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Femi Otedola: When a Philanthropist Becomes Chancellor – The Boss Newspaper

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By Eric Elezuo
It was a rain of naira as billionaire businessman, Mr. Femi Otedola, was installed as the Chancellor of Augustine University, Epe, Lagos State.
The newly inaugurated Chancellor, who is not new to philanthropism and welfare of the people instantenously announced the scholarship donation to each student enrolled in the institution for the 2023/2024 academic session, including new and returning students.
In an unprecedented move, the man of thr people, investor and major shareholder and Chairman of Geregu Power, as well as director of FBN Holdings Plc, extended his philanthropic arm by donating a generous sum of N1 million to each of the 750 students of Augustine University.
The total sum of the scholarship donation amounts to N750 million (Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Naira). In a addition, the silent boosted the furnishing of the Engineering Faculty with a N140 million donation, and another N110 million for street lights across the campus. He therefore, made a whopping N1 billion donation to the institution. The Geregu chairman had earlier committed N2 billion for the building of the Engineering Faculty.
Making the donations during his acceptance speech at the university, where he outlined his vision and commitment to the educational institution and its student body, Otedola informed that the substantial financial aid is meant to alleviate the burden on families affected by Nigeria’s present challenging economic climate.
“I  hereby announce a scholarship donation to Each returning student of the University and Each new first year student of our University the amount of  One Million Naira Each towards the 2023 / 2024 session school fees of Each student. I am told that there are 500 returning students and about 250 new first year students making a total Scholarship donation of N 750 Million (Seven Hundred and Fifty Million  Naira).  I hope this donation assists the plight of the parents of our students in this difficult time.
“I also donate N140 million towards the furnishing of the completed Engineering faculty building and a further N110 million towards the installation of Street lights around the campus and a new standby generating set. THIS MAKES A TOTAL DONATION OF ONE BILLION NAIRA TO OUR UNIVERSITY. This is in addition to my earlier pledge of N2 billion for the construction of the Engineering Faculty complex,” the billionaire businessman said.
The donations are considered historic, and a new precedent for private philanthropy in the academic sector.
Call him the simplest and most easy going Nigerian billionaire, you won’t be wrong. The likes of Femi Otedola, as he is simply referred, to, are rare. Some schools of thoughts believe his likes are even extinct. He is an enigma and a worthy philanthropist, even to a fault. His stupendous flow of human touch and attachment to people and humanity are his greatest endearment. He even went a notch ahead when he against all odds acquired 5.5 per cent shares at the prestigious Transcorp Plc, a conglomerate that accommodates the best of business concerns in the country, dishing out unquantified services to mankind. He therefore, becomes the second largest shareholder of the company.
It is also worth noting that Otedola is the chairman of Geregu Power, a company that went public in the third quarter of 2022, and owns 2.388 billion worth of shares indirectly through Amperion Power Distribution Limited, which is 95.56 percent of the company’s total ordinary shares of 2.50 billion, according to data from the NGX website. His business networking is admirable, and that has placed him on the pedestal of Nigeria and Africa’s business greats.
Otedola, early in 2022, also acquired significant control of FBN Holdings when he announced he had acquired shareholdings above the 5 percent threshold, a development that triggered a bidding contest for stocks. He is a game changer.
In addition to his network of gigantic strides, the billionaire businessman was appointed as a Vice President of popular UK-based charity, Save The Children, a position that further portrayed his philanthropic worldview.
“I am elated to be associated with the organisation. We have to save our children from all manner of challenges and deprivations. And giving to the needy, particularly children, is the greatest love of all,” the father of four said excitedly.
According to a statement by the organisation, “Save the Children’s vice presidents are a group of high-level supporters and critical friends of the organisation, actively involved in advancing the work of Save the Children, through advocacy, volunteerism, introductions, and philanthropy..
“Mr. Femi Otedola’s addition to the vice presidents group is a testament to his long-standing support to the organisation. Since 2019, Mr. Femi Otedola has supported Save the Children’s programmes on prevention and treatment of malnutrition and on advocating access to quality education for Nigerian children, impacting over 6000 children in Adamawa, Borno, and Katsina States.
“In November 2019, Mr. Otedola hosted a gala in Abuja where he made a personal donation of N5 billion,” the statement explained, adding that Otedola’s global influence and rich experience of the African continent would advance Save the Children’s efforts in building sustainable partnerships with stakeholders across Africa to create more impact for children on the continent.
To some, it is still a mystery how the son of a prolific politician, who rose to become the governor of Lagos State, did not dabble into politics as is the standard in his clime. However, one thing is clear, and that is the fact that the billionaire businessman, simply addressed as Femi Otedola (CON), is a focused and determined man. He made his choice from day one, and has refused to be derailed. This explains his prolific nature in the world of entrepreneurship, which has directed his life.
But one thing is very obvious before all and sundry, and that is the fact that the dotting father of four adorable children is really an Epicurus son, and has no place for half measures when it comes to giving himself, and of course everyone around him the good life. It was no surprise therefore, when the philanthropist lavished a whopping Three Million Pounds to rent a cruise boat in celebration of his 60th birthday in 2022.
Born on November 4, 1962, in Ibadan to the family of the late Sir Michael Otedola, a former governor of Lagos State, Otedola is a definition of everything good, positive and encouraging. He has lived his life representing the very essence of living, affecting lives as a philanthropist, developing careers and manpower as a businessman, industrialists and entrepreneur, and raising biological children, who has stood their own in the society. There is hardly anywhere this tall, handsome phenomenon of a personality can be faulted.
The billionaire businessman started his education at the University of Lagos Staff School before attending Olivet Baptist High School from where he was admitted into the university. 
A former chairman of Forte Oil Plc, the Chancellor of St Augustine University, Epe, Lagos, is the founder of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, and the owner of a number of other businesses across shipping, real estate and finance. He has recently invested in power generation as part of the liberalisation of the sector in Nigeria.
He never leaves anything to chance, and so used his 60th birthday to fulfill a childhood fantasy and lifelong ambition of cruising on the most expensive boat in the world, the Christina Onassis. The yacht is owned by late Greek billionaire, Aristotle Onassis. He had adopted the Greek Shipping guru, as his role model since he was 13. It was a dream come true.
The man, who has homes in Lagos, Abuja, Dubai, London and New York City has a much impressive existence since he set out to take the bull by the horns in the field of enterprise. This is as chronicled by wikipedia.
In 2003, having identified an opportunity in the fuel retail market, Otedola secured the finance to set up Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, a petroleum products marketing and distribution company.
As owner and chairman of Zenon, in 2004 he invested N15 billion in downstream infrastructure development and acquired storage depots at Ibafon, Apapa as well as four cargo vessels, amounting to a combined total storage capacity of 147,000 metric tonnes. The same year he acquired a fleet of 100 DAF fuel-tanker trucks for N1.4 billion.
By 2005, Zenon controlled a major share of the Nigerian diesel market, supplying fuel to most of the major manufacturers in the country including Dangote Group, Cadbury, Coca-Cola, Nigerian Breweries, MTN, Unilever, Nestle and Guinness.
In March 2007, it was announced that ten banks had approved a syndicated loan of US$1.5 billion (N193.5 billion) to Zenon as working capital to build the largest premium motor spirit storage facility in Africa. Later that year Zenon acquired a 28.7 per cent stake in African Petroleum, one of Nigeria’s largest fuel marketers. Zenon also invested across the financial sector, becoming the largest shareholder in a number of Nigerian banks including Zenith Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA). As well as diesel, Zenon also became an important player in the kerosene market.
In 2012, Zenon was among a number of companies named in a report into an alleged fuel subsidy scam. According to the report Zenon owed the government $1.4 million. It was further reported that Farouk Lawan, the Nigerian legislator who compiled the report, had apparently been filmed collecting $500,000 of a supposed total sum of $3 million from Femi Otedola to remove Zenon from the list. It subsequently emerged that Otedola had previously reported Lawan’s harassment and demands for bribes to the State Security Services, who had orchestrated a sting operation. Lawan was charged with corruption in February 2013.
In 2007, Otedola was appointed chairman and chief executive of Africa Petroleum through the acquisition of a controlling stake in the business. In December that year he personally acquired a further 29.3 per cent of the company for N40 billion. A merger of this personal holding with Zenon’s brought Otedola’s total stake to 55.3 per cent.
Following Otedola’s entry into the company African Petroleum’s share price rose sharply, increasing the market capitalisation from N36 billion to N217 billion in six months. In 2008, in response to public concerns over the availability and pricing of kerosene, African Petroleum launched an initiative to saturate the market and sell fuel at N50 per litre from more than 500 service stations across Nigeria.
In March 2009, Otedola became the second Nigerian after Aliko Dangote to appear on the Forbes list of dollar-denominated billionaires, with an estimated net worth of $1.2 billion. In October 2009, Otedola announced a move to upgrade African Petroleum’s liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage terminals in Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt. Difficult economic conditions caused by the slump in world oil prices and credit squeeze of 2008–09 led African Petroleum to record a loss in 2009.
In December 2010, African Petroleum rebranded, changing its name to Forte Oil PLC. Otedola carried out a restructuring of the business, focusing on technology and improved corporate governance. Forte Oil returned to profit in 2012.
In 2013, as part of the Federal Government’s push to liberalise Nigeria’s ailing power sector, Otedola financed 57% of Forte Oil subsidiary Amperion Ltd, which acquired the 414 MW Geregu Power Plant for $132 million.
Forte’s improved financial position and diversification into power generation resulted in a 1,321 per cent rise in its share price during 2013. The first half of 2014 saw the company’s pre-tax profit more than double year-on-year to 4.19 billion naira ($25.7 million). Revenue growth for the whole year was 33 per cent. In November 2014, Otedola returned to the Forbes rich list having dropped off it following the fall in share price during 2009.
In September 2015 Forte Oil sold 17 per cent of its equity to Swiss commodity trader Mercuria Energy Group, giving Forte access to global commodity markets. The deal was thought to have given Otedola an estimated $200 million. In 2019, Femi Otedola sold Forte Oil Plc and announced plans to change focus from oil to power with his company, Geregu Power Plc.
In 1994, Otedola established CentreForce Ltd, specialising in finance, investments and trading. Otedola is also the owner of Swift Insurance.
The Otedolas
Otedola is Chief Executive and President of SeaForce Shipping Company Ltd and was at one point Nigeria’s largest ship owner after extending control over the distribution of diesel products. One of his ships, a flat bottomed bunker vessel with a storage capacity of 16,000 metric tonnes, was the first of its kind in Africa.
In January 2006, Otedola was appointed a non-executive director of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc, a multi-sectoral conglomerate established in 2004 by then-President Olusegun Obasanjo to respond to market opportunities requiring heavy capital investment in Nigeria and across sub-Saharan Africa. He held this post until February 2011.
Otedola has made a number of real estate investments, including a N2.3 billion acquisition in February 2007 by Zenon of Stallion House in Victoria Island in Lagos, from the Federal Government. The following month he was appointed chairman of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja and tasked with driving its expansion and upgrade to a seven star facility. He is the owner of FO Properties Ltd. Otedola has been reported to be a financier of the People’s Democratic Party and is said to have contributed N100 million to President Obasanjo’s re-election expenses in 2003. He has served as a member of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) since 2004, and the same year was appointed to a committee tasked with developing commercial relations with South Africa. In 2011, Femi Otedola was appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan to Nigeria’s National Economic Management Team.
In 2020, Forte Oil rebranded to Adrova PLC.
Currently, as at October 2021, he was announced as the single largest shareholder (5.07%) of First bank PLC.
His philanthropic gestures have remained a reference point to other wealthy individuals. He is known to have made several donations to the Michael Otedola University Scholarship Scheme, which was established in 1985 to give underprivileged students in Lagos State access to higher education. In 2005 Zenon donated N200 million to the scheme’s fund. Since its inception the scheme has benefited more than 1,000 students.
In 2005, Otedola made a N300 million personal donation to the completion of the National Ecumenical Centre; Nigeria’s primary place of Christian worship, in Abuja. In 2007 he was among a group of donors who gave N200 million to the State Security Trust Fund in a drive to reduce crime in Lagos State. Later that year he donated N100 million to the Otedola College of Primary Education in Noforija, Epe. In 2008 he donated N80 million to the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Port Harcourt. He also promised and fulfilled his pledge of 25,000 dollars to the Super Eagles in the match against Algeria in the 2019 AFCON.
In September, 2022, Otedola was appointed as a member of the National Peace Committee (NPC), headed by former Head of State, Abdulsalam Abubakar, ahead of the 2023 elections.
Highly blessed of God, Otedola, who holds a National Honour of the Commander of the Niger (CON), owns a private jet and a few of his caravan of cars include Mercedes Benz AMG G63 worth N73 million; G–wagon costing N53 million; Mercedes SLR McLaren worth N250 million; Rolls–Royce Phantom worth N162 million and BMW 6 series worth N30 million. In the recent past, he gifted his three daughters with a costly Ferrari sport cars.
An unrepentant dotting father, husband and family man, Otedola is married to Nana, and has three daughters and one son. They are Tolani, a singer, Florence Ifeoluwa and Elizabeth Temi, and a son, Fewa. Florence Otedola, aka DJ Cuppy, is a Disc Jockey and music producer, as well as a tourism ambassador for Nigeria while Temi is an actress, a style blogger and aspiring designer.

David Ibiyeomie: Celebrating God’s Weapon of Positive Change at 61
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By Eric Elezuo
Ever seen a man diligent in his work? Did you know he will sit at table with kings and not mean men. He will do wonders and positively affect men and the world in general. One man at the height of such achievement is Pastor David Ibiyeomie, who by every standard, as the Bible would say, is the son of Bishop David Oyedepo, himself the son of Pastor Enoch Adeboye. Of a truth, Pastor David Ibiyeomie has an enviable gyneology and pedigree.
Born on October 21, 1962 in Bonny Island, Rivers State, to the family of late Chief and Mrs. Apollos Iganibo of Bolo Town in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria, David Ibiyeomie has grown by limps and bounds to become today, one of the reference points of world’s gospel generals, impacting lives and bringing hope and succour to God’s children.
From the earliest humble beginnings, Pastor Ibiyeomie has steadily seen the need to attain great heights, and so he also fashioned his way academically. He attended Banham Primary School Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria between 1969 and 1974 before he went to Government Comprehensive Secondary School, Borikiri, Rivers State, Nigeria, where he was from 1974 to 1979. Thereafter, he was admitted into the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt for a degree Course in Microbiology in 1980.
Pastor Ibiyeomie saw the light of salvation in 1995 when he became born again. Shortly after he gave his life to Christ, a divine mandate was handed over to him, and being so obedient to the kingdom, he put every mechanism in motion to actuaslise the mandate. And with a super daddy in the person of Bishop David Oyedepo, whose divine guidance and training was made manifest, today he is a thoroughbred Pastor, a teacher of the Gospel and a voracious giver.
Under the tutelage of Bishop Oyedepo, Pastor Ibiyeomie continued his education, this time, on a higher spiritual level. He attended full time Bible School at the Word of Faith Bible Institute, operated by Oyedepo’s Living Faith Church, the same year he became born again. That was where he was greatly influenced by the Ministry’s standards and impact.

After his Bible School training at WOFBI, Ibiyeomie started a house fellowship with his family in his Victoria Island, Lagos home. However, he moved to Port Harcourt, Rivers State by divine direction, later and established Salvation Ministries (Glorious Chapel) precisely on April 13, 1997. It was a congregation of just 34 members including himself and wife. The mandate was clear: TO ESTABLISH THE KINGDOM OF GOD HERE ON EARTH through infallible proofs.
In a space of three months, the grace of God in Pastor Ibiyeomie was already manifesting, and the ‘church’ moved to a larger plot of land on Plot 17 Birabi Street, GRA Phase 1, Port Harcourt where over 500,000 attendees worship every Sunday alone. This is excluding its satelite branches spread across the length and breath of the universe, and the millionsthat hook up online via various social media handles. Of all Ibiyeomie’s expansion move, it was reported that In February 2011, the church started 14 satellite branches in one day, all running five services each. That was a new record in the history of church growth. The ministry later implemented a seven services programme every Sunday. According to Ibiyeomie, the plan was perfected according to God’s dictates.
In just 26 years of existence, Pastor Ibiyeomie and the ministry have practically become a phenomenon and reference point to the world. Today, David Ibiyeomie pastors millions of worshippers spread all over the globe through his television ministry, online ministration and with over 200 satellite churches within and outside the country and over 300 pastors assisting him.

A selfless leader, Ibiyeomie is a father to the millions of worshippers that throng the Salvation Ministry ground every Sunday, Thursday and other special events days. He is not just a father by sound, he is indeed a father; meeting the needs of members whenever they arise. It is on record that he kind of live on equal basis with his pastors as practically all of them drive the same kind of jeep he drives, and equally own houses. He provided residential quarters, equipped with state of the art facilities for the staff and pastors’ comfort such as GLORIOUS COURT, SUCCESS COURT, KINGS COURT and TEACHERS QUARTERS. He is a giver par excellence.
It is worthy of note that Ibiyeomie has remained systematic in bringing to past God’s instruction towards expanding His kingdom. To this end, he changed his indoor healing miracle programme tagged “HEALING MIRACLE AND DELIVERANCE SERVICE which started in August 2001 to PORT HARCOURT MIRACLE CRUSADE in November 2003. The programme was remodeled to NIGHT OF Glory in 2010 and in January 2012, the NIGHT OF GLORY programme metamorphosed into the 5NIGHTS OF GLORY, and later in 2022 changed to GLORY REGIGN. The event has today become a household programme all-round the globe. In addition, he holds crusades in different major cities of the world where souls are continually won and miracles abound.
With an unquenchable love for education, Ibiyeomie runs one of the best Christian schools in the region; Chockhmah International Academy; the primary and secondary educational arm of Salvation Ministries. He is also putting finishing touches to the opening of the PACE-SETTERS UNIVERSITY.
The ministry also runs The WORD OF LIFE BIBLE INSTITUTE to cater for the spiritual needs of not only members, but all and sundry. The school is reputed to have produced thousands of scholars across denominations since inception.
Papa, as he is fondly called by members who adore him, has not hidden the fact that he is a very rich pastor. He has also not hidden the source of his enduring wealth, and uses every opportunity to teach members how to be wealthy. To him, you only have to give to be super rich – give God unsparingly and unconditionally, and also give to humanity.
His passion to see humanity flourish has seen him awarding scholarships to about 1000 students in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in one year. He has also renovated and donated modern hospital equipment worth over two hundred thousand US Dollars to the pediatric section of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) Nigeria; creating a wonderful ambiance to expedite the recovery of the patients.
He also rebuilt the fence of the Central State Primary School, Igwuruta and reconstructed several roads in the city of Port Harcourt to make the environment more habitable. He has in the same vein, built a state-of-the-art home for the elderly in Port Harcourt. Ibiyeomie’s humanitarian services can only be imagined. He has practically superceded the concept of giving.

His unquenchable desire to see that humanity is well catered for on a more larger scale metamorphosed in the establishment of the David Ibiyeomie Foundation (DIF) through which he has rendered untold assistance to thousands. In a space of less than one year, that is between 2018 and 2019, the giver extra-ordinaire has spent over N1.5 billion on scholarships alone. His given till date is beyond documentation. Here is a man who has redefined the concept of giving and brotherly love.
Apart from being a preacher and teacher of the Word, Ibiyeomie is a writer of repute, and credited with over 120 inspirational books cutting across all strata of living. Some of them are Dealing with Habits, Enjoying the Favour of God, Secrets for Generational Impact, Total Dominion, The Power of Praise, The Real You, How to Hear from God, The Power of Small Beginning, How Faith Works, Touch of Excellence, How to Fulfill Your Destiny, The Power of Obedience, Prosperity of the Righteous, Business Secrets, The Wonders of Wisdom, The Power of Resurrection, Wisdom for Creativity, Attitude for Supernatural Supplies, The Totality of Man, Keys to Impactful Living, See You at the Top, The Pathway to Greatness, The Power of Commitment, Wisdom to See Ahead, The Price for Power, The Prosperous Family, Walking in the Anointing, Be the Best, Success Pillars and Demonstrating Love for Your Nation.
He is the quintessential evidence to God’s vision towards global impact. It is not by accident that he is brain the largest church building in the world; The Finger of God Cathedral, located in Port Harcourt. The edifice is said to sit 120,000 worshippers at a time, and with the state of the art facilities.
He is happily married to Peace Ibiyeomie, and they are blessed with a son, David Ibiyeomie jr.
Today, the man with a stupendous vision to turn the world around for Christ, an enigmatic covenant practitioner is 61 years, and we can’t just keep quiet but clink glasses and give God Glory for all He has done. We are so privilege to have an Ibiyeomie in this age and time.
Pastor Ibiyeomie is an embodiment of many things; jokes, dance, laughter and camaraderie.
Congratulations sir, and happy glorious birthday!

His firebrand approach to defending the law and the people involved revealed him before the activist, human rights lawyer and social crusader, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, who absorbed him into his Chambers. And steadily, like the eagle he has come to be, he soared and gradually rose to become the Deputy Head of Chambers, a position he held till 1985.
Exactly three years after obtaining his LL.M degree, Ozekhome founded his own multi-office firm, Mike Ozekhome’s Chambers, in 1986 with offices in Lagos, Abuja, and not forgetting his home town, Benin City. His rise in the industry was phenomenal, breaking barriers and records, and transcending all known protocols. As a result, in 2010, he emerged as one of 19 senior legal practitioners conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. It didn’t take anyone by surprise. It was an honour well deserved. He is known to have handled many epochal cases in the history of Nigerian legal system, and most them, probono.
It was at the instance of his Chambers that Ozekhome began his frequent visits to detention facilities over his constant confrontations with repressive juntas.
Most of the cases he handled have helped define, redefine and shape Nigerian legal jurisprudence, and at the same helped in enthroning a ‘favourable climate for the sustenance of human rights, democracy, good governance and the rule of law’.
No one will forget in a hurry the “Cicero of the Conference”, as he was nicknamed by the Conference leadership, for his sterling performance and contributions when in 2014, he represented the Federal Government as a delegate at the National Constitutional Conference.
Ozekhome’s contribution to judicial engineering and jurisprudence cannot be overemphasized. In 1987, he co-founded the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), known as the first human rights organisation in Nigeria.
In 1992, he founded the Universal Defenders of Democracy (UDD), an international human rights and pro-democracy league. He also founded the Democratic Rights Agenda (DRA) and Peace Initiative (PI), a peace building and conflict resolution centre.
He was also the pioneer Director of Legal Services and member of its Governing Board. In 1998, he co-founded the Joint Action Committee of Nigeria (JACON), with the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, who was chairman as he maintained the National Vice Chairman, Publicity and Publications status.
As a selfless and influential human rights oriented figure, Ozekhome has attracted awards and honours, numbering over 300, from across the length and breadth of the country including academic and traditional. He is the Akpakpa Vighi Vighi of Edoland (Commander of the traditional Armed Forces of Edo land). This is a title that was jointly conferred on him at Ekpoma, Edo State, on March 2, 2002, by all the 72 Traditional Rulers of Edo State, a feat never before achieved by any person. He was also in October, 2021 conferred with the chieftaincy title of Ada Idaha Ke Efik Eburukutu Kingdom (pillar of strength of Efik Kingdom) by the Obong of Calabar, His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V.
Other titles attached to the name of the legal luminary include the Okporokpo of Oleh Kingdom in Delta State, Eno-bakhare of Benin Kingdom, (Oba’s word is final), and Ikemba 1 of Ezebe Ancient Kingdom.
Ozekhome is an international personality, and has been featured variously in Dictionary of International Biography (“Who is Who in the World”), by IBC, Cambridge, England, 28th and 29th Editions, “Who is Who in Nigeria”, by NIBC, Lagos, “Who is Who in Nigeria,” by NewsWatch Publications Ltd, etc.
He is also a member of the International Bar Association (IBA), Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA), African Bar Association (A.B.A), Pan African Lawyer Union (PALU), American Bar Association (ABA), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), National Executive Committee, Nigerian Bar Association, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Island Club, Usagbe Club of Nigeria, Etsako Club ’81, etc.
Among his academic honours are honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D), Doctor of Letters (D.Litt), Doctor of Administration (DA), Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD), Doctor of Letters (HonDL), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D), from various Universities in USA, United Kingdom, Israel, Nigeria and Belize City, Belize, Central America. And needless to mention the ever young legal icon is appreciative of his humble achievements.
As a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary International, Ozekhome’s philanthropic gestures are highly noted. He is an International Ambassador of Peace, honoured with the Global Peace Loving Citizen of the World, (GPLCW), the highest honour given out by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF).
He has been variously described as a “man who felt good is not good enough where better is possible”, and believes that “leaders make things possible; exceptional leaders make them inevitable.”

By Eric Elezuo
Even at 64, socialite, industrialist and billionaire business woman, Hajia Muinat Bola Shagaya, has not stopped slaying. The beautiful wife of a Kwara State based transport mogul, Alhaji Shagaya, who was only last year elevated to the office of the Sarauniya of Ilorin Emirate, by the Emir of Ilorin and Chairman Kwara State Council of Chiefs, Mai-Martaba Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari CFR, on october 0, 2023, hit 64 years of magnificent achievements.
A philanthropist of no mean value, the ebullient Hajia Bola Shagaya donated whopping N10m in support of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU) project at the occasion. She is a typical example of who the cap fits.
Bola, as she is popularly known, is beautiful, elegant, famous, enchanting and above all down to earth. She is a woman of means and is renowned for her extraordinary generosity. She is above all, quintessential in all ramifications.
Shagaya, unlike most prominent and wealthy industrialists, was not born with the proverbial silver spoon. Consequently, she had to pull herself up by her bootstraps and exert herself relentlessly through some difficult times on her way to arriving at the enviable height she now occupies. Her remarkable accomplishments have since earned her a pride of place at the table of royals and captured the attention of the influential Forbes magazine. She made the 10th wealthiest woman spot in Africa in a 2015 Forbes ranking.
The socialite, who was born on October 10, 1959 in Kwara State, attended Queens School in Ilorin for her secondary education and the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and Armstrong College in California, where she studied Economics and Accountancy respectively. Shagaya also attended Harvard Business School and a number of other local and international seminars, workshops and symposiums where she sharpened her skills and gained all the cutting-edge knowledge that has kept her on top of her entrepreneurial and social game.

Fresh out of school, a promising career took off with a stint at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) where she worked with the Audit Department. Having acquired veritable experience from the CBN, she ventured into commercial activities in 1983, beginning with the importation and distribution of photographic materials under one of her incorporated companies called Bolmus. She is reputed to have introduced the Konica brand of photographic materials into the Nigerian market and West Africa.
She is also the owner of Fotofair Nigeria limited, and her photo laboratory unit in Victoria Island is no doubt one of the largest photo laboratories in Nigeria. The photo laboratory has a net base of over thirty branches located in different parts of the country and over 300 workers employed. A great feat!
Her prowess is not limited to the business of photographic materials alone, Hajia Bola Shagaya is also the Managing Director of Practoil Limited, one of the largest importers and distributors of base oil in Nigeria, serving local lubricant blending plants. Not only that, her extensive acumen in the world of buying and selling finds expression in huge investments in real estate, spanning major cities in the country with over 300 employees.
She is proactive and visionary, and so through her base oil importation, she is meeting the need of the local lubricant blending plants. At the moment, Practoil is building its own plant at Kirikiri, Lagos State. The plant is expected to produce multi-grade oils and lubricants.

An astute financial wizard, Mrs. Shagaya is on the board of Unity Bank (Nigeria) Plc (formerly Intercity Bank) and has been for about a decade. She is also a member of the NEPAD Business Group, Nigeria.
She is a reputed fashionista, and her consistent display of an impeccable dress sense is a testimony to that assertion. It is therefore, not surprising that she is a patron of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN) and a fashion and arts enthusiast who supports and encourages the fashion and arts industry. She also loves sports, especially polo. She is also hopelessly in love with exotic jewelry, especially diamonds, and Deola Sagoe, Folake Coker, Maureen Onigbanjo, Abba Folawiyo are just a few of her clothiers. Internationally, there are also Escada and Christian Lacroix.
In July 2010, she was conferred with the national honour of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) by the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR).
A committed family woman; wife and mother, she is married to Alhaji Ganiyu Shagaya, a Kwara State-based transporter and their union is blessed with four children, among whom is Sheriff Shagaya, who got married in 2013 to Maryam Tukur, the daughter renowned politician, Bamanga Tukur. Kabir, her fourth son, also married into a notable when he wedded Amina Buba, daughter of oil magnate, Dr Hanatu Buba Each of her five sons are reportedly doing incredibly well in their fields of endeavours. It is said that they inherited their mothers entrepreneurial skills, business acumen and accommodating mien.
A very liberal woman, her third child, Seun, is a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Abuja in as much as his mother is a Muslim.
Though a socialite who loves reveling, Mrs. Shagaya knows when to open the door and when to keep it closed. It was gathered from an interview she once granted that as a rule she doesn’t entertain friendly visitations, no matter how close, between Monday and Friday. Consequently, everything social revolves around the weekends when major work has been done. That accounts for her serious-mindedness, focus and hard work.
A friend of several Nigerian First Ladies, Mrs. Shagaya is known to have been close to virtually every recent First Lady in the Nigerian political system, especially Dame Patience Jonathan, with whom she forged a formidable relationship. It is believed that her amiable nature, down to earth attitude and uprightness always endear her to the hearts of those in the corridor of power.
A staunch Muslim, she believes that no matter what one becomes, God will always remain number one, and the revolving factor in her life. As a result, no matter where she is or what she’s doing, she makes it a duty to go to Mecca at least twice a year. She also creates time to observe her ‘Majrib’.
“That’s my only way to praise God”, she said.
The stupendously rich amazon, who owns property in choice parts of the world including London, Abuja, Lagos, Ilorin and so on, maintains a healthy routine of going to bed every day at 9pm after listening to the 8 O’clock news, and wakes up daily by 5am to pray.
Bola Shagaya is a crown jewel in the swelling ranks of African women who have demystified the stereotyped notion that the place of the woman is, and ends in the kitchen or ‘the other room’. In her continued display of business ingenuity, she has showcased the stuff women like her are made of while proving that females are capable of threading the paths that even some men would not dare venture.
Congratulations and happy birthday!

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