Recently, visionary business leader and philanthropist, Segun Adebutu has been the subject of vicious attacks by detractors determined to bring down his family name, soil his reputation and sap political will out of his brother, Ladi Adebutu, who has indicated interest in Ogun State’s gubernatorial race for 2019. Ladi is a PDP gubernatorial aspirant in Ogun State and member of Federal House of Representatives, and both Ladi and Segun are sons of the Premier Lotto founder, Chief Kensington Adebutu, popularly known as Baba Ijebu.
Although Segun Adebutu has no interest in politics and is known to go about his business away from the prying eyes of the media, his landmark project, the Petrolex Mega Oil City at Ibefun, Ogun State, has become handy to adversaries who are ready to drag his family name in the mud. They have initiated a campaign of falsehood and generating contemptible stories that are demonstrably false and libellous. Apart from his personal life being scrutinised and misrepresented, his businesses are also not spared.
On July 17, 2018, it was reported by the media that some aggrieved contractors stormed the Ikoyi headquarters of his company, Petrolex, protesting and demanding for payments. Shockingly, the picture of alleged protesters circulated by the political crooks was of journalists taking pictures of the Ibefun Tank Farm during a media tour on December 5, 2017.
A further probe into the matter has revealed that the claims are malicious and are in a deliberate attempt to malign Segun Adebutu’s hard-earned reputation by virtue of his brother’s ambition.
Sources close to the mogul revealed that he has been in Europe from early July, up until now to court investors for his Mega Oil City refinery project which is fully coming on stream in the next few years. This was also completely contrary to utterly ridiculous media reports contrived by detractors, in which they accused him of hiding from spurious contractors.
A Russian news platform reported that “Petrolex invited Russia to develop oil and gas fields in Nigeria.” Segun Adebutu was at the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation on July 10, to discuss Russian-Nigerian cooperation and potential investments in the oil and gas sector. From there, he has travelled to other parts of Europe canvassing for investments in Nigeria and has decided to make no comments on most of the false allegations.
It must be very overwhelming for Segun Adebutu to be the victim of enemies of his brother’s political aspiration, despite his lack of interest in politics. In coming months, it has become evident that political rogues would stop at nothing to discredit any of the Adebutus. “It is irrational to accuse Petrolex of indiscriminately holding contractors to ransom, and there is no explanation for this falsehood that won’t find its root in dirty political play,” a close source said.
As a philanthropist, Adebutu has adopted over 400 vulnerable children, through his foundation, Oladiran Olusegun Adebutu Foundation (OOAF) and he is responsible for developing over 500 youth-led micro-enterprises and setting up pioneering youth entrepreneurship programmes in Lagos and Osun States, as well as the Aso Villa Demo Day, which was attended by Mark Zuckerberg in 2016.
Undeterred, Segun Adebutu seems consumed by his drive to unveil the second phase of his Mega Oil City project which will deliver a 250,000 barrel-per-day capacity refinery, a gas processing plant, a lube plant and other feedstock industries such as fertiliser plants in the next few years.
Following the commissioning of the largest tank farm in sub-Saharan Africa in December last year, Segun Adebutu has invested as of now, over $500 million into the legacy project. By 2021 the company is projected to employ 10,000 people directly and indirectly, impacting over 2 million lives while improving distribution of petroleum products by over 500 percent.
Taofeek Adesanya is an Ogun-state based political commentator