For the rich, urbane and entrepreneurial brothers, Kola and Ayodeji Karim, many are praying and waiting with bated breath when they will cease hostility in a raging cold war between them. For almost two years now, the Oyo State-born famous Karim brothers have been in a cold war stemming from political supremacy and betrayal of trust. Same blood but two different fates: this isn’t a plot of yet another sequel to Jeffrey Archer’s Kane and Abel, though it could very well be in real life. Undoubtedly, fortune has shined on both brothers -albeit not on equal proportion, yet they are both billionaires in their own right.
For Kola Karim, the wealthy Group Managing Director/CEO, Shoreline Energy International, and his equally wealthy younger sibling and Managing Director/CEO of Costain West Africa Plc, Ayodeji, many are afraid their family bond could decouple if the beef between them is not curtailed. While some argue that Ayodeji is angry with Kola, who in spite of his strong financial base, was alleged to have snubbed and failed to support him in his push to get the ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Oyo State that went on to produce former CBN deputy governor, Adebayo Adelabu, other sources claim that it’s Ayodeji who needs to sort issues with his elder brother, who was a great chum of many influential billionaires. Kola was allegedly indifferent to Ayodeji’s ambition and when most of their mutual friends expressed concern about his aloofness and met Kola to find out what the matter was, the oil mogul was said to have told them he knew little about his brother’s plans.
Curiously, with nothing seamy, whether in his private or business life, to harp on, the narrative has bordered on how Ayodeji, who will be 50 in December, allegedly double-crossed his elder brother who was said to have initially shown interest in governing their beloved Oyo State. This was said to have polarised the family. However, sources close to the influential Karim family, have described such reports of Kola’s interest in politics as puerile. They described Kola as an alchemist in whose possession lies the much sought after elixir for success. To them, asides his passionate love for the game of Polo, Kola —an international businessman rated by the influential financial magazine, Forbes, in 2014, as one of the 10 most powerful men in Africa— is an intensely private man who has always liked to operate behind the scene. The 52-year-old Kola, who owns a townhouse in Kensington, as well as properties in Windsor, Nigeria and South Africa, is said to be more focused on running his international conglomerate, which interests span oil and gas, power, trade and investment and construction among other lucrative pies.
Spotlight gathered that some key family members were said to have intervened and settled the rift between the two brothers. However, the cold war relapsed when a series of bad press trailed Kola and his businesses on the mainstream and social media with some pointing accusing fingers at Ayodeji as the mastermind. That scenario allegedly strained the billionaire brothers’ bond and led to avoid seeing each other eye-to-eye. However, learnt that there are further moves to reunite the super-rich brothers as they need a moment of détente for a singular reason that both of them are seen as the pivot on which the entire family rests and that the success of one is the success of the other.