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Hakeem Bello-Osagie , Etisalatís Top gun Seals New Billion-Dollar Property Deal in Abuja
 By Danlami Nmodu           newsdiaryonline.com       Thursday April 16,2009              


He is a renowned  top gun within the financial circles in Nigeria .His fame came to a peak when he became Chairman/CEO  of the United Bank for Africa, UBA .Recently , he joined forces with other  investors to roll out , Etisalat yet another impressive  GSM service provider. He is Hakeem Bello ĖOsagie .Those who know him say he knows how to navigate the corridors of power. His rise to fame  is directly linked with such tremendous  prowess ; of course with his intellect and derring-do to boot.

Such is Hakeemís skill that he has surprised those who always thought he would end up in a ditch.He  seems to have  perfected the act of clearing hurdles to an artform.Even more surprising is his uncanny ability to emerge with big time investment moves one after the other.

Now, newsdiaryonline has learnt that Hakeem is deeply involved in another big property deal .He is involved in what has been dubbed the Jabi Lake Project in Abuja.It is said to be a multipurpose project with interest in hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and others.In fact newsdiaryonline was told by one of Hakeemís associates   today that the project encompasses retail ,commercial and residential developments.There shall be a three star hotel , another 5 star hotel and an international conference centre the project .Hakeemís associate confirmed that indeed he is involved in the property deal since he is the owner of Duval Properties Limited which is one of the promoters of the Jabi Lake Project.

Newsdiaryonline sources gave a conservative estimate of the project which they claim may be  worth about $1.2 billion.It was  further revealed that there are investors from SouthAfrica  and Abu Dhabi involved in this project.But Hakeemís allies debunked the claims.According to the associate who apparently got clearance from the topgun of etisalat, the new feasibility studies of Hakeemís new project are still being undertaken.The entire project is still at its planning stage .Therefore talk about the exact cost of the project for now is hogwash, he said.. Perhaps, the project may be worth more than the $1.2billion estimate earlier given by eagle-eyed sources in Abuja.

The funding for the Jabi Lake Project is equally intriguing. Newsdiaryonline learnt that the South African investors will contribute $800 million while the investment  partners from Abu Dhabi  will contribute $400 million.Sources said Hakeem may be using the Jabi land as collateral.This claim that he offers the land as collateral hurts the whizkid as his ally once described it as senseless:``I  mean it doesn`t make sense``

Sources said the  Jabi  Lake Project will be located on a 30 hectare piece of land in Jabi, one of the choice areas in Abuja.Newsdiaryonline learnt that Hakeem got the land while Nasir el Rufai was the minister of the Federal Capital Territory.It was said to have been given to Hakeem  as a favour from el Rufai.The  former minister and the banking czar are known to be very close friends.Efforts to hear from Hakeem proved abortive.After about three weeks of  delay , he eventually urged his associate to speak on the questions newsdiaryonline raised through an email sent to him by proxy.His business ally who eventually held brief for him told newsdiaryonline that Hakeem had traveled out of the country, thus setting the stage for a long -drawn  waiting game.The  ally however denied any special favour done to Hakeem by El Rufai.True , he said the piece of land was acquired during the reign of El -rufai ,but he added that the Certificate of Occupancy was secured when Moddibo was FCT minister. Newsdiaryonline was informed  today that  Adamu Aliero, the new FCT minister has also reviewed the project  and  has given his stamp of approval to the Jabi Lake Project.``The point I want to stress is that the land was acquired through due process by Duval  Properties and all the required charges`` ,Hakeemís aide said ``were paid in accordance with the payment schedule provided by the FCT``.

In spite of this reaction from Hakeem through his ally, Newsdiaryonline learnt that there is the feeling within some circles in Abuja that  having used el Rufai to secure what he wanted, Hakeem may have joined the growing rank of el Rufaiís friends who have abandoned him in these trying times .`I don`t know  why el Rufai is so unlucky with friends .Most of those he made multi millionaires have abandoned himí, said an insider .Hakeem through his associate failed to respond to this.ííI wonít be drawn into this.It is side-talk, his friend told newsdiaryonline today.

The former minister  has been investigated by the senate committee on FCT . The Committee`s report accused him of reckless deals with regards to land and property .But an attempt to ban him from holding public office in future failed .His relentless criticism of the YarAdua regime earned him further anger from official circles as both the EFCC and Justice Minister have vowed to initiate extradiction moves to get him back to the country  and  face corruption trial

Sources revealed that most of those who benefited from el Rufai like Hakeem may have moved on as they are busy perfecting new relationships with those currently at the helm of affairs . For Hakeem though, things are looking up .While the man who allocated the land to him is in trouble , he is busy tidying the finer  details of his new deal .But there are fears that questions may soon be asked about the real value of the land.Was government shortchanged in the acquisition process? Was the land secured at a terribly low rate? No answers have yet been given.But the revelation today that Aliero has given his stamp of authority to the project  may be an indication that Hakeem  has indeed cleared all the hurdles.

Hakeem Bello is expected to survive in the shark infested business environment of Abuja.He has honed his skills since his early days as a special Assistant to one of former President Shehu Shagari`s ministers.The contacts he built  over the years have always come in handy .

His associates actually do not see any trouble in the horizon .They , rather, see the brighter side of this new deal, the Jabi Lake project which is modeled after the Victoria and Albert Water Front in Cape Town SouthAfrica.The project, one aide revealed will add to the beauty of Abuja.When flying into Abuja ,the  Jabi Lake land stares you in the face, the  ally revealed.He is quite thrilled that Duval Properties is working in partnership with Old Mutual Investment Group , the property arm of Old Mutual, a south African company.The project, he believes would boost tourism and create more jobs.It was further revealed that  a firm of architects has been appointed .It is a South African company working  along with Nigerian architects,said Hakeemís point man.But one of Newsdiaryonline sources said the South African  architect is  chalking up some lucrative sums of money for his job  and may have been smiling to the bank already .Even more, it was strange that Hakeemís friend was completely silent on the alleged  Abu-Dhabi connection in the new deal.



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