Billionaires around the world are recognized not only by the extent of their wealth but also by the impact of their philanthropy. In this regard, Nigerian business tycoon Femi Otedola has consistently stamped his mark as one of Africa’s foremost philanthropists.
Over a span of two and a half decades, Otedola, who made his fortune in gas stations, shipping, and electricity generation, has given away tens of millions of dollars to various initiatives – from funding the construction of educational and religious institutions across the country to financing public healthcare initiatives and footing the medical expenses of national heroes down on their luck. His donations have touched nearly every facet of Nigerian life, from health to education to religion to historic preservation. His actions serve as a reminder that wealth isn’t just about personal accumulation but about the impact one can make in the world.
Billionaires.Africa gives a snapshot of the seven most significant donations from Otedola that have made waves in the media:
- $14-million donation to Save the Children UK (2019) – In what stands as Nigeria’s largest individual charity donation, in November 2019, Otedola donated NGN 5 billion (about $14 million at the time) to Save the Children U.K through his daughter, DJ Cuppy’s Foundation, to support various intervention programs for needy children in Nigeria’s north-east region. It was the single largest individual donation to charity in Nigeria’s history. The charity works to improve the welfare of Nigeria’s vulnerable and marginalized children, focusing on early childhood education and healthcare, among numerous other programs.
- Donation of a $6-million building to Augustine University (2021) – In a tribute to his mother, Lady Doja Otedola, Otedola funded the construction of a $6-million multistory building at Augustine University in Epe, Lagos. The facility was subsequently christened, The Lady Doja Otedola Faculty of Engineering building, one of the best-equipped engineering departments in any tertiary institution in Nigeria. Augustine University is a private Catholic-owned University located in Ilara, a town in the Epe local government of Lagos State, Southwestern Nigeria.
- $3.2-million gift to Federal University, Otuoke (2011) – In 2011, Otedola donated N500 million (about $3.2 million at the time) to the construction of the Federal University, Otuoke. The hniversity is a federal government-owned university located in Otuoke, a town in Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa State, Southern Nigeria. It was one of the nine new Federal Universities established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in February 2011 under the leadership of former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
- $2.9-million donation to the National Ecumenical Center, Abuja (2005) – In 2005, Otedola donated N375 million ($2.9 million) to complete the National Ecumenical Centre in Abuja. The National Christian Center is a non-denominational Christian church building located in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. The project was started around 1989, then lay dormant for several years until 2005, when Otedola and other wealthy, well-meaning Nigerians donated to ensure its speedy completion.
- $2.7-million donation to combat Coronavirus (2020) – In March 2020, Otedola donated N1 billion (approximately $2 million at the time) towards eradicating COVID-19 across Nigeria at the height of the pandemic. He contributed to the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19, an umbrella body under which industrialists and corporate organizations donated funds to support efforts in combating the contagious virus.
- $1.5-million donation to Michael Otedola University Scholarship scheme (2005) – In 2005, Otedola donated N200 million ($1.5 million at the time) to the Michael Otedola University Scholarship scheme. The scheme granted bursaries of the equivalent of around $1,000 at the time to hundreds of indigenous students from Epe, Lagos, in Nigeria’s southwest region, where the billionaire hails from.
- $1.5-million gift to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library – In 2005, recognizing the importance of maintaining national heritage, Otedola contributed N200 million ($1.5 million then) to the construction of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, a repository of pivotal documents from the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.