If Nigerian businessman and oil mogul, Femi Otedola, Chairman of Forte Oil, had desired to pen his memoirs eight years ago when he
clocked 40, many would have found it simply irresistible. Alternatively, if he had then
engaged a creative writer to document his earthly sojourn from birth to the age of 40, the book would not only have enjoyed rave
reviews, but the biographer’s profile too would have no doubt been boosted. But it was not
for lack of interesting personal experiences to share with the world that he jettisoned the project then. Certainly, he has had so many
socio-economic events that can make the yet-to-be-documented book a compelling read.
But close sources claim that he is not in a hurry to release his memoirs for public consumption because he believes that he is
still an evolving phenomenon.
In spite of this, Otedola will be celebrated to high heavens, again, on Wednesday, November 4, when he turns 48. For a man who is not a
King, but who lives a kingly life, nothing short of commendations and eulogies will be literally poured on him by those who have encountered him during the forthcoming birthday celebration.
Reason? His life is a challenge to those who were born with the
silver spoon but, out of sheer indiscipline and lack of focus, abused the privilege; and his life
is also an inspiration for people from humble backgrounds that they should never entomb
their dreams, even in the face of adversity. It was gathered that while he was growing up,
he had displayed traits of a child destined to be great in life. He was precious to the admiration of all. While growing up, he had nursed a beautiful dream to be one of the
greatest businessmen in the world. As a son of a former Lagos State governor, the late Sir Michael Otedola, providence has been
magnanimous enough to him. So, many would argue that his paths were already laced with roses because of his background. But what many do not know is that he himself had sowed with sweats. In other words, the foundation of his business empire was laid
with sweat, determination and hard work. Of course, you cannot rule out the divine grace in
his life, a situation that further attests to his first name: Femi (it literally means God loves me).
Many years after he floated his business, he resolved to pursue his dream on a global stage. Though it looked an impossible task, he
was determined to pursue his ambition of ruling the world with unwavering doggedness. Today, the company is not only recognised
around the world, but the Lagos State- born oil mogul has been listed as one of the richest
on the continent of Africa. Typical of all successful men in history, he is not insulated against challenges. Time there was when he was dropped from the Forbes
list, after his company’s share dropped to its barest level. Time there was again when he was listed as one of Nigeria’s biggest debtors in 2011- he reportedly owed some banks about $900million. At that time, some had predicted the collapse of his business empire. But he bounced back like a hero. In October
2012,he was said to have paid off his debts, a claim backed by both his Forte Oil and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), an institution created by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to resolve the non-
performing loan assets of Nigerian banks. His company’s profit shot up astronomically, leaving the world in awe of his business
acumen. Apart from being the biggest diesel and kerosene marketer in Nigeria today, he is said to be the biggest ship owner in the country, which partly explains his nomination as president of Nigeria Chambers of Shipping, a
powerful and highly influential body in the maritime sector. The oil baron and shipping magnate also bought 100 brand new DAF
trucks from the Netherlands to strengthen his distribution arm. sZenon Oil now boasts a
total diesel storage capacity of more than 147,000 metric tonnes, making it the biggest depot owner with the largest single storage
capacity in the country. Blessed with deep pocket, but even deeper is his passion for humanity. Over the years, the soft-spoken philanthropist has proved to be a
pacesetter, in terms of humanitarian gestures. He has awarded multi-million naira
scholarships to indigenous students in Lagos State, especially those from Epe Town. Also,
many of them have been enjoying his milk of kindness for a long time.