Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The Prince Jide Adeniyi Exclusive Part 2: How I was rescued from Abacha’s underground cell—Prince Jide Adeniyi | Says “Abacha’s junta ruined my business” + Why KSA won’t wax an album for him


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'THANKS FOR COMING AROUND' Prince Jide Adeniyi says to the GDA


In this concluding part of veteran industrialist and socialite Prince Jide Adeniyi’s exclusive interview with Asabeafrika you will find and learn from a series of events that shaped the trajectory of the Ikare-Akoko, Ondo state born business man and one major event that almost brought the entire achievement of the Poatson Pleasure Ride founder down. He shared the story of his life with your Africa’s number 1 Celebrity encounter blog, Asabeafrika. Enjoy the excerpts.
My role in the Civil War
Can you share some of your ideas to the Nigerian Army during the Civil War with us?
During the civil war I was the one who introduced shoulder-flashes. I designed it and so many divisions and some battalions and lower units of the army like Pay & Records, Nigerian Army Signals, Nigeria Army Electrical and Mechanical Engineering; I designed all their shoulder flashes so that we know the difference between the rebel soldiers and the national soldiers. Later we began to expand, we had artillery separately, we had 3 Marine Commandoes; we had so many of them from division to battalion. 
“This bus takes 53 passengers, we have business and executive class from here (Touches a section of the prototype); the VIP section takes 24 passengers. Then, from here, we have the bar, a mini-bar for leisure and eatery as the journey proceeds. When you enter from here (Touched the end side of the prototype) there is a bathroom where you can take your bath and the water comes out behind this tire and flushes away”.
Prince Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika....'Because of Gen. Buhari's anti social order stance, people couldn't move out and that gave the idea for Poatson Musical Jamboree @ TBS
That means you equally played a role in the Nigerian Civil War?
Oh yes o, I did.
Because I have it on record that late Chief MKO Abiola also played a role in that war in the area of technology?
I played a better role than anybody because my role was much of a humanitarian gesture to save my people from wanton killing and destruction from the enemy’s camp. From extermination, and in order for people to identify which side you are in the war front, I brought that idea and they bought into it and I was making so much money from it before I went back to England to specialize on some ideas that will enable me to go into commercial printing. I now begin to produce cassettes for the musician and their record sleeves.  All the Nigerian music stars and the companies that sold their records patronized me. All the companies, Decca, Sony, Philips etc, and majority of the popular and ever green music that you hear till date, I produced their sleeve.
The Three Musketeers; Alhaji Sakiru Animasaun, Otunba Jide Oshinubi & Prince Jide Adeniyi
How Gen. Buhari’s Policy gave birth to Poatson
 “When (General) Buhari came into power as a military head of state, Nigeria was very, very dull. Because there were so many laws and decrees and there was fear in the minds of everybody as they hardly go out. Because people don’t know which attitude of theirs can land them in trouble, so, you have very few people on the street. People were just afraid of new government policies and I said ‘So, what do I do?’ God just drop it into me that we should begin to do Poatson Musical Jamboree and I gathered all the best of Nigeria musicians and entertainers into Tafawa Balewa Square one Easter period and we ignited a great entertainment culture. We made the gate fee cheap, 10shillings for couple and 5 shillings for their children and you can’t imagine the multitude of people that came because a lot of Nigerians had lived without entertainment for too long. On stage we had Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, Ebenezer Obey, Victor Uwaifor, Bright Chimezie and many others. You know TBS is a very wide place and we erected stages at every part of the arena and the moment you come in, you can visit any stand or any musician that is your favorite. That was how Poatson Musical Jamboree started and we did it till Babangida became the Head of state and Nigerians became relaxed as social life resumed at all frontiers. We moved from Tafawa Balewa Square to Trade Fair Complex and we were doing it there and people love it, every Easter period we organize and that was how Nigerian musicians became known. Before my time, you hardly see any Nigerian artiste playing before 500 people but when I brought them to Tafawa Balewa Square, they started to face thousands of people and that catapulted their popularity.  Now, we had to stop because of charges from the musicians; they were charging me too much. At the time we were paying them the sum of Ten thousand Naira per performance which was the biggest performance fee as at then; we had King Sunny Ade, Commander Ebenezer Obey, Nicho Mbaga who sang “Sweet Mother” and Rex Lawson, Bright Chimezie and several others. 
“They came, I just heard ‘gba-gba-gba-gba’ on my door, and then I heard “Pika!” gun shot! On the key and they came in and drag me off. They just put me at the center and shielded me into their vehicle and we drove out. When I opened my eyes, I couldn’t believe it; I was in Abdulsalam’s house”.

Poatson Group Chairman, P
My flex with the Blue Chips
You also hard a factory doing so many things, can you tell us about that arm of your business?
I had my factory all along at Shogunle side where I produced all the Record Sleeves and later I bought into light packaging where we produced packet or container for Lipton Tea or any other brand. I worked for Coca Cola and several other companies that are into packaging. I was doing all those things and people were very happy with me.
Prince Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika.....'It was my creative effort with Poatson Musical Jamboree that made many Nigerian Musician become popular'
Why I went into transportation business
You were one of the earliest people who invested in transportation business in Nigeria. What happened to that business?
I will tell you the entire story behind my transportation business. There was a time I travelled to Brazil to purchase some light packaging materials and I saw those luxurious buses and I had a brainwave, I said ‘Oh, God, when will this type of buses get into Nigeria?’. I looked at it, looked at it and I was really disturbed. I will show you the prototype before you leave here. I was so interested in those buses that my business partner in Brazil noticed. He was like ‘why are you looking at this buses, the first day you look at the buses, the second day, you are still looking at them, what is your problem with this bus?”. I said ‘look, I want to cut down my order. I want to buy some of these buses’; he said ‘order should be cut down?’ I said “Yes, divide it by two, take half of the money and go and deposit it”. I was led to the factory and I was in that factory for two days. The factory where all those Volvo buses were made is bigger than Anthony Village from the main road to Ajao Estate. We had to drive round session by session and saw different brands of vehicles that is made in that factory and I said ‘Yes, I am going to buy these buses. So, I was able to buy only six busses and brought them to Nigeria. By the time the buses arrived, I zoned two to Abuja, zone two to Kano and zoned the last two to Ivory Coast. I was the first Nigerian to start bringing those types of Luxurious buses to Nigeria, it was my own business idea people like ABC Transport and the new set of transporters copied. They all met me there. Yes, they were using the old Mercedes type of long busses before then (Asked an aide to bring a proto-type of the buses—Poatson Pleasure Ride) But when I brought in this brand of vehicle they couldn’t believe it. This bus takes 53 passengers, we have business and executive class from here (Touches a section of the prototype); the VIP section takes 24 passengers. Then, from here, we have the bar, a mini-bar for leisure and eatery as the journey proceeds. When you enter from here (Touched the end side of the prototype) there is a bathroom where you can take your bath and the water comes out behind this tire and flushes away. It is the only bus brand that has that kind of facility. There is a television in it and there is a music section for maximum enjoyment. We ran Abidjan to Lagos and we ran Abuja to Lagos then Kano-to-Kaduna-to-Lagos. Until I got a place along Agege Motor Road and built a place for the buses terminus where they will be taking up and landing from their various trips. So, when our Oga, Abacha took over position of power, I don’t know who might have gone to report me to him, so, I fell into his trap. He said Tinubu and Co, I was the one ferrying them and the NADECO chieftains with my buses, making them to escape and he got me arrested.
“Each time I am sleeping, I will still be thinking that Abacha will get me any moment from now. I will hold unto my wife; if I hear noise outside that somebody banged door ‘gba’ or anything, I will start shaking. In fact the whole family was immersed with terror”.

And Abacha killed Poatson…
You mean you were incarcerated on the orders of General Sani Abacha?
I and MKO Abiola were sharing the same compartment. There is a barricaded barb wire that demarcated us, if he enters through the other end, I enter through another end and we were talking to each other. He always tell me ‘if you get home before me, say me well to my family’ and I do tell him that ‘if you get home before me, kindly go and look for my family’.
The GDA with Prince Jide Adeniyi & Best Friend, Otunba Jide Osinubi
Was it at Abuja or where?
Abuja Police Headquarters, the under ground cell, so, it was one afternoon they just came and took him (MKO) away and I was left alone in the gulag.
For how many months were you there?
I was there for six months.
Were you eating their food or your family prepared meal for you?
No, because I had good friends around, they bring me food and if I want to eat occasionally, they put me in their pick-up van and drive me to a restaurant outside, I eat and I equally buy food for them there and that was how I was living for a while.
“I don’t leave above my means. For you to live long, don’t live above your means, don’t try to show off. What you don’t have, don’t kill yourself over it, compete with yourself and not anybody else. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink and I have just a woman in my life and today I can say God has blessed me in riches, pedigree and earthly respect”.

Prince Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika....'I am First Nigerian to start luxurious bus business before other followed suit'
How Gen. Abdulsalami rescued me  
So, how did you get out of it?
My friend (General Abdulsalami) Abubakar did it; when they locked me up he was fighting them underground, he said ‘this boy didn’t do anything. He is only doing a business that requires encouragement’. He was fighting for me, fighting for me and fighting for me but they refused to listen to him. But let me tell you this; a soldier is a soldier. One day he sent one of his boys to me, that I should prepare to leave that place. I asked the man ‘how?’ I said ‘is this going to be possible?’ but the guy told me that I should not be afraid, that it is going to be possible, they are removing me here tomorrow that all I need to do is to dress up, that I should pack my things that night and hand over to him. So, I packed all my belongings that night and gave it to him and he went away with it. When they came in the next morning around 11am, they have studied the security apparatus in the place. Some of those boys have gone out, being a Sunday some went for worship and they had lesser people around. They came, I just heard ‘gba-gba-gba-gba’ on my door, and then I heard “Pika!” gun shot! On the key and they came in and drag me off. They just put me at the center and shielded me into their vehicle and we drove out. When I opened my eyes, I couldn’t believe it: I was in Abdulsalam’s house. When he saw me I was something else. Here (Touches side jaws) white bears have covered me and I was looking like an old man; and my wife was waiting in the house and Abdulsalami said ‘Well, your wife refused to eat’. He (Abdulsalami) said he has pleaded to them (Abacha government) passionately but they won’t listen. He said “they are all very careless, they don’t have the security in place and they will claim they have security in place. Now, you are here, how would they account for you?” he said ‘if they kill you now, they will not be accountable’. He said that is why he took the decision to rescue me because they may just come there one day and kill me. And just like that, you are dead and you are dead, nothing will happen. So, they called in a barber and they barbed my head, they massaged me and for the very first time I ate food cooked in the kitchen that I am hearing the odor. He now handed me over to my wife and they took us to the airport and I was back in Lagos. The only warning he gave to me before leaving Abuja is that I should not travel out. “Because if you travel out, they will finish you and you become a wanted person”. I should just remain in the house that he will make sure I am okay.
Prince Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika....'Day i received the news of Abacha's death, i declared surplus for friends & family'
And Abacha was still in power then?
Yes, he was still in office.  By the time we came back home I just saw battalion of soldiers they will just sit down, they won’t enter my house. They will just sit down outside there, sun o, rain o, they won’t leave the place. If I ask them to enter they will not enter. By that time you see some of them at the junction and major areas around this house. So, I had to lie low all through that period.
How news of Abacha’s death got to me
So, the day you heard that Abacha died how did you feel?
I didn’t believe it.
Prince Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika....'I never believe my friend, Gen. Abdulsalami could rescue me from Abacha's underground'
How did you get the information?
I say I did not believe it, I thought it was an April fool  thing they were trying to play on me even though it happened in June I thought they were pulling my legs. I was in my office when I heard it; my friend, Rasheed Gbadamosi the economist who happened to be a minister around that time called me to say ‘Your enemy is gone’. And by the time I got home, he was here and then we served wine, beer, it was a celebration galore. That was when I knew Abacha is not going to kill me. Each time I am sleeping, I will still be thinking that Abacha will get me any moment from now. I will hold unto my wife; if I hear noise outside that somebody banged door ‘gba’ or anything, I will start shaking. In fact the whole family was immersed with terror. My children, my aides, everybody, we can’t go out anyhow. It was a reign of terror all through. We were living in permanent fear and it was just by God’s grace we were going and coming out. Then, if I hear any noise outside my gate I will say “Ah, won tide o” and many at time, my wife will be the one to console me. It was so traumatic.
Prince Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika....'My company produced the Record Sleeves of many top Nigerian Musician today'
But when Abacha died, Abdulsalami your friend became the head of state; so, how did you feel at that time?
Ah, he is my friend. I was now entitled to enter Aso Vila and life started afresh for me.
After him Obasanjo came into power as a democratic president, was he equally your friend?
He is also my friend, he is a friend.
Will you say the Abacha’s incarceration was the saddest thing that happened to you in life?
I am still living but that time it was a horrible agony. Like I said earlier, I was living a life of terror. I begin to have grey hair.
Prince Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika....'My contribution to the Nigerian Civil War is more than any one else's contribution'
How old were you at the time?
I was just above 50 running to 60, what do I do? The crisis affected me, affected my economy, my life, everything came down because my vehicles could not move on Nigeria roads, I had to relocate most of the buses back to Ivory Coast. That was how we ended up; my wife said something that is giving you head-ache like this should be stopped. Sometimes, the army at Seme border will seize my buses, they will just stop them there and say they should go and call me and if I say I am not coming, they will say ‘if they want, let them stay in there’. Then I will talk to their Oga here in Lagos and they will now release the buses. Sometimes, for so many hours with the passengers inside; it was so humiliating and barbaric.
Prince Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika....'My experience with Abacha's arrest brought me a lot of psychological terror'
There is also this rumor that you sold your Poatson building at Airport Road after the crisis?
I have never sold any of my properties.
They said you sold it to Juju Music Lord, Commander Ebenezer Obey and the place is now being used for church activities?
Oh, you people know Ebenezer Obey is my friend; I gave the place for him to use for free. Not even for any monetary gain, I gave it to him because he has a church and he still has it up till today; a branch of his Decross Christian Ministry. He still runs his ministry till today and for us, it is a good thing to support the work of God through Obey
Prince Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika....'Poatson Luxury Ride was a first of it's own in Nigerian Transport Business History'
So, who is Ebenezer Obey to Prince Jide Adeniyi?
Obey is my childhood friend just like this boy (Jokingly touched Otunba Jide Oshinubi who was there during the conduction of the interview). We grew up together; he, Prince Awofisayo, Layi Amoje, Niyi Adegbenro and I think Obey did a record for all us as a group of friends before he did a special one on me.
Prince Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika....'We invented Poatson Pleasure Ride for a rare class of travellers but the Abacha junta killed the idea'
Why KSA didn’t wax an album for me
I think KSA also did an album for you?
Who is that?
King Sunny Ade
Noooo! He didn’t, he doesn’t like me.
Why?
I don’t know, he will do an album for everybody but once it comes to Prince Jide Adeniyi, no. that is a no go area (Laughter)
Prince Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika...'If KSA waxes album for every other celebrity, when it comes to Otunba Jide Adeniyi, he will skip it'
Did you offend him in any way to have warranted such attitude from him?
No. I can’t remember any offence I committed to warrant such action from him but I think he has his own reasons for acting that way and he alone can tell you why he did not wax an album for Prince Jide Adeniyi. I am very happy with the friendship I enjoy from Commander Ebenezer Obey. Obey is my bosom friend and brother for life. Go and listen to the album he did on me, I am proud of his sense of history, sense of delivery and act of loyalty. He is a gentle man; tomorrow is his son’s wedding and that is why you are seeing all of them here (Alhaji Sakiru Animasaun and Otunba Jide Oshinubi) we all going to leave from my house here to the wedding ceremony because it is a family affair. 
Prince Jide Adeniyi with Asabeafrika's GDA & Best Friend, Otunba Jide Osinubi during the encounter
How old are you now?
I will be 77 in October
So, what is the secret of long life and good health?
It is simple; don’t abuse your life span. Don’t do things that will make you to be anxious. Be contented with whatever you have gotten and you must also understand that this body equally has its own reaction. When your body need rest, rest; don’t do things to impress people; for instance the Obey’s son’s wedding we are attending tomorrow, some people will deliberately bring plenty cash just to intimidate and show off. Why should you do that? And after showing off, he will go back home and wont be able to measure up to his responsibilities. If I don’t have money in this house, I sleep over it and in most cases, my friends will come and we will gist and talk, drink and eat. This evening I am going to eat Ofada Rice and I will even give you some if you can wait. I don’t leave above my means. For you to live long, don’t live above your means, don’t try to show off. What you don’t have, don’t kill yourself over it, compete with yourself and not anybody else. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink and I have just a woman in my life and today I can say God has blessed me in riches, pedigree and earthly respect. My grand children visit me from time to time and I am very happy with what God has helped me to achieve through my children. What else can be better than that?
Asabeafrika's GDA displaying a prototype of the great idea, Poatson Pleasure Ride while the inventor, Prince Jide Adeniyi looks on'

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