Tunde OyedoyinWednesday, November 27, 2002
London, UK


ven before Friday's cancellation of the Miss World beauty pageant, some dodgy and shady business dealings that would almost culminate in a legal tussle to prevent the contest going ahead was just around the corner. It all started when, after the charity gala at the leading West End hotel about three weeks ago, there were cries of foul play by one of the business associates of the organisers.

According to an eye witness, a lady, from the eastern part of Nigeria, was seen fuming and shouting that she had been defrauded by her Nigerian partners who were co-hosts of the event, which for security reasons, and not a protest-as reported by a London based newspaper was shunned by a member of the royal family. Why that in itself was scandalous and hypocritical, because a charity associated with him received some donations that evening, the lady stood outside the hotel soon after it was brought to an end around midnight, and promised fire and brimstone if her money was not returned to her.

I reliably gathered from two eye witnesses at the function that the sight was really embarrassing for Nigeria, judging by the calibre of guests in attendance and the presence of Nigeria's first lady, Stella Obasanjo and some other dignatries.While accusing fingers were pointed to a company linked to one of Nigeria's Ambassador of Sports, John Fashanu, my sources also disclosed that the first lady could not be exonerated from the deal.

To save Nigeria being embarrassed further, the fuming lady was urged to conceal her fury and settle the matter with her associates at another venue. Inasmuch as that was sufficient for that sunday night, the lady was said to have promised to continue her fight to ensure her money was returned to her. One source told me she was quoted as saying, she took a loan of about 250,000 to invest in the event and was terribly disappointed that the proceedings wasn't given to her from the gate takings, some of the tickets were advertised for as high as 1,000, but tables of 250 were also available. She even complained to some guests that despite her huge investment, she was not acknowledged by the comperes, while others shone like shooting stars.

Having vent her anger and to guarantee her money would be returned, the chambers of Lagos based activist lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi was said to have been contacted to seek legal redress with the possibility of getting an injunction to halt the contest unless she was paid her money. One reliable source disclosed to me that just last week, the lady was quoted as saying that calls were made to the occupants of the presidential villa in Aso Rock and a heated exchange transpired between her and them. There was no fruitful outcome from the heated argument, the source said, but the lady is determined she must get her money if the pageant is not to be halted by a court of law.

Although some sympathisers felt for her, one male source was quoted as saying she should not have had any dealing with some of the characters and individuals behind the marketing company due to their poor track record in the area of integrity and money. It is been said the some of the characters always tested positive for crookedness when it comes to business deals and money.