Very early last Thursday, I received a text message from a respected senior banker in Lagos to whom I am very close.
He said the online reports which I relied upon to pass a Verdict on the Chairman of Oriental Energy Resources, Alhaji Muhammadu Indimi, was wrong because the donation made to Lynn University in the United States was $900,000 as against $14 million credited to him.
The man added that he knows Indimi very well as a quiet philanthropist who has made contributions to several worthy causes in Nigeria contrary to the impression created in my piece.
Since I had nothing personal against Indimi, I called the banker to express my regret over the publication about his friend but surprisingly, he replied:
“Don’t worry yourself too much, Segun.
“May be it would also teach a lesson because I am aware that it is some people around Indimi who actually sold the lie that he donated the entire $14 million for the Centre as against $900,000, thinking they were helping the man without understanding the implication of what they were doing.”
Even if that were true, it still doesn’t relieve me of the responsibility that I did my intervention on the basis of false publications.
In any case, I have also found out that Indimi has made several contributions to important causes in recent years so I was wrong on that score too.
I have for instance learnt that Indimi makes substantial donations to think-tanks and research centres in different parts of the country, including to a reputable Abuja centre recently established by a well-regarded former international diplomat.
Aside several projects by Oriental in its area of operations in the Niger Delta Indimi has also made personal financial contributions in the North East where he comes from based on the claims in the several mails I received which I have also confirmed.
The notable ones: In February 2013, Indimi donated a sum of N200 million to the federal government flood relief and rehabilitation committee.
In November 2014, Indimi donated a sum of five million US Dollars to the (Boko Haram) Victims Support Fund.
In May 2014, Indimi donated some multimillion Naira pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to the Borno State Government in addition to the Kidney Center he built at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
In August 2015, Indimi donated a sum of N100 million to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Adamawa State.
In 2015, Indimi offered scholarship to some students from the North East to study undergraduate and post graduate courses at the African International University, Khartoum, Sudan etc.
As I have explained to all the friends of Indimi who bombarded me with SMS, mails and calls, and were sensible enough not to accuse me of being sponsored against their man (as most Nigerians do), what the whole issue has shown very clearly is that to whom much is given, much is expected.
And to the extent that our system has given so much to Indimi and a few others, at a distressing moment like this in our country, any of them seen to have crossed the line is fair game, especially for our young citizens!
I hope Alhaji Indimi got the message as I tender to him my apology.
The verdict By Olusegun Adeniyi: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org