The ongoing business crisis facing Emeka Offor, one of Nigeria’s most controversial contractors in recent decades, is far deeper than SaharaReporters revealed last week, a fresh investigation has revealed. Mr. Offor’s financial downfall has led to the closure of his offices in Abuja, his companies’ failure to pay staff salaries for more than a year, and long drawn fights with numerous suppliers and creditors.Last week, SaharaReporters had disclosed that the controversial government contractor, who was once frequently described in the media as a major financier of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had fallen on hard times since Muhammadu Buhari became president on May 29, 2015, following his defeat of former President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP in last year’s presidential election.
Sources within Mr. Offor’s family and erstwhile corporate circles disclosed that the hamstrung businessman, who hails from Oraifite in Anambra State, is experiencing serious health challenges and an unprecedented family crisis.
One of Mr. Offor’s cousins told our investigator that the embattled businessman’s eyesight has been deteriorating progressively in recent years, leaving him a step away from blindness. A former corporate aide who had traveled with the businessman in the past revealed that Mr. Offor also has a heart problem as well as a problem with diabetes. “It is possible that it is the diabetes which led to the other complications, including his failing sight,” a medical expert told our correspondent.
Mr. Offor’s home front is probably more in disarray than his health. Last January, his first wife, Nkiru Offor, whom he married in December 1982, as well as her children stormed Mr. Offor’s village of Irefi in Oraifite, Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State, and created mayhem in the near-bankrupt businessman’s palatial country home. Along with her children, Mrs. Nkiru Offor, who resides on Osborne Road in Ikoyi, Lagos, arrived at her husband’s home in Oraifite and chased away all the domestic staff, changed all the door locks, smashed most of the expensive drinks in the house and destroyed all the pictures Mr. Offor took with his third wife, Adaora, a dropout from the Law Department at the Enugu Campus of the University of Nigeria at Nsukka (UNN). The businessman’s wedding to the former law student was celebrated at Oraifite on January 3, 2014, at a lavish ceremony where thousands of iPads were handed out as gifts to hundreds of guests.
“Nkiru came with her children to take physical control of the Oraifite residence because they are afraid that our brother [Mr. Offor] will hand it over to the third wife,” said a close relative of the businessman. He added: “You see, Nkiru had just survived a mild stroke in Lagos. She told some of us that she believes the stroke was a spiritual attack from Sir Emeka Offor and Adaora [Mr. Offor’s third wife] in an attempt to kill her. She also complained that our brother [Mr. Offor] hates her children.”
The source revealed that Chuka, Mr. Offor’s thirty-something year old first son with his first wife, continues to reside in London where he loiters daily because he has no job. The source declared that Mr. Offor had refused all entreaties to employ the young man in one of his companies. “Sir E. [a fond name for Mr. Offor] said Chuka should not work in his companies, claiming his son is not a graduate. And when Nkiru now bought a Range Rover for Chuka, a big fight took place between her and Sir E.”
Mr. Offor’s troubled relationship with his first wife has been exacerbated by the fact that their first daughter has two children out of wedlock for a young man who hails from Ondo State. Several family sources disclosed that Mr. Offor’s first daughter has been living with the father of her children for several years. “The young man wants to marry Sir. E’s daughter, but Sir E. refused to accept him as a son-in-law, insisting that he is above his daughter marrying a man who is not from a very wealthy home.”
But some of Mr. Offor’s relatives said they found the embattled businessman’s aristocratic airs quite laughable. “Was he [Mr. Offor] not a truck driver with a construction company before he made money during the time of Abacha?” one female relative wondered. She added, “Did he pass even one subject when he took his West African School Certificate examination at Abbot Boys Secondary School in Ihiala [Anambra State]?”
Another family member told our correspondent that Mrs. Nkiru Offor, the first wife, is about the only person Mr. Offor fears. Said the source: “When our father died in February and our eldest brother traveled to the village, he slept in a hotel because he could not gain access his house in Oraifite.” The source said Mr. Offor left quietly when he was told what his first wife had done with the locks, including locks of the residence he built overnight for his third wife toward the end of 2013. “Nkiru knows all his dark secrets, so he is careful not to provoke her easily,” said the relative.
Most family members appear to support Mr. Offor’s first wife, despite accusations against her by her husband that she is obsessed with fetish practices. “Even if she is into occult things, we know he [Mr. Offor] introduced her to those practices,” a female member asserted. “So why is he now complaining?” she queried.
SaharaReporters learned that Mr. Offor’s father was the only person who attempted to stop Mrs. Nkiru Offor the day she and her children were smashing and slashing things at his country residence. One family member alleged that Mr. Offor’s feeble father, who had suffered a stroke a few years earlier, got pushed down in the melee. “He [Mr. Offor’s father] soon slipped into a coma in a hospital and died one and a half months later,” said the source.
Some of the family members who spoke to our correspondents made no secret of gloating over Mr. Offor’s financial and other crises. They accused him of bluntlyrefusing to offer financial assistance to most of his siblings and other relatives when he wallowed in immense wealth.
“We strongly believe he belongs to a secret cult to which he swore never to assist family members, including those in desperate need,” one of them stated.
The relatives disclosed that only two members of Mr. Offor’s extended family benefited from his wealth. “The first person was our father who died since February but has yet to be buried because Sir E. is looking for big cash to spend during the burial so he can create the impression that he is still very loaded,” said one relative.
The source said the second member of the family to have benefited from Mr. Offor’s now dwindled wealth “is Onyebuchi whom he put into the Anambra State House of Assembly as a legislator last year, despite protests from voters and stakeholders in our constituency who said the election was not free and fair.”
Two relatives told SaharaReporters that Mr. Offor was close to his late father, but detested his mother because she often questioned his excesses. One family source said the controversial businessman had on several occasions sent his father on trips abroad, but never allowed his mother,who hails from Esanland in Edo State, to travel even to Lagos. Mr. Offor’s deceased father was a police officer, and was once demoted from inspector to sergeant because of a successful petition of bribery against him by Ignatius Nwabueze, the late leader of the Rosicrucian Order in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Bismarck Rewane, one of Nigeria's most respected economists and the chief executive of Financial Derivatives Consulting, has argued that, with the emergence of Mr. Buhari as president, many Nigerian millionaires, especially those enriched by fraudulent government contracts, would soon become ex-millionaires.
Mr. Offor, who has been pushing close friends like former Senate president Ken Nnamani to join the ruling All Progressives Congress in a move to ingratiate himself with President Buhari, may be one of the most dramatic examples of financial catastrophe striking erstwhile profiteers from corrupt contracts. Mr. Offor’s combination of financial woes, marital troubles and crash from political relevance, appear to make Mr. Rewane’s statement very prophetic.