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Femi Otedola: When a Philanthropist Becomes Chancellor

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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.

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Boss Of The Week

Accomplished Entrepreneur, Taiwo Afolabi, Revels at 62

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By Eric Elezuo

A trained as a lawyer. An accomplished entrepreneur. A distinguished industrialist with a Midas touch. A philanthropist of note with thousands of hangers-on, who are proud to call him their mentor. He is Taiwo Olayinka Afolabi, the ebullient Chief Executive Officer at SIFAX Group, a conglomerate with its hands in various pies including Maritime, Aviation, Haulage, Hospitality, Financial Services and Oil and Gas. He is also the brain behind the jaw dropping new Marriot Hotel, located in Lagos. He is celebrating 62 years of impact, God’s goodness and attention to humanity.

Born on April 29, 1962, as the first child of a set of twins in Ondo State to Chief and Chief (Mrs.) Samson Afolabi, Afolabi is a native of Idokunusi Ijebu in Ijebu East Local Government Area of Ogun State, Nigeria.

A distinguished 2010 Member of the Order of the Niger MON awardee, the prolific business magnate started his education at the Ansar Ud Deen Primary School, Ondo State, before proceeding to the Baptist Grammar School, Ibadan where he obtained his West African Examination Council certificate. His quest to be the best he can be lured him further, and he berthed at the prestigious University of Lagos to study Law. He graduated with a LLB certificate in Law. He became a certified lawyer after a strenuous one year stint at the Nigerian Law School. He was called to the Nigerian Bar by the Body of Benchers on November 4, 2009., and thereafter, obtained a Masters degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the same university.

Pruned, prepared and perfected for the outside world, Afolabi in 1981 launched into professional endeavours, kick starting his career with a shipping company, Nigerian Express Agencies Limited. As a young man hungry for success, Afolabi gave his all, distinguishing himself in every assignment, and earning the respect of all and sundry, thereby rising to become the Head of Operations.

Having seen all there was to see there, and consumed with the zeal to find a newer entrepreneurial world, he stepped out again, like Ulysses, in 1988  to create his own world, and there founded the SIFAX Group; a mustard seed that has grown to become a gigantic oak tree sheltering Maritime, Aviation, Haulage, Logistics, Oil & Gas and Hospitality concerns.

With SIFAX, Afolabi has proved to be a wonder blessed with the Midas touch as from a humble beginning, with little or nothing, he has transformed the originally freight forwarding agency with only a single base in Lagos, Nigeria, to a super mart, which currently operates across the world boasting of iconic presence in Africa, Europe and the Americas. Some of its locations include the United States of America, United Kingdom, Ghana, South Africa, Holland, Belgium, Morocco, Spain and Djibouti.

With over three decades of experience in entrepreneurial networking, having kick started his career story at the age of 28, Afolabi has successfully turned around the SIFAX empire, deriving subsidiaries out of a dint of hard work. Some of them are but not limited to Ports and Cargo Handling Services Limited, a concessionaire and operator of the Terminal C, Tin Can Island Ports, Apapa Lagos and SIFAX Off Dock Limited, a bonded terminal operator.

Others include SIFAX Stevedoring Limited; SIFAX Oil and Gas Limited; SIFAX Haulage & Logistics Limited; SIFAX Logistics & Marine Services Limited; Skypower Aviation Handling Company Limited, an aviation ground handling company and SIFAX Shipping Limited. In glorious addition is the Marriot Hotel, a five star all inclusive home away from home. His invaluable knowledge of the economy, ability to take entrepreneurial risks, knack for newer grounds, focus on the job and desire to affect humanity have in no small measure ensured that all his subsidiaries have emerged and remained the most sought after brands in the business world.

He has further beefed up his skills in the maritime and general business world by attending several maritime and aviation-related trainings both locally and internationally on port operations, aviation ground handling operations and management.

When Afolabi is not unleashing the prowess his business acumen in the boardrooms, he is jovially serving the public. As many that know or have come across him agree that he has built a reputation as a public-spirited individual, possess a philanthropic gesture and is generally a jolly good fellow. He is said to have given hope and support to many public causes including education, which sits uppermost in his heart. He is known to run speedily to rescue whenever matters refer to education and academics. He is also public speaker and facilitator at various industry conferences and mentoring programmes. Some of the many interventions he has achieved in the education sector as part of his social corporate responsibility are donation of a 1,000 capacity lecture theatre at Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomosho and an 18-seater Toyota Hiace bus to the medical students association of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.

He also sponsors The Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime Conference (TAAM Conference), organized in his honor by students of the University of Lagos.

Dr. Afolabi’s larger than life existence was made more manifest at the opening of his new Marriot Hotel where the who is who in the Nigerian economic world, entertainment, sports, politics and many more, gathered to give him solidarity.

A seasoned maritime consultant and Fellow of the Nigeria Institute of Financial Management, the Institute of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria, and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators of Nigeria, Afolabi has used SIFAX and its subsidiaries to positively affect the Nigerian economy as well as generate both direct and indirect employment for teeming Nigerians who are eligible.

For his very many altruistic endeavours, Afolabi has been recognised and awarded in many quarters. Consequently, he has been conferred with diverse honorary doctorate degrees from four universities, including Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomosho, Oyo State, Cornerstone University and Theological Seminary, Jerusalem, Israel and USA, European-American University, Dominica and Commonwealth University, Belize.

He has also received other individual awards from diverse organizations, running into tens including the 2014 Business Person of the Year which was conferred on him Sun Newspapers, a leading Nigerian media company and he is also the Honorary Consul-General of the Republic of Djibouti in Nigeria.

He is a member of the Institute of Directors Nigeria; Ikoyi Club 1938; IBB Golf Club, Abuja; the Building Committee of the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry, amongst many others.

Afolabi, who is celebrated for his “wealth of experience, organisational prudence and business ingenuity” is a sports enthusiast, addicted to watching and playing football.

A proud and accommodating family man, he is married to his beautiful wife, Folashade, and they are blessed with wonderful children, among whom is a popular recording artist, L.A.X.

For you incredible support growth and development of world economy, and the survival of humanity, you are our Boss of the Week.

Happy birthday sir!

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Boss Of The Week

Prisca Ndu: Celebrating the Amazon of Enterprise at 50

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By Eric Elezuo

In just five decades, a woman that can easily be described as valour, has conquered the entrepreneurial stage, drawing accolades of great tidings, victory and transparent effect on humanity. She is known by many appellations, sobriquet and appendages including flower girl, corporate juggernaut, go-getter, among many others. She is Dr. Priscilla Ndu, known and addressed simply as Prisca by friends, associates, colleagues and family members.

Prisca has proved herself an amazon, a stressless survivor in a world full of challenges, where only the fittest are given the opportunity to thrive and hold their heads high. Her features are a combination of positive curiosity, focus, determination, an eye for details, painstaking and never-say-never attitude.

A former Executive Director at the Resolution and Restructuring Company Limited (a subsidiary of the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON), among many other high profile portfolios she had represented at the establishment, Prisca has exhibited distinct characters that have accelerated her excellence irrespective of challenges. She has given nothing to chance to ensure that even in the world assumed to belong to men, she has remained quite visible, and has demonstrated a level of steadfastness and commitment typical of the managerial and entrepreneurial investments she consciously injected into her career and self.

From the early days as a research analyst to becoming a Laboratory analyst at Global Environmental Consultants, Warri and Nigerian Eagle Floor Mills, Ibadan, she has remained diminutive and indefatigable. Today, she is a renowned technocrat and an icon, having traversed and the conquered the competitive waters of banking, advertising, aviation, logistics and more.

Born on April 28, 1974, to a medical and religious practitioner-father, Dr Marcus O. Ndu, who doubles as a humanitarian; and a caterer and businesswoman-mother, Mrs. Veronica Ndu, Prisca came as the fourth child of a family of seven, comprising five beautiful ladies and two handsome gentlemen. It is imperative to note that her brothers were born after her, and this in no small measure affected her tomboyish outlook to life while growing up.

It is also imperative not to undermine the fact she was brought up under strict tutelage, instruction and discipline of the Christianity doctrine, which is the hallmark of her family’s faith.

 

Highly privileged, Prisca relishes the euphoria of dual origin, having been born in Lagos and being a native of Arochukwu L.G.A, in Abia State, where both her father and mother come from.

“My father was a native of Arochukwu L.G.A of Abia State, same for my mum, who was also a native of Abia State (by her maternal lineage), while her father was a Brazilian National, from Sao Paolo, Brazil, both late now,” she informed.

A very gifted and brilliant child, Prisca completed secondary education at the tender age of 14, having spent only five years in Kindergarten, Nursery and Primary Schools, skipping primaries 2 and 4, in the bargain.

She said: “I had a flawless Junior Secondary School result of Seven A’s and was awarded the Elite scholarship from my community, a feat I repeated in my Senior School Certificate of Education, with Seven As, and an A1 in my favorite subject, Physics.” This is a clear attestation to her great academic prowess right from day one, and an indication of the great woman she was destined to be.

 

Dr Ndu, over the years, has acquired an intimidating resume, which is a product of her desire to continuously garner knowledge. This quest, without mincing words, took her through some of the best institutions of learning in the world, where her skills and world view were sharpened.

After her secondary education, Prisca attended the foremost University of Ibadan, where she studied Biochemistry at the Faculty of Medicine. She was to proceed afterwards to the Lagos Business School for an Executive MBA honours.

And like a typical tigress hungry for academic and professional honours, Prisca has attended several management programmes, in schools within and outside the shores of Nigeria. Some of such schools are IESE in Barcelona; INSEAD Business School in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate; National University of Singapore Business School, Singapore; IMD, Switzerland, Antai College of Business and Management, Shanghai and Harvard Business School, Boston, USA. She maintains a healthy Alumni relationship with all these institutions of high academic and professional studies.

 

An egghead of monumental quality, she sits on and atop Boards of several companies including as Executive Chairman and Infrastructural Development, Stratevium Technology Services Limited, and as Vice Chairman, Energy Company Limited. Stratevium is an Information Technology and Education solutions provider, with focus on gamified learning for Junior and Senior Secondary pupils (GIDI Mobile EDU Program) and specific content development for both private and public sector organizations, like Central Bank of Nigeria (capacity development training for beneficiaries of the CBN’s creative industry fund), Pharmaceutical Industry capacity training for beneficiaries of the CBN Intervention Fund, Content and Capacity Development for Bank’s Credit customers (Keystone Bank and Access Bank) etc., and creating products for telecommunication companies like GLO, MTN; to guarantee customer loyalty and brand visibility.

Her presence in the banking world looms large, as she traversed the terrain and rose to become Head, Public Projects at the Bank PHB where she was charged with managing and ensuring adequate financial support for major contractors to the three tiers of government, providing them financial services and working closely with State Treasury Offices and Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

She is until 2023 the Treasurer of Harvard Business School Association of Nigeria, HBSAN, but still to date the Treasurer and Board member of the Harvard University Alumni Association of Nigeria. In addition, she is the current President of the Lagos Business School Singapore Club, “Social Minister” of the Lagos Business School, Shanghai Club and also the past “Social Minister” of the Lagos Business School EMBA 11 Class.

Prisca is highly active; a metaphor for workaholism.

She is a Fellow of the Institute of Credit Administration, ICA, a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants and a certified Management Consultant professional, a lifetime Member of the Institute of Directors, IOD, and a member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Nigeria, CIBN.

She is not just in active service, she has garnered a lot of laurels to show for her eye to details attitude, painstaking attribute to delegated descriptions and much more.

Consequently, she has won the “Subarctic Survival Situation Exercise” conducted at the Harvard Business School, beating 135 participants drawn from 47 countries across the globe. She made history as the first African to win the honours, projecting the much advertised Nigerian can-do-spirit.

 

In recognition of her sacrifices for the betterment of humanity, the United Nations named her as one of the 100 Most Influential People of African Descent, Globally. The award was also in recognition of body’s celebration of people of African Descent below the age of 40 (by January 2015), doing exceptional things to develop Africa.

Much as the ebullient doctor is surrounded with human oriented achievements, she is looking far ahead into the future for mega discoveries to wow human race. She has confided in as many that has paid heed that her plans for the future is hinged on building a world conglomerate, with activities in at least five major sectors of the economy, employing at least 1,000 people across all its subsidiaries, and having intimidating presence in at least five G8 countries.

Not a woman who stumbles on chances, Prisca has a distinct plan to retire to academic world at 65 (exactly 15 years from now), to disseminate all she learnt over the years with a view to impart mankind; the Lagos Business School, where she had been invited severally to participate as an associate lecturer and guest speaker, appears a sure bet as her launching pad. These opportunities, according to her, has shaped who she is today, and sees herself playing a major role in Nigeria’s infrastructure space, as she still looks forward to roles in the public sector. She does not in any way takes them for granted.

A typical Jack of all trades, Prisca has her hand in almost every pie she comes across. These include Aviation, Oil and Gas Services, Advertising, Banking and Financial Services industries, both in the Private and Public sectors.

 

While at the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), where she performed the role of Head Partnerships in AMCON, she singlehandedly put together the Asset Management Partners initiative in 2016, involving over 6,000 accounts, with balances below N100m, which was outsourced to these AMPs, engaged and trained to act in AMCON’s stead, in recovering bad loans and also turning the businesses around where possible.

This was extended in 2017 to cover accounts with balances between N100 million and N1 billion. Given that AMCON is not in perpetuity, it is the hope of the corporation that these AMPs will continue to offer the services AMCON currently does and support the banks in the area of debt restructuring and recovery. Today all of AMCON’s operations is structured around this initiative she put together, even though she is no longer in its employment, but her legacy lives on. She is known to have recorded her most achievements while on this beat.

When you talk about women or entrepreneurs that don’t take no for answer, Dr. Ndu is it. She is a very independent, foresighted, goal-oriented, focused and reputed to never fear any challenge. Above all, she is very adventurous and daring, and that contributed in her ability to discover and open new vistas as well as explore new horizons.

Her towering status over the entrepreneurship world notwithstanding, Prisca is a wonderful family woman, tending with zeal, humanity, gusto and panache to the emotional and physical needs of her home. As a lover of the academia, she has not spared any expense to give her adorable son, Charly, who forms an integral part of her pastime, the best of education. Charly, who wishes to be an Astronaut, has been pursuing a career in Aerospace Engineering, at the EmbryRiddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA.

Addressed variously as Ph.D, DBA, DLM, FIoD, FICA, FIMC, CMC, CCFE, Dr. Ndu sees herself as a social impact advocate and a multi-sector entrepreneur, who has led turn-key economic and social development projects both at Federal and state levels in Nigeria.

Dr Ndu’s social corporate responsibility is as large as her personality. She is actively involved in charity work, empowering the youths and advancing the lot of the nation through the Rock Foundation, powered by the House on the Rock Church, Gemstone Management Development Centre, Lagos, Nigeria, Harvard Business School Association of Nigeria, where she is an active Board member.

A boardroom guru, she also sits on the Board of other companies, including Harvard Business School Alumni Association of Nigeria, as Financial Secretary and Treasurer, Skywise Group as Board Member and Mshel Homes Limited, Abuja, also as a member of its vibrant Board.

 

At the HBSAN, she is helping to champion the mentorship programme of the association, providing mentorship, guidance and career counseling to members of the Harvard University Alumni body in Nigeria.

“This is a role I also play with the Lagos Business School Alumni Association mentorship program, and a host of others. My passion for social service is seen in the various Board roles I occupy both paid and unpaid,” she concluded.

In her continuous quest to aquirre knowledge, she has recently attended the Guardians of the Nation International (GOTNI), top 50 African CEOs Leadership Roundtable, where she was elected as Vice Chairman of its Governing Council and the Vice Chairman of the Governing Council of the African CEOs Leadership Roundtable, organized by the Guardians of the Nation International, GOTNI Leadership Institute.

She is also an active member of the NESG Finance Committee. She is also a founding board member of the Black History and Lifestyle awards, where she supports the founder and visionary leader, Eziada, Chief, Mrs. Folashade Balogun. BHLA is an initiative set up to recognize Africans globally, doing great things in the continent and abroad, and the next event comes up in Los Angeles, USA, in June 2024.

Prisca is a symbol of that all round and complete woman, whose stock in trade is the best, the best and the best.

Indeed, at 50, Prisca has so much to celebrate, including without equivocation, the exceeding mercies of God.

Congratulations ma!

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Boss Of The Week

Done and Dusted: Adesola Adeduntan’s Eight Years of Stardom at FirstBank

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By Eric Elezuo

Like a bolt out of the blues, the news of the resignation of the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Adesola Adeduntan, hit the media space on Saturday, April 20, 2024.

The shocking announcement took the financial world by storm, and creatwd diverse questions in the mouth of observers and stakeholders, especially as the Veterinary Medicine graduate-turned-financial guru still has about months before the expiration of his three terms tenure. He was due to retire in December 2024.

“I have however decided to proceed on retirement with effect from 20 April 2024 to pursue other interests,” he said in his resignation letter that has become a topical issue.

But of more importance is that Sola, as he is fondly called, who took over from Bisi Onasanya in January 2016, has held sway as FirstBank’s top shot for eight years and four months, and has verifiable achievements to show for his years of stewardship, which has catapulted him to stardom today.

For a start, only a few persons would believe that the indefatigable financial expert, Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan is just 54 years old. He will be 55 on May 7, 2024. This is as a result of the achievements that have trailed his young life. Adeduntan has bagged an international award as Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by his Alma mater, Cranfield School of Management, United Kingdom. And this was at the time FirstBank was named biggest mover of 2019 according to KPMG Report. It is not incorrect to say that Adeduntan’s tenure at FirstBank was dedicated to creative achievement.

As the first quarter of 2020 was winding down, he was a guest lecturer at the Edinburgh School of Business where he spoke authoritatively on financial institutions’ role as drivers of financial inclusion.

On September 11, 2020, Adeduntan, added additional feather to his cap when he was bestowed with the Forbes Best of Africa award by Forbes Africa in conjunction with Foreign Investment Network (FIN) for his contributions to the financial services sector in the country and the African continent. He wasn’t a stranger to awards.

An all rounder, he practically conquered every endeavour he found himself in, leading the FirstBank group to a height only imaginable as the bank recently marks 130 years of uninterrupted banking. It would not be forgotten in a hurry that a media intelligence report presented by P+ Measurement Services, placed Adeduntan atop the list of most prominent and reputable Nigerian banking CEOs in Q2 2020.

THE MAN, ADESOLA ADEDUNTAN

Born Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan on May 7, 1969, in Ibadan, Oyo State, the banker started his early education at Ibadan Municipal Government Primary School (IMG), Adeoyo between 1975 and 1981, for his primary education before proceeding to Urban Day Grammar School, Old Ife Road, Ibadan, where he had his secondary schooling. His excellent to duties created a space for him to become the Deputy Senior Prefect in his final year in 1986.

In the same year, he was admitted to the University of Ibadan in to study Veterinary Medicine, and qualified in 1992 as a Veterinary Surgeon, a profession he hardly practiced before switching over to financial management.

Consequently, in 1994 he joined Afribank (Nig) Plc., and was posted to the Ibadan Main Branch as a graduate trainee. He spent 18 months there learning the ropes, and working in various areas of banking operations including cash management, clearing, credit risk management, and foreign operations.

Between September 1995 and May 2002, Adeduntan worked with Arthur Andersen Nigeria, rising to become manager in the firm’s financial services industry business, leveraging on the 18 months mentorship he received at Afribank. In this role, he led and managed the statutory audit of a number of leading Nigerian banks.

In August 2000, he served as an instructor at the Andersen World-Wide Induction training for new hires in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. He also served as the lead instructor for the Local Office Basic Accounting Training and Induction course in 1999. It was while he was with Arthur Andersen that qualified as a chartered accountant in 2000.

With more feathers to his cap, Adeduntan moved to the financial services industry in KPMG as a senior manager in June 2002, and served diligently till October 2004 when he bowed out. At KPMG, he co-pioneered the firms’ financial risk management advisory services. He was also a KPMG-accredited Trainer and facilitated several internal training programmes.

 

When he left KPMG in 2004 to study, he pursued a Master’s degree in Business Administration at the Cranfield School of Management, where he was a British Chevening Scholar. He graduated in September 2005.

Armed with yet another great feather, Adeduntan moved to Citibank Nigeria Limited in 2005 where he became the Senior Vice-President (General Manager) and Chief Financial Officer. He was saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the bank’s financial and product control functions, quality assurance and operational risk management. He was on hand to assist the bank in its recapitalisation during the banking consolidation era.

In October 2007, he called it quits with Citibank, and a month later, pitched tent with the Africa Finance Corporation, as the pioneer Chief Financial Officer and Business Manager.

His achievement at the AFC includes leading the team that secured an A3/P2 investment grade international credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service in March 2014. This made the Africa Finance Corporation the second highest-rated lending financial institution in Africa.

In July 2014, he was appointed an Executive Director/Group Chief Financial Officer of FirstBank, where he was responsible for the bank’s financial control, internal control and enhancement, business performance management, treasury and procurement functions.

On Monday January 4, 2016, Adeduntan succeeded Bisi Onasanya, and assumed duty as Managing Director of FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, and its commercial banking subsidiaries including FBN UK, FBN Ghana, FBN DRC, FBN Guinea, FBN Gambia, FBN Mortgages, FBN Senegal, FBN Sierra Leone and First Pension Custodian Limited.

He coordinated his functions so professionally that on December 7, 2016, he was awarded the 2016 Banker of The Year award by the Leadership Newspaper “For refusing to ‘go with the flow’ even when the temptation was high and the reward substantial, and for reminding his colleagues that banking is nothing without integrity”.

 

A man of many beneficial and influential parts, Adeduntan has hitherto sat on the board of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, and as a non-executive director on the boards of the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), FBN Bank U.K. Ltd., Universal Payments Plc, and FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

In his eight years stewardship at the helm of affairs at FirstBank, Adeduntan has turned the tables and rewrote banking narratives, delving into all aspects of human endeavour to see to the development of SMEs, youth entrepreneuship among many others.

His speech at the kick off of FirstBank’s celebration of 125 years of unbroken business operations, has remained evergreen, and stood the test of time as the prototype to FirstBank’s success recipe.

Adeduntan hinted as follows: “From that very modest beginning in 1894, First Bank has traversed an incredible journey of delivering impeccable financial services to its customers and supporting the building of the modern-day Nigeria and indeed, West Africa, including our early pivotal role as the monetary and fiscal policy regulator for the entire West African region,” he said.

“As a long-standing institution, which even predates Nigeria as a unified entity, FirstBank is entrenched in the nation’s development; woven into the very fabric of society, with our involvement in every stage of national growth and development.

“At the amalgamation, independence and through the seasons ever after, we have been here marching hand-in-hand with you and our dear nation. We have enabled financial, technological, industrial and societal advancements, achieving very many firsts over time.”

Overall, Adeduntan has seen to the sponsorship of prolific enterprises to guide the youths on the right path. These include the African Fashion Week which took place at the Oriental Hotel and Youth Empowerment Seminar at the Harbour Point Event Centre. These shows among a whole lot of others in his eight years of prolific endeavors, have a lot of testimonials following.

Adesola is married to Mrs. Adenike Adeduntan and together they have three wonderful children.

Sir, we wish you a prolific retirement from FirstBank, and a more glorious openings for more of your intelligence and expertise to be tapped.

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