Again, Africa’s biggest Philanthropist, Femi Otedola has Done It!
Magnanimity is seldom a strong suit of Nigerian billionaires. But nature does not use a one-size fits all approach which is why billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola, is widely perceived as one of the rarest and kindest of money men.
Without a doubt, if the history of biggest philanthropists in Africa were to be documented, the billionaire’s name would definitely gain prominence.
Giving, without looking back, is a second skin to him. Whilst he would rather do this without making a song and a dance of it.
And he has done it again.
The benevolent billionaire has taken up the medical expenses of the famous reggae icon, Majek Fashek, who is terribly sick and stranded in London.
Confirming the story and sounding the alarm of the critical state of the ‘Rainmaker’, who is currently receiving treatment in a London hospital, his manager, Uzoma Day Omenka, painted a pathetic picture of the dire situation the musician is in.
Thankfully, Mr Otedola is taking care of the hospital bill fully and this has thrown Nigerians across the world into fits of joy.
Billionaire businessman and Chairman of Forte Oil, Femi Otedola, does not court media attention needlessly.
Yet, almost every move he makes, either in his business or private life, has never escaped the attention of newshounds.
He is a delight to professional journalists and biographers. If you choose to write about his uncommon feats as a businessman, you will come up with volumes of work that will most likely intimidate a bibliophile. In the same way, if you choose to document his philanthropic acts, in black and white, your hand may grow tired.
Such is the life of this oil mogul who has become an angel of hope to many and a God-sent to his compatriots who have been visited by the vicissitude and lassitude of life. To say he is generous with his God-given wealth is to put it mildly.
Among his other acts of uncommon generosity and fellow-feeling, he came to the rescue of ailing popular thespian, Victor Olaotan, last year, when he needed over $100,000 for treatment of an injury he sustained in a ghastly auto accident in 2016.
The veteran actor received the much-needed but expensive neuro-rehabilitation treatment that saved his legs from being amputated, courtesy of the Lagos State- born business magnate’s kindness.
In line with his avowed commitment to lending a helping hand to his needy compatriots, Otedola has, again, risen to help a soul, Christian Chukwu. Immediately news broke that the former Green Eagles skipper needed $50,000 to complete treatment for prostate cancer which has affected his leg, Otedola was said to have called him and promised to foot the bill at the Wellington Hospital, London. He could not imagine the man who had made the country proud in the past as the captain of the first Nigeria team to win the African Nation cup continue to writhe in pains.
In May this year, Otedola also came to the aid of Peter Fregene, a former Green Eagles goalkeeper, who had been bedridden since 2001, after a SUNDAY PUNCH report.
Otedola has also reportedly taken up the medical expenses of ailing Nollywood actor, Sadiq Daba.
In 2017, Sadiq Daba, who had been battling leukaemia and prostate cancer for the past few years, returned to Nigeria from the UK where he went for medical treatment. The ace broadcaster also revealed that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in November 2017. This was barely months after he was hospitalised due to leukaemia.
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Facebook Announces its New Office in Lagos, Nigeria
As part of its continued commitment and ongoing investment in Africa, Facebook today announced it will be opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria – its second office on the African continent. Aimed at supporting the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region, the office is expected to become operational in H2 2021 and will be the first on the continent to house a team of expert engineers building for the future of Africa and beyond.Facebook’s office will be home to various teams servicing the continent from across the business, including Sales, Partnerships, Policy, Communications as well as Engineers.Commenting, Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Head of New Product Experimentation said: “The opening of our new office in Lagos, Nigeria presents new and exciting opportunities in digital innovations to be developed from the continent and taken to the rest of the world. All across Africa we’re seeing immense talent in the tech ecosystem, and I’m proud that with the upcoming opening of our new office, we’ll be building products for the future of Africa, and the rest of the world, with Africans at the helm. We look forward to contributing further to the African tech ecosystem.” The investment of the new Facebook office follows the 2018 opening of NG_Hub, its first flagship community hub space in Africa in partnership with CcHub, and the 2019 opening of a Small Business Group (SBG) Operations Centre in Lagos, in partnership with Teleperformance. Providing outsourced support to all English-speaking advertisers across Sub-Saharan Africa, the SBG office supports Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) through its Advocacy, Community & Education (ACE) programme, as well as its Marketing Expert sales programmes – all aimed at enabling SMBs to accelerate the growth and development of their businesses. “Our new office in Nigeria presents an important milestone which further reinforces our ongoing commitment to the region”, commented Kojo Boakye, Facebook’s Director of Public Policy, Africa. “Our mission in Africa is no different to elsewhere in the world – to build community and bring the world closer together, and I’m excited about the possibilities that this will create, not just in Nigeria, but across Africa.” Since the opening of its first office in 2015, Facebook has made a number of investments across the continent, aimed at supporting and growing the tech ecosystem, expanding and providing reliable connectivity infrastructures and helping businesses to grow locally, regionally and globally. This includes the recent rollout of its SMB Grants programme in Nigeria and South Africa, aimed at supporting over 900 businesses by providing a combination of cash and ad credits to help small businesses as they rebuild from COVID. The development of 2Africa, the world’s largest subsea cable project that will deliver much needed internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa, as well as its ongoing training programmes across the continent which support various communities including students, SMBs, digital creatives, female entrepreneurs, start-up’s and developers. Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director, Facebook Africa,said: “We’re delighted to be announcing our new office in Nigeria. Five years on from opening our first office on the continent in Johannesburg, South Africa, we’re continuing to invest in and support local talent, as well as the various communities that use our platforms. The office in Lagos will also be key in helping to expand how we service our clients across the continent.”
Billionaire Businessman, Harry Akande, Battles Shoprite
Billionaire Harry Ayoade Akande towers above many of his contemporaries, particularly because he has been in warm embrace of fame for many decades.
Beyond his famed status as a successful businessman, he has also remained very relevant owing to his uncommon brilliance, a quality that has endeared him to many across the globe.
The Agbaoye of Ibadan, who set out to pursue his dreams quite early in life, had served as a business advisor and consultant to many other businessmen, including governments of several nations.
The world-class businessman in the past has scored many firsts in the nation’s business climate to the envy of many of his competitors.
Indeed, he would have scored yet another first in 2005, as the South African retail store, Shoprite, had several meetings with his company, AIC Limited, and agreed his company would be the exclusive operator and manager of its brand across West Africa, except Ghana where the Shoprite brand was already established.
Consequently , there were a series of business meetings between Akande’s representatives and Shoprite Checkers first in South Africa on April 16, 1998 and then at Akande’s office in Victoria Island, Lagos on May 27, 1998.
Shoprite was also said to have flown in representatives who were shown possible locations for retail stores at some locations ,including Lekki Roundabout, Trade fair Complex and Lagos National Theatre, Iganmu.
But when the South African retail giant was ready to commence operations in Nigeria, it allegedly sidelined Akande’s AIC and incorporated another company, Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, and began using the new entity to operate in Nigeria, thereby breaching agreements between them.
The billionaire was upset and this led to a prolonged legal battle with Akande securing a 2018 major victory against the South African retail group for breaching contract between both parties in Suit No LD/488/2010 —AIC Limited (Claimant) v Shoprite Checkers (PTY) Ltd of South Africa and Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited (Defendants).
However, Shoprite owners appealed the judgement, while the Ibadan, Oyo State-born billionaire secured another victory in May 2020 at the appellate court.
Though the three-man panel of Court of Appeal , Lagos Division, didn’t agree to Akande’s cross appeal, demanding 50 per cent of $92.3million as loss of profit he suffered due to the incorporation of Retail Supermarkets Limited, it unanimously affirmed the judgment of a Lagos High Court that awarded $10 million (N4.7 billion) damages against Shoprite Checkers (PTY) Limited.
Apart from the $10 million award, the court had directed the South African retail giant to pay 10 percent per annum on the damages, with effect from the date of judgment until the final liquidation of the entire sum.
Consequently, the shrewd businessman has initiated a fresh legal battle at the Federal High Court to halt Shoprite Checkers’ exit moves out of Nigeria until the entire sum demanded is paid to the last kobo.
The billionaire, through his company, has got an ex-parte application for an order of Mareva Injunction restraining the South African retail giant, its privies, officers, nominees, successors-in-title, subsidiaries or anyone acting through it or by it from transferring, assigning, charging, disposing of its trademark, franchise and intellectual property in a manner that will alter, dissipate or remove these non-cash assets from the court’s jurisdiction.
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