Jonathan really shocked me with his ‘bad luck’— Prince Jide Adeniyi | + Untold story of “Mr. Poatson” @ 76

The GDA meeting the Poatson Chairman @ His Anthony Village, Lagos Mansion

Prince Jide Adeniyi is one of Nigeria’s oldest socialites and a business veteran of repute.
From an early age of his life, this Ikare-Akoko,
Ondo state South West Nigeria born
industrialist has learnt how to change his condition to follow suit with the
various trend of life.

If there is one thing the Ikare-Akoko born Prince does well, it is his ability to think and
do the right thing at the right time. From an early career as a young  broadcast engineer at  British
Broadcasting Corporation owned Rediffussion Services of Nigeria, down
to his experience as a military contractor with the Nigeria Army, media
practitioner at Daily Times and art
director at Academy Press down to a
swelling career as an entertainment entrepreneur before vying into
transportation business in the early 90s Jide
has seen it all and if he cares to give out a memoir at a later
date in life, it will not only be rich with facts but will make a lot of impact
on ethics of thinking one’s way through to prosperity and success in a society
like ours.

 A socialite per excellence, Prince Jide Adeniyi the founder of
POATSON Group of Companies with interest in entertainment, light packaging,
transportation and real estate is the father-in-law to African Hip-Pop Music
star Tuface Idibia as his daughter, Pero Adeniyi is the first woman to give
the Benue born music star his first three grown up kids.
 However, what many people don’t know about Prince Jide Adeniyi is his long time
relationship with the Nigerian military establishment right from the civil war
era down to the General Sani Abacha era when he ran into trouble
with the junta recording a horrible experience that nearly took his life.
For the very first time in history, Prince Adeniyi revealed the secret of
how he escaped General Sani Abacha’s gulag unscathed after six
months of horrible experience inside an underground dungeon he shared with late
Business Mogul and symbol of democracy, Basorun
MKO Abiola
. He gave the revelation during an encounter with your soar away
Africa’s number 1 celebrity encounter blog Asabeafrika
at the pent house session of his Anthony Village-Lagos mansion. Enjoy the
Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika…..’It is only under a Goodluck Jonathan’s
government that a thief will be brazenly promoted to become a senator’
It appears to me that you have seen
the good, the bad and the ugly times of Nigeria’s evolution. At this point in
time, how do you feel about the country?
I feel good
because if you want to talk of Nigeria today, we need to give glory to God
because this country is loved by God Himself. From the beginning of 1940s, 50s,
60s, we have seen several ups and downs but yet God still stands with us. We
went through the thick and thin of
war; before Biafra war,
we had all sorts of divisionary problems in our polity. The political turbulent
of the first republic where people were fighting, burning houses, burning human
beings etc, all these were prelude to the Biafran-Nigeria Civil War. And with
the grace of God, we survived that but the irony of it all is that Nigerians
will never learn because if we learnt so well from history, the so called Shagari political era wouldn’t have
failed if only we learn how to govern ourselves and then, try as much as
possible to create room for the ordinary people. Instead, our politicians or
political leaders want people to hero-worship them when they get into power.
Weather in business or in politics, you always wants people to see you as a
mini-god that is the problem of this country. The Shagari era that was supposed to learn from the mistakes of the
first republic was later dethroned by the General
Muhammad Buhari
regime and he (Buhari) ruled within twenty months and we
were able to pay our debt and that government was able to put Nigeria in a
better stead. 

Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika….’I wonder how a boy like Goodluck
Jonathan from a wretched background feel good seeing Nigeria going
aground with the poor in a precarious situation’

All over the world, we gained credibility in the area of ethics
and discipline. But again, I remember the excuses critics gave against Buhari, they said he was using all the
economy resources to pay debt. And I can remember at the time, (General) Babangida claimed that even Britain and America owe debts. I am quoting him now, that German government owes debt and so, why should Nigeria not owe
debt? That Buhari did not give room
for development and that with his passion to pay off debts, Nigeria cannot move
forward. Anyway, it was a very simple coup and we thank God General Buhari’s life was spared. As at
that time, his deputy (Tunde) Idiagbon
was in Mecca. The situation in the military government at the time
gave no room for religiosity. There was nothing like Christian or Muslim. Your
ascension to power depends on your popularity in the society of the army. And
that was how the next coup was conceived and won. The gentle man, smiling President Babangida, nice man, he was
able to do all he can by moving the Federal Capital Territory from Dodan Barracks, Lagos to Abuja (Aso
Rock) in the Federal Capital Territory. He beautified and built Abuja because
the so called civilian regime of Shehu
did not do anything tangible. Because that is always the case with civilian
regimes, once they are there, they forget the people and start allocating resources
to themselves. They make it a colleague and associates thing and that is still
the bane of development in Africa and particularly in Nigeria till date. The
civilian regimes are always talking of party, party, party in stead of the

Prince Jide Adeniyi, Founder, Poatson Group of Companies
“But from the little we desire from
government, some people in government are still looting it. If somebody could
tell me that someone like Jonathan
and his group can destroy the economy of this country I will say rather, no.
Because he came from a background of poverty”

You saw some of these regimes from
Tafawa Balewa  downto Abdulsalami before
the 1999 return to democratic rule, which one is the best regime in your own
 IBB created a new & better capital for
Among all of
them, I will give kudos to Buhari.
His regime as a military head of state was the best. Yes, Murithala Mohammed tried but he didn’t stay long because he was
there for six months. We could judge Buhari’s experiment because he started on
a good note but they cut him short. So, I think the meaningful government that
we have in the past is Buhari then Babangida.
Prince Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika….’IBB is the Architect of FCT, Abuja’

Why would you mention Babangida. Till
date, opinions abound that his era instituted corruption. Why are you giving
him kudos?

That is very
wrong. It is totally wrong because we all knew what the NPN party did to the
economy of this country; you saw what they did when they were building Abuja;
all the houses are ramshackle buildings. Some of those buildings are still
there in Area 1, Area 4 and places like that, rubbish buildings built by the
administration of the civilian regime of Shagari.
They don’t add beauty to whatever they are doing but Babangida came and built Aso
he built so many roads, he built all those beautiful places in Abuja
and he invited big firms and top investment companies to invest in Nigeria.
“So, I don’t know somebody who went
through that same experience can get to Aso
and the entire country is coming upside down and he is feeling
comfortable. That comfort that he (Jonathan) is enjoying is what I do not
understand……And when they say somebody steals in your government, that person
gets promoted and become a senator. That kind of attitude I don’t know. I keep
asking myself ‘God why?”
(Cuts in) Are you trying to say IBB
is the father of modern economy?
He is the
foundation; he is the harbinger of modern Abuja.
He is the one who created Abuja and
who made it what it is today, although the place was discovered by Gowon’s government but IBB was the one
who achieved the dream of building that city. We should give honor to whom
honor is due, he has done that. I am not saying he is the best but he did very
well and he had time because he stayed long and he was there for over eight
years and nobody complained that much because he was doing what everybody can
Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika…’Having a Rediffussion box at a strategic
part of your house in those days was a status symbol’

Jonathan shocked me with his badluck

But IBB was seen as the evil genius
who did many things for many reasons?
(Cuts in), Gbenga, you see the citizens of Nigeria
don’t really complain. They need very little from the government; it is only
selfishness and wickedness that has made things gone badly to this level. We
don’t need so much, just give us good roads, give us light; give us water and
good health system including security; Nigerians will keep on dancing along. We
don’t need too much, we don’t ask for too much. But from the little we desire
from government, some people in government are still looting it. If somebody
could tell me that someone like Jonathan
and his group can destroy the economy of this country I will say rather, no. Because
he came from a background of poverty
Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika….’Right now we are clapping for Jonathan
for his democratic act, we shall know if we could increase the tempo or
stop clapping when Buhari starts governing in June’

(Cuts in) A humble background

Not humble.
I don’t call that humble, he came from abject poverty life. A wretched life, he
came out of nobody and God was with him and he got to where he is now and he forgets
about God, that is the problem. When you are too comfortable; most of the
people that seeks comfort, when they are comfortable, they don’t talk about God
anymore and they don’t remember where they are coming from and it is so
unfortunate that he (Jonathan) has to go like that.
Prince Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika….’In our own days, men have shame’

You mean in a disgraceful manner?

He has not
been disgraced until this man (Buhari) comes on board, when everything will be
unveiled then we will know where we are heading to. Right now he (Jonathan) is
a gentle man, he is going away. Let’s begin to clap. When they (New Government)
now get into the office and look at the situation then we will know if we want
to withdraw our applause or increase the tempo. It is just unfortunate for us
that the country that needs very little in the midst of plenty cannot see the
little they demanded for and somebody is swimming in million and trillion of
dollars not even Naira at the detriment of the masses of this nation. The roads
are bad, if PHCN can be giving we private citizens light at least to sleep in
the night and let industries have light in the day, let every other light come
in the night, Nigeria will not be like this. Because we are very, very
industrious and contented people, this country can live happily with maximum
satisfaction on very meager situation. But the government of the day chooses to
be greedy with even the little the people desire to live a decent life.
“Then you pay Five Shilling to
register yourself, the government will do the re-wiring and bring the box to
you and you will put it in an eye-catching place so that people going on the
street can see and hear that you have such a thing in your house”
Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika…’We thank God that even though Buhari was
sacked after 20 months in power, his life was spared to return to
finish his work’

Men had shame in the olden days

What was life like in the early times
of your life, did you ever imagined things could get worse to this end?
I can tell
you when I was very young, I saw Nigeria as a very, very promising country;
back to 1958-59 Nigerians were enjoying their style of life. With the little
you have, you could plan your life with your family and we honored ourselves.
We dignified ourselves in those days. We don’t go all around the place showing
off; do you know if a man is accosted by the police and he was taken to the
police custody during that time, everybody that hears about it will make it an
issue and that stigma stays with you; they will say ‘that man just returned
from the police’s gulag’ not to talk of somebody who got drunk and rode his
bicycle into gutter, next tomorrow, you will hear them say ‘ah, omuti ni’ (That man is a drunkard) and because men had shame
in those days there was a modicum of respect for everyone. Every home kept a
flame of integrity on because you don’t want to do a thing that will earn you a
bad name so that you don’t put a stigma on your family. Life was moderately
planned and enjoyable. In fact, not even many houses have light in those days.
In those days, they use either lamp and in some villages they use what we call “Fitila” or lantern and gas light. For
music, you don’t have all these home theatres, what we had then was gramophone
which you wine-up and play. And people going on the road will stop and dance.
So, I remember all those beautiful days. And in those days, we all didn’t have
shoes like the man in the state house (Jonathan) said he had no shoes. How many
Nigerians had shoes?
Prince Jide Adeniyi with best friend, Otunba Jide Oshinubi

I had no shoes like Jonathan…

So, you didn’t have shoes as well?
No, I didn’t
go to school with shoes. I started having shoes in Standard 2 and Standard 3
when I started wearing Tennis and when I finished Primary school I had what is
called “e standby”. It is a kind of
funny sandal that was reigning at the time and you had only one which you wear
on Christmas day or during a big celebration. Even eating rice as a meal was so
special at that time, you will be privileged to eat rice maybe if you are
living with the Head Master or you are living with an important dignitary and
you eat rice on Sundays. And nobody complained then, we were contented because
you don’t want to answer bad name. So, I don’t know somebody who went through
that same experience can get to Aso Rock
and the entire country is coming upside down and he is feeling comfortable.
That comfort that he (Jonathan) is enjoying is what I do not understand.
Somebody is stealing, the newspapers cry out the next day, everybody is talking
and instead, you said ‘go and shot down that press’. And when they say somebody
steals in your government, that person gets promoted and become a senator. That
kind of attitude I don’t know. I keep asking myself ‘God why?’
Prince Jide Adeniyi, Founder Poatson Group

Are you regretting that you are
seeing this bad episode in your life time?

I don’t
regret anything that I am not part of, I have not been part of failure. So, I
can never, never start to regret and kill myself over things I don’t get
involve in; you see the situation of this country is bad and those who are
doing all these things to us, God will not kill them but they will live to
regret what they have done.  That is my
prayer for them.
L-R; Otunba Jide Oshinubi, Gbenga Dan Asabe & Prince Jide Adeniyi

The untold story of my Life

Tell us how you started your life?
Success in
life is based on seriousness and hard work. If you are determined to succeed
and the road is open, maintain it seriously. When we were coming up there was
no favoritism. And that was what helped us to be successful. Your merit
counted. I can tell you how many printing presses we had in Nigeria when I
started. I happen to become a printer because in my youth days, I love art and
I do painting by myself and I encouraged other people to stay with me. I can
draw you as you are sitting now and make a great impression of your posture. I
started this as far back as 1953. So, I love things like that. When I finished
Primary School I moved to Secondary School and by 1958 I was out of Secondary
school. I asked myself what I should do with my life; so, I secured a job at Rediffusion, it is a broadcasting
outfit that supplies news to various homes direct from BBC. The wire comes from
to your house anywhere in Lagos, inside Lagos. The only prime
areas at the time were Ikeja, Agege and you have Surulere, you have Yaba
and you have Ebute Meta, Apapa and inside Lagos. Rediffussion as a device is a box, a
plywood box with a sticker inside. Then you pay Five Shilling to register
yourself, the government will do the re-wiring and bring the box to you and you
will put it in an eye-catching place so that people going on the street can see
and hear that you have such a thing in your house.

The Prince with his old friends, Alhaji Sakiru Animashaun (L) with Otunba Jide Osinubi (M)
(Cuts in) Was it a status symbol?
Not about
status symbol it is just an act of being your brother’s keeper by keeping your Rediffussion box in such an auspicious
corner of your house so that when you are going and you hear “Dindin dede dindin—de-den-dede” (Sound
of drum beat signifying news hour) you can jump down from your bike and listen to the news. That was
the level of openness and brotherliness in those days; the news was not read in
Nigeria, the news is being read in BBC in London and their machine will collect
the signal and through the transmitter it will transfer the information into
those boxes. When you have that in your house, you are a big man. So, to some
certain level it was a status symbol. There are two types, there is one called Deluxe that one is big, and every month
you pay 5 shillings for ordinary one and for Deluxe you pay 7&6 shillings. So, the box is in your house. I
was employed at Oke-Are in Ibadan. Then I was transferred to Akure, from Akure to my home town (Ikare). We were trained at Oshogbo from where I was transferred to Ilesa. 
The situation in Ilesa is
that I am an operator, I have my headphone, if you plug into the receiver
engine, you here the London broadcasting corporation, if the program being
relayed is part of your signal or scheduled for West Africa or Nigeria, you
pull out and plugged for general receivership and everybody hears it; the
receiver box is like a big fridge box size. Occasionally if I have information
to relay to viewers concerning in-coming programs that you want people to
listen to, I talk. I may talk in pidgin, English or local dialect so that the
information can go mass. We also had a lot of people who bring their programs
for slotting, they are like content providers. Programs like Storylines and
plays. At Oke-Are there, we had a studio,
so, we had Variety Show, and it is always coming at 1:30pm on Sundays. That is
where you bring in some Nigerian artistes, some good singers, some good story
tellers and comedians. We had several comedians those days and I really enjoyed
the experience as a foundation member. I was transferred from Ilesa to Akure and from Akure to Ikare which is my town and came back to
Ijebu. I worked in all the interior
part of Ijebu. By 1960, we got our
independence and I practiced for a while before I left because I wanted to
further my education. I always wanted to go back to school, even if i cannot go
back to the university; I wanted to improve my knowledge.

Prince Jide Adeniyi to Asabeafrika….’Every democratic dispensation in Nigeria never learn from the ills of history’

 I later joined
Niger-Soul Construction Company it is an Israelite company, they are the ones
who built Textile Mills on Oba-Akran Avenue in Ikeja. I was in charge of their earth
equipments that is roller, grader, dumper, concrete maker and all that, I was
in charge and I kept the record of how many hours each equipment served in a
day. From that point I gained admission to study at Yaba Technical Institute which is now known as Yaba College of Technology. There I went to study for my
profession, arts. After that I looked for work and I wanted to relocate from
Nigeria to England which I did and I was in England for so many years where I
enrolled at the College of Printing. From that point, I got myself well
educated and went into printing and on returning I joined Daily Times. There I was taken to Apapa, Bumer Road where
they had a big property where they operate Times
. I was there for two years from where I moved to National Cash Registry
(NCR) it is an American company with office at the beginning of Bumer Road. The man who employed me
there Mr. Bosen an American died in
the first Nigerian plane crash in 1967. From there I moved to Academy Press and from Academy Press, I resigned to start my
own company.

Why the resignation at that period
after working almost everywhere?
Yes, during
the civil war era I was very, very open when Babangida, Buhari were
young officers and Captains, Lieutenants, one of my juniors in Primary School, General Alani Akinrinade, we grew up
together in the army then, they helped me a lot…

The encounter with Asabeafrika taking place amidst friends at the Pent House session of Prince Jide Adeniyi’s Lagos mansion
My role in the Nigerian Civil War
(Cuts in) Oh, you were equally in the
No, I wasn’t
in the army. I was just there as a contractor. I was introducing new ideas.
(Watch out for Part 2 of the Prince Jide
Adeniyi Exclusive titled
“How Abacha Ruined My Business” coming
on this blog tomorrow. Kindly re-visit