Ex- chieftain of the defunct National Democratic Coalition, (NADECO),
Chief Ralph Obioha has revealed how his former employee, Mr. Yomi
Tokosi, plotted with erstwhile lawyer, Chima Okafor, seeking to deprive
him of his property at No.24A Ikoyi Crescent, Lagos.
Obioha laments that he employed Tokosi as the Managing Director of his
defunct First African Trust Bank, and also engaged Okafor as his
personal lawyer without knowing that the duo could plot to defraud him.
The soft spoken Obioha who was a front liner in the struggle to end
military rule in Nigeria, said he had in 1991 bought the land at the
cost of N2 million from the late renowned sculptor, Prof. Ben Enwonwu
who gave him the power of Attorney, Deed of Agreement, Deed of Sale and
Deed of Indemnity. He also paid Okafor N500, 000 to prepare documents
over the purchase of the land from Enwonwu.
The ex NADECO chieftain told Pointblanknews.com that Tokosi had
approached him to complete his then unfinished building at 24A Ikoyi
Crescent and share the units between them. They entered an into joint
venture agreement which stated that Tokosi was to perfect the land
title, build a first class finished building of the highest standard
well as ensure that all building approvals are gotten and his
consent(Obioha’s) obtained before any changes will be allowed in the
building. He disclosed that the joint venture agreement he made with
Tokosi on the property was handed over to his lawyer for safe keeping.
Now, he alleges that Tokosi has deviated from the terms of agreement and
plotted with his lawyer, Okafor, trying to take over the property.
Okafor claims that the joint venture agreement was consumed in a fire
which gutted his office in a building owned by Tokosi.
Narrating his ordeal to Pointblanknews.com, Obioha said he had
demolished a bungalow at the side and started erecting a building
through a firm, Multi-Project Limited, owned by Mr. Ademola Odutola who
was introduced to him by Tokosi in 1993. He paid Odutola N70, 000 Pounds
and he commenced work in 1993. Following the onslaught against him and
other NADECO chieftains by the General Sani Abacha junta over its
refusal of the military to swear in the winner of the 1993 presidential
poll, Chief M.K.O Abiola, Obioha had to flee into exile to USA which
lasted till 1998.
He said; “Political unrest rocked Nigeria following the refusal of the
military to swear in Chief M.K.O. Abiola as the winner of the 1993
presidential election. The truncation of Abiola’s mandate predicated a
massive unrest with General Sani Abacha assuming full military powers
and I, being a front liner in the struggle fled into exile in the USA,
partly for my safety and most importantly, to continue with the struggle
for the restoration of democracy. Multi-Projects continued with the
construction of my property at 24A Ikoyi Crescent, reached foundation
level and had to stop as my flight to USA which we believed will be
brief turned from months to years. I didn’t return to Nigeria until
Four years after his return from exile and the property lying
uncompleted, the ex NADECO chieftain said Tokosi approached him to allow
him complete the building on the basis of sharing the four units ; two
each to himself and Tokosi. He explained that Tokosi also agreed to
perfect the Certificate of Occupancy of the land and other fees.
Obioha lamented that the agreement to allow Tokosi complete the
unfinished building and share the units between them was his major
undoing as the latter rented one of the two units belonging to him
(Obioha), paid rent thrice and declined further payment since 2018 while
still occupying the unit.
He said; “Tokosi rented one of my two units, paid rent for three years
and stopped. He started claiming that the property belongs to the Lagos
State government and not me. Out of curiosity, I sensed that Tokosi must
have engaged in some fraudulent practices because many documents started
disappearing from the file.
“My erstwhile lawyer, Chima Okafor, called me in the USA and announced
that he will no longer act as my lawyer, that I should return
immediately to Lagos and collect my property file with him. When I
returned to Lagos after a week, I discovered that Tokosi and Okafor had
concluded a plot to take over my property .Okafor refused to honour any
invitation for us to meet, except once and did not return the property
file to me till date. We spoke on phone and he said there was a fire
incident in his office which consumed my property file.”
He accused Tokosi of having a hidden agenda and collaborating with his
lawyer, Okafor, to take over the property. Obioha further stated that
he had earlier handed over some documents including the agreement he had
with Tokosi, to the lawyer for safe keeping.
“Tokosi wants to use Okafor to deprive me of my property. The missing
joint venture agreement which my former lawyer claimed was burnt in a
fire incident that took place in Mr. Tokosi’s property was contrived to
destroy evidence particularly the part that established things that
Tokosi was to perfect the land title, build a first class finished
building of the highest standard, ensuring all building approvals are
obtained and consent obtained from me before any changes will be
allowed. It was convenient for all these agreements to be burnt by fire
as alleged by Tokosi and Okafor. If there was a fire outbreak, there are
laid down procedures that must be followed. Why didn’t the duo obtain a
police report of the incident? As my then lawyer, why didn’t Okafor
swear to an affidavit of facts over the incident and obtain CTC of the
burnt documents and make them available to me? It was a planned scheme
to take over my property. The two of them were of the mistaken
conviction that if they succeeded in claiming that the documents were
burnt by fire, then Tokosi will simply inherit the property. It took my
producing printout from my bank, UBA, that Okafor was paid N500, 000 for
his services to prepare necessary documents for the purchase of the land
“Tokosi and Okafor were aware that the enforcers of the Abacha junta
invaded my country home in Arondizuogu in Imo state and carted away
title documents on my property holdings in Nigeria including the ones I
received in respect of 24A Ikoyi Crescent. I felt secured that my
lawyer, Okafor was in safe custody of the original documents of 24A
Ikoyi Crescent. In 2006, Tokosi informed me that Okafor had told him
that the deal I gave him (Tokosi) was a sweet one that he should give
him one of the four units and I dismissed the information. But now, I
“Tokosi, who was the managing director of my bank, also told me Abacha
closed the bank because of my NADECO activities. But it is regrettable
that I was betrayed. Tokosi believes that the documents to the property
are out of sight, this is why he is shouting that the production of the
documents is all he wants. He has even made false claims that the land
doesn’t belong to Prof. Enwonwu, but to the Lagos state government. This
is a sinister plot to make a tenant, Tokosi, a landlord through the back
door. He was paying rent on the unit he rented and suddenly stopped. I
bought the property at 24A Ikoyi Crescent three years before a friend
introduced Tokosi to me and I made him the Managing Director of my bank.
“He has made several petitions against me to the Ikoyi Police Station.
Tokosi has brought several gangs of thugs, one of who assaulted my boy,
Kingsley Mbonu. Due to the extent of the assault, the Ikoyi Police took
my boy to the Police clinic at Falomo. I have lost count of the number
of times he has brought purported officials to seal my property. I have
been arrested over 20 times by the Police on flimsy reasons.
“Each time, the Police told him to maintain peace. Tokosi has also
dragged me before the Lagos land grabbers committee who washed their
hands off the matter because they discovered he has no case. He has been
playing the ethnic card that he is a Lagosian while I’m Igbo, but that
is nonsense. I knew he was a Lagosian before I employed him as Managing
Director of my bank. How did Tokosi jump into the property and start
developing it? Ask him to produce bill of quantities, submit all the
technical drawings and get his collaborator to produce the agreement
between him and myself. If the agreement is produced, it will expose the
many lies of Tokosi who now claims to be the landlord.”
Contacted, Tokosi said the issue is that he and Obioha had a joint
venture agreement on a land he (Obioha) claims to be his and Lagos state
later objected to the claim with proofs.
In his words; “I erected the structure and completed it with money. I
gave him two after the completion and after awhile, Lagos State
Government came and said they own the land. Instead of him to go there
to ratify things, he did otherwise.
“He’s my friend. He’s a very good man. I like him. I was the Managing
Director of his bank for six years, I still respect him. Instead of
fighting me, he should go to Lagos State Government and clear things.
“Once he clears things fine. When Lagos came, he ran to the US, my
investment was at stake, so I had to regularize things. So, if he clears
with Lagos State and pays me my money which I spent, he can have his
part of the property.”
He alleged that Obioha employed the service of some thugs to come and
vandalize his property which he claimed led to the arrest of the thugs
who confessed to him been paid by Obioha to do what they did.
Obioha’s erstwhile lawyer, Mr. Chima Okafor, who was former Commissioner
for Commerce and Industry during Governor Peter Obi’s regime, said he
was in a meeting and promised to call back. Repeated calls and text
messages was made to his mobile number, but he never responded as at the
time of filing this report.