Billionaire business magnate, Dr. Ernest Nnaemeka Azudialu-Obiejesi is presently battling to save his reputation from nose-diving into a state of infamy.
Azudialu-Obiejesi is the Group Managing Director and CEO of and Nestoil, a leading indigenous oil and gas company with interests in the upstream and downstream sectors. He also sits on the board of Julius Berger, Smile Communications, among others.
A couple of weeks ago, Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), swooped in on the astute businessman and sealed his expansive residence on Modupe Alakija Crescent, formerly known as Ikoyi Crescent.
The ultra-modern property was marked with the anti-graft agency’s signature red ink, indicating that it was under investigation. However, after several hours, which were filled with numerous phone calls to some highly influential parties, the red ink was washed off the property.
Not only was Azuadialu-Obiejesi upset by this development, his neighbours were embarrassed as well, as they knew him to be a self-consciously gentile and decent man.
The momentary face off between Azuadialu-Obiejesi and EFCC was coming at a time when inhabitants of the serene and elitist neighborhood of Ikoyi Crescent feared that the fate that befell Festus Fadeyi, the head of Pan Ocean Corporation, an indigenous independent oil and gas business, would not be the lot of Azuadialu.
Last year, the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), had taken over Fadeyi’s opulent property, which had served as his family’s home for decades on the same street. Fadeyi’s Pan Ocean Corporation and its subsidiaries were taken over by the federal government agency due to unpaid bank loans totaling about N240 billion.
Although the reasons for the EFCC’s action are unclear, it is possible that Azudialu-Obiejesi is being investigated over allegations bordering on financial infraction.
It is pertinent to note that the business magnate once had a rocky relationship with Guaranty Trust Bank. The bank had solely financed, Nestoil Towers, his imposing 15-ﬂoor structure on Akin Adesola Street, Victoria Island. The charges leveled at the time was that he failed to service the facility he used to construct the towers.
The high rise structure is a N24 billion investment. The construction of the glittering edifice, built to serve commercial and residential purposes, was handled by Julius Berger.
Azuadialu-Obiejesi, 61, obtained his bachelor of science in accountancy from the University of Benin. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in Business Administration (DBA) from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also an Honourary Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE). He was a finalist in the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 and gained recognition from the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) for Industry Achievement of the Year Award 2014. Under his leadership, Nestoil companies were nominated in 2017 and 2018 by the London Stock Exchange Group as ones to Inspire Africa, being companies that generated vital employment opportunities, contributed to sustainable economic growth and are the bastions of best practices and good corporate governance practices.
A man of impeccable taste, Azuadialu-Obiejesi has a reputation for acquiring and collecting expensive luxury items. Also, he has a predilection for purchasing private jets and expensive automobiles.