Prophet of Enterprise…Amid A Distressed Economy, Femi Otedola Keeps Giving, His Fortune Keeps Soaring

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Prophet of Enterprise…Amid A Distressed Economy, Femi Otedola Keeps Giving, His Fortune Keeps Soaring

Prophet of Enterprise…Amid A Distressed Economy, Femi Otedola Keeps Giving, His Fortune Keeps Soaring
October 22
19:02 2023

● Why He Records Billions In Profit In A Time Of Loss

● The Hand That Gives Never Lacks

Billionaire Samaritan and Prophet of Enterprise, Femi Otedola gives with an untarnished heart. Perhaps because he understands that unsolicited generosity has a way of making the recipient feel obliged, trapped in a labyrinth of dependence.

Otedola never gives with the expectation of gratitude or returns. And the magnitude of his benevolence far exceeds the scope of the biblical tithe.

There have always been rich and famous people who feel the call to give back, which is where big academic quadrangles, research facilities, marble buildings and opera houses come from. But unlike most billionaire philanthropists, Otedola does not give in order to win plaudits or returns. He gives in order to improve lives and the conditions of living in his immediate society. The Otedola standard of philanthropy is shaping the charitable arena as he has, Nigeria’s energy universe.

Otedola understands that both good and evil increase at compound interest. That is why his decision to give generously from his fortune is of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today often facilitates greater victories the giver never dreamed of. This perhaps explains why Otedola’s wealth keeps multiplying despite his colossal handouts for charitable work.

Otedola’s generosity is hardly borne of pity. It’s more about compassion. Pity sees suffering and wants to ease the pain; compassion sees needs and wishes to fulfil them; it sees injustice and wants to settle the score. Pity implores the powerful to pay attention; compassion warns them about what will happen if they don’t. The risk of pity is that it kills with kindness; the promise of compassion is that it builds on the hope that the poor are fully capable of helping themselves if given the chance.

The billionaire magnates understand that the world’s poor needed no more condolences; they needed people to get interested, get mad at the causes of their impoverishment and then get to work nullifying those depriving elements.

Otedola, unlike several billionaires around the world, isn’t just recognized by the extent of his wealth but also by the impact of his charitable gestures. Through his generosity, he has consistently asserted his place 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.

A snapshot, by Billionaires.Africa, of his seven most significant donations to charity, includes a $14-million donation to Save the Children UK (2019). In what stands as Nigeria’s largest individual charity donation, in November 2019, Otedola donated NGN5 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.

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.

One year later, that is in 2021, Otedola donated a $6-million building to Augustine University a private Catholic-owned University located in Ilara, a town in the Epe local government of Lagos State. As a tribute to his mother, Lady Doja Otedola, Otedola funded the construction of a $6-million multistory building at the university. 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.

It would be recalled that in 2011, Otedola donated N500 million (about $3.2 million at the time) to the construction of the Federal University, Otuoke. The university is a federal government-owned university located in Otuoke, a town in Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa State. 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.

Six years earlier, 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.

Also 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.

The same year, he donated a N200 million ($ 1.5 million at the period) gift to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library. This was part of his acknowledgement of the importance of maintaining a vibrant reading culture and national heritage. The money was put into the construction of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, a repository of pivotal documents from the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The hand that gives never lacks

His heartfelt generosity has been fingered severally as the reason for his unparalleled success in his business endeavours. This further validates the maxim that the hand that gives never lacks.

And this is discernible in his good fortune amid the country’s distressed economy. While several of his billionaire peers and magnates bemoan their unprecedented losses, Otedola reports profit returns.

For instance, his energy franchise, Geregu Power, which is Nigeria’s leading electricity generation company, recently announced an impressive 42% increase in revenue during the first nine months of 2023, despite the challenging economic conditions.

Based on the data found in the company’s nine-month interim financial report, their revenue reached N55.7 billion, a significant rise from the N39 billion recorded in the same period last year.

Additionally, Geregu Power reported a pre-tax profit of N17.4 billion, marking a substantial growth of 25.3% compared to the N13.9 billion reported in the corresponding quarter of 2022.

In terms of profit after tax for the period under review, Geregu Power achieved N11.3 billion, up from N10 billion in the same period last year.

It’s worth noting that the company has already surpassed its total profits of N10.1 billion reported for the entire year in 2022.

These impressive financial results demonstrate Geregu Power’s resilience and strong performance in a challenging economic environment.

Further analysis of the country’s fortunes highlights a boost in revenue performance in the most recent quarter and a significant surge in key revenue streams, contributing to the remarkable overall performance of Geregu Power.

For instance, the revenue generated from energy sales in the three months ending in September 2023 surged from N3.2 billion in the same quarter last year to an impressive N13.1 billion.

This substantial increase played a pivotal role in boosting the total energy sales figure to N34.7 billion, a notable rise from N24.77 billion recorded over the course of 9 months.

Furthermore, the company reported earnings of N7.9 billion from capacity charges, compared to N1.9 billion for the same period last year.

Likewise, the total capacity charges for the first 9 months saw a remarkable increase, reaching N20.9 billion, up from N14.2 billion.

Remarkably, Geregu Power has not only exceeded its entire 2022 revenue of N47.6 billion but has achieved this milestone in just the first nine months of 2023.

In the light of his profit returns, Otedola is set to make many more grand gestures. Of course, the billionaire magnate has made several appreciable donations to charity, many of which fall outside the purview of the mainstream and new media. Not a few friends, family and business associates have attested to his knack for making charitable gestures in secret.

This further distinguishes him from his billionaire peers who would offer no help to anyone or donate to any cause except in the glare of the media cameras.

Indeed, for many years, the multi-billionaire magnates have approached philanthropy like an industry. They apparently didn’t feel very secure in their newfound wealth and were at a point in their lives where they thought to assert their legacies and charity concerns as business ventures. In their warped considerations of charity, the press better be around and in position as they toss their donations on the collection plate.

Many of them sought to transform philanthropy into a commercial venture.

Unlike Otedola, the billionaire mogul and giver whose commitment to charity is very hands-on, bolstered by a lot of research before giving and pressed towards accountability and results in the interests of beneficiaries of his charity.

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