
The reports of your siblings and wife fighting over your things are heart-rending.
Tell your friends and family who know about the true situation to speak up and separate the lies from the truth.
The truth may not bring you and those lost back to us here, but it will establish what really happened.
They can go to the Panel set up by the Lagos State Government and present your side of the story if they don’t want to talk to the press.
Femi, you lived a life of dreams. You lived a life of constant curiosity. You wanted to do what has not been done before in Nigeria. You poured your heart and resources into it, but it wasn’t to be. It came crashing for reasons we still don’t know.
You lived your life on your terms. You loved life. You danced and celebrated your dreams and realities. You lectured us on limitless possibilities. You died pursuing your dreams. May your soul and the souls of others who died with you in that tragic crash find rest in God.