News and Society Expression Unfold

+1 202 555 0180

Have a question, comment, or concern? Our dedicated team of experts is ready to hear and assist you. Reach us through our social media, phone, or live chat.

News and Society Expression Unfold

THE HAND THAT GIVES: Otedeola to Build Staff Quarters, Hostel at Nigerian Law School By Keem Abdul 

Read Time:5 Minute, 55 Second


These days, it seems he is determined to give away money with the same intentionality and assiduousness with which he made it in the first place. And with each giving over the years – whether singlehanded or in concert with others – he has set a benchmark for others of his status, as well as other philanthropists, social investors and Good Samaritans on the art of public good. 

The news that the Chairman of the Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Holdings, and Geregu Power Plc, the Nigerian billionaire, Femi Otedola, CON, has pledged to construct staff quarters at the Nigerian Law School in Lagos, has been received with great enthusiasm, not just by stakeholders in the country’s continuing education ecosystem, but by all well-meaning Nigerians. 

More than just these happy responses, Otedola’s gesture, according to the Director-General of the Nigerian Law School (NLS), Prof. Isa Chiroma in his address at the recently-held 2024 Call to Bar ceremonies in Abuja, the Nigerian federal capital, has already generated a highly salutary ripple effect in the form of similar pledges, notably from prominent business leaders and politicians, including the Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote (who happens to be a close friend of Otedola’s) and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike. Both men have pledged to improve the infrastructure of the NLS across various campuses around the country. While Dangote intends to build a students’ hostel in the Kano Campus of the NLS, Wike, on his part, will build staff quarters in the Abuja Campus of the school, and also provide a number of official vehicles.

The DG added that Otedola’s intervention – and its ripple effects – have come at a critical time when the Nigerian Law School is experiencing an astronomical increase in the number of applicants, putting its infrastructure under increasing pressure. 

This latest gesture is very much in line with Otedola’s long-standing passion for an overhaul of the Nigerian educational system in terms of the upgrade of physical infrastructure and modern facilities to give Nigerian institutions the capacity to compete with their counterparts elsewhere in the world according globally-recognized standards and indices. This passion has been on display for years now, with his massive financial outlay, for example, into pet projects such as the Michael Otedola University Scholarship Scheme, which was established in 1985 to give underprivileged students in Lagos State access to higher education. Named after the billionaire’s father (the late former Governor of Lagos State) the Scheme has over time been swelled by donations from individuals and corporate organizations, and has benefitted countless students. Same with the Otedola College of Primary Education in Epe, Lagos State, to which he, and others, have made substantial donations, as well as institutions elsewhere in the country, such as the University of Port Harcourt, whose Faculty of Agriculture has also been a beneficiary of his largesse. 

Otedola’s philanthropy extends well beyond the educational sector. He has also intervened in areas ranging from healthcare to sports. In 2005, for example, he made a N300 million personal donation towards the completion of the National Ecumenical Centre in Abuja (Nigeria’s primary place of inter-denominational Christian worship). In 2007, he was among a group of donors who handed over the sum of N200 million to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund in a drive to reduce crime in that state.  

And on and on – including gestures done in private, and known only to their immediate beneficiaries, myself  inclusive. 

This impressive record of social investment ticks many boxes in Otedola’s business model, as well as his entire outlook on life, including his desire to expand the circle of opportunity to as many deserving Nigerians as possible. 

To call Mr. Otedola a Good Samaritan will be to state the obvious, of course. But it is safe to say that the accolades being showered on him, especially after his latest gesture in respect of the Nigerian Law School, Lagos Campus, would probably be much louder if more people knew where the impetus for his active (one can even say, activist) philanthropy came from. 

No, it didn’t just emanate from his own privileged background as Sir Michael Otedola’s son, or his upbringing and education, or even his accomplishments in business and position atop the financial totem pole in Nigeria and beyond. Neither does it emanate from the desire to do well for oneself, to secure a level of comfort for oneself and one’s loved ones (on that score, Otedola has done VERY WELL indeed!).  

It emanates, simply, from the desire to make an impact on this mortal plane while one still has the breath of life in him or her. It also emanates from his understanding that life has given him his fair share of material goods and advantages – and no small amount of fortunate encounters and opportunities to recover from setbacks and the consequences of mistakes and wrong choices. For people like him, gratitude just has to a more tangible form than mere thanksgiving.  

Also, in a society where a large number of people are praying for their ‘destiny-helper’ to ‘locate’ them, it is refreshing to see that there are others (admittedly a small minority) whose prayer is to BE the destiny-helper in question, and to do the locating. Olufemi Otedola, CON, it seems, belongs to the latter group.

In the end, as the American civil rights icon, Dr. Martin Luther King reminded the world years ago in his famous essay, ‘On Jericho Road,’ we humans (whatever our station in life) are all on a journey along Jericho Road. And on that road there are some who have been injured by life and left for dead. How we respond to the plight of these wounded souls by the wayside – whether like the Priest and the Levite in Jesus’ famous parable (who prioritized religiosity, ceremony and status over humanity) or like the Good Samaritan, who did the opposite – will determine the fate (at least in the short term) of those whose destinies are, directly or indirectly, connected to ours, as well as our own place in history.

As another child of privilege – the late Diana, Princess of Wales – once said, wealth is a blessing, but if you have a conscience, it is also a burden. What you do with that burden determines much more than just another’s welfare or your own peace of mind. It impacts on the world around, and even on generations yet unborn. It creates the ripple effects that Otedola’s interventions keeps creating with his every philanthropic gesture. 

It was the English scholar, James D. Purkiser who said that it is not what we SAY about our blessings, opportunities and second chances, but what we DO with them, that shows the full measure of our thanksgiving. Fortunately for the staff and students of the Lagos Campus of the Nigerian Law School, and indeed for all who have benefited directly or indirectly from his largesse, and indeed for society in general, Olufemi Otedola, CON, embodies that principle to the letter.  


Prev Post

MISSION TO DOHA : Tinubu Signs Landmark Agreements with Qatar  By Keem Abdul 

Next Post