Femi Otedola (born 4 November 1962) is a Nigerian businessman and philanthropist. Otedola is the former chairman of Forte Oil PLC, an importer of fuel products. He also founded Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd in addition to other businesses spanning across shipping, real estate and finance. He recently invested in power generation as part of the liberalisation of the sector in Nigeria.
Femi Otedola was born in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, south west Nigeria, into the family of the late Sir Michael Otedola who ruled Lagos State as Governor 1992 to 1993.
While still a child, Otedola’s ambition was to become a Reverend Father but his business instinct started quite early.
Otedola once said: “I had my first business at the age of six. It was called FEMCO. I would offer to groom my parents’ guests’ nails. Then, write a receipt and charge them for my service. They paid me too. I always had an interest in business.
Tolani Otedola who is now a singer is his first daughter and after Tolani’s birth, Femi married Nana Otedola and had two more daughters namely Florence Ifeoluwa and Elizabeth Temi—and then a son, Fewa who is said to be autistic but a great source of joy to the family.Temi once said “It is true that consideration for Fewa will always affect the decisions I make in my life. Despite this, Fewa is by no means a burden. These worries do not reduce the immense love I have for my brother who has brought so much joy and shown me the purest form of love.” Talking about the woman she has become, Temi Otedola quoted the Bard, “Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.”
Florence Otedola, aka DJ Cuppy, is a DJ and music producer, as well as a tourism ambassador for Nigeria. Her younger sister, Temi, is a style blogger and aspiring designer. Otedola’s homes are situated in Lagos, Abuja, Dubai, London and New York City.
In December 2016, Otedola was embroiled in a controversy where two Toronto-based sisters—Jyoti and Kiran Matharoo—reportedly tried to extort him by cyberbullying and blackmail, claiming they had evidence of Otedola cheating on his wife that they would post on a notorious sex-scandal website. The sisters dispute Otedola’s account. According to their account Jyoti met Otedola, straight out of University, in 2008. He whisked her and Kiran to Nigeria, and began an affair with him. They acknowledge that his gifts enriched them, as did gifts from other wealthy boyfriends, but dispute they ever engaged in blackmail, or even demanding gifts.
Zenon Petroleum and Gas
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.
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