October 29, 1962

On this day, Mr. Alfred Rewane, former chairman of the Western Nigerian Development Corporation told the Coker Inquiry that Chief S.L. Akintola, Premier of the suspended Western Nigeria Government, sabotaged the 500,000 pounds Pepsi Cola projects of his government in the interest of Mr. A.G. Leventis, Mrs. F. Akintola, and his (Chief Akintola) daughter, Dele Akintola. He said that the wife of the Premier, Mrs. Akintola, was the sole agent for the distribution of Coca-Cola produced by one of Leventis group of companies in Osun Division, and that Chief Akintola’s daughter was sales promotion officer in charge of Fanta and Coca-Cola in Western Nigeria.

Mr. Rewane was being cross-examined by Mr. O. Efuye, his counsel, on the 70th day of the inquiry into six statutory corporations of the suspended Government. He said that right from the moment the Pepsi Cola projects were launched, Chief Akinola had been doing every possible thing to sabotage it. Mr. Rewane then went out to narrate how the Pepsi Cola, in which the Government of Western Nigeria had 100% interest, came to be established.

He said that he was on holiday in London when he received an instruction from home that he should join a delegation going to New York on the invitation of Pepsi Cola. He added that his minister, Chief Adeyi, was also on the delegation. He told the Commission that when they got to New York, he (Rewane) and Chief S.O. Ighodaro signed the agreement for the establishment of Pepsi Cola projects in Western Nigeria while Chief Adeyi witnessed the franchise.

Mr. Rewane remarked, however, that the project got full encouragement and support from the ministry of Trade and Industry. He said that all efforts on the part of his corporation to force Pepsi Cola and Mirinda on the market in Western Nigeria failed, and so, he decided to write to the ministry of Trade and Industry suggesting that all Government catering rest houses should stock no other mineral water other than Pepsi Cola and Mirinda.

Mr. Rewane also said that information reached him that even in the Secretariat Restaurant in Ibadan, Pepsi Cola and Mirinda were not being sold. He said he again complained to his minister that how could Chief Akintola, who was the head of Government in the West fail to show interest in an enterprise owned primarily by his Government.

 

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