A book launched at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos on June 12, 2021 is currently the subject of controversy between a writer and activist, Dr Uzor Ngoladi, and Chief Abimbola Aboderin, son of the First Republic politician and businessman, the late Olola Moyosore Aboderin, a foundation member of the Action Group.
The book, ‘Democracy and the untold story of June 12,’ recounts the struggle of business mogul, the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola before, during, and after the annulment of the June 12 presidential election and the biography of Aboderin, who was close to Abiola.
According to Ngoladi, he was contacted by a journalist, Sidney Nwachukwu to author the book in 2018.
“A proposal for the book was submitted to Aboderin which he refused to sign but rather agreed to provide all the logistics required to write the book. He also agreed to pay 40% of the proceeds when the book is launched to both of us,” the writer said.
Ngoladi said he commenced writing the book while Nwachukwu facilitated and coordinated the project as his partner.
He added that when the book written as a biography was finally ready, Aboderin read the draft and changed his mind.
“He pleaded with me to re-write the entire book as an autobiography because he desired his name to appear as the author. Aboderin disclosed that his life dream was to be a book author and he was ready to bear the financial implication of re-writing the book in the first-person narrative.
“Despite the fact that the book was ready for publication with the cover page bearing his name, I started work afresh. The new book was ready by late 2020 with Abimbola Aboderin’s name as the author. Aboderin was elated and reiterated his agreement to pay 40% of the launch proceeds to me and Sidney Nwachukwu but refused to sign contract documents as the book was about being delivered for printing.
“Chief Aboderin however made a U-turn after launching the book at Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos on June 12, 2021, and realised over N100 million.
“He vehemently denied his oral agreement with us, claiming that he wrote his book by himself. Aboderin says he only contacted me to review a book he wrote in 1994. He has been abusing and threatening me and Sidney since then. He did not involve us in the launch of the book. Bola Tinubu donated N10 million while Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu gave him N5 million. Chief realised over N100m.
“He is being mischievous and greedy. We are battle-ready for him. How can he claim authorship of the book after all the work I put into writing the book for three years? He agreed to pay us 40% of the book launch in his Lagos and Ibadan residence each time the issue was brought up for discussion.” Ngoladi who is also the author of ‘EndSARS: War Against Impunity’ alleged.
Meanwhile, lawyers to Strategia Blast Ltd, the publishing firm owned by the writer have written Chief Aboderin, urging him to adhere to his agreement or get ready for a legal battle.
Speaking to SaharaReporters, Chief Aboderin claimed he wrote the book in 1994 and only contacted the duo to review it.
He said, “The book was written by me in 1994 and I paid so much money for him to review it. His lawyer, Ubani wrote to me and my lawyer wrote back. Don’t mind them, I told his lawyer everything, I have the original copy of the book. All they want is money from the launch which I have not even gotten. I have paid Uzor millions of Naira, just to help him. He said his family has a problem. Uzor is a crook, he slept for four months in my hotel and couldn’t pay, I have to let him go.
“Please don’t mind them, they are criminals. They don’t know what they are saying. How old was Uzor when Abiola was alive? I got my master's in America as far back as 1979, Uzor was five years old then. By the time I started working with Abiola, he was fourteen years old. What did they know about Abiola, I’ll send you a copy of the original book. They were young guys who didn’t know anything in 1992.”