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Unveiling Otedola’s new found love

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Mr Femi Otedola is reputed for his exploits in oil and gas and other successful investments in Nigeria and abroad. His recent interest in restoring lost hope to the needy has, however, captured public attention. BABA MARIAM examines Otedola’s new love.

To the former Green Eagles Captain Christian Chukwu, the oil magnate, Mr Femi Otedola ranks next to God. Chukwu was not just playing on words to entertain his audience. Rather, he was being truthful to himself and expressing gratitude to Otedola for saving his life from the jaw of death.

 Naija Diaspora recalled a certain health challenge which nearly claimed the life of Chukwu and which made his family to seek financial assistance from the public.

Touched by Chukwu’s family’s appeal, Otedola did not keep them waiting as he provided a sum of N50 million being the amount required to get him right treatment in a UK hospital.  Not long afterwards, the then ailing Chukwu found himself in Wellington Hospital, Londonwhere he underwent a successful surgical operation which rescued him from the claws of death.

 On his return to Nigeria, the highly elated Chukwu on his visit to his benefactor in Lagos, was emotional pouring ointment of gratitude on Otedola whom he described as God sent.

He said, “Otedola has made me. I can play football again. If you saw me before I left for London, you won’t believe I woud be here talking to you. I won’t be making a mistake if I say after God, it is Otedola in my life. I had many complications and I could not walk. When I heard Otedola brought out money for my treatment, I marveled because in my circle, we didn’t know him before then. We have people with us but they forgot or it is not in their character (to help). I don’t know how to thank Otedola enough.”

As if he just picked interest in putting smiles on the faces of old football stars who had represented Nigeria well during their play days, Otedola also got wind of the sorry condition of Nigeria’s former goalkeeper between 1968 and 1971, Peter Fregene and came to his aid.

From the field of Football, Otedola moved his philanthropic gesture to the stage of entertainment where he found the reggae act, Majek Fashek, struggling with his failing health. The famous “rainmaker” was down because of lack of capacity to fund his medical. However, Otedola intervened and saved him just as he saved other two Nigerian actors: Sadiq Daba and Victor Olaotan.

Similarly, his foundation also looked the direction of Augustine University (AUI) in his Epe, Lagos State hometown where he donated a new Engineering Faculty worth N2 billio.

The donation was attended by his mother, Lady Doja, and His Grace, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, the Catholic archbishop of Lagos and the proprietor of the institution.

The most recent of Otedola’s charity was the N5 billion which he donated in support of the ‘Save the Children’ for the rehabilitation of displaced children who are victims of Boko Haram insurgency in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. Otedola’s eldest daughter, Tolani Otedola, stood in for her father at a gala event held in Abuja.

Incidentally, the event was organised by another daughter of Otedola, who is popularly known as DJ Cuppy and an Ambassador for the ‘Save the Children’. As solidarity to his friend’s kind heart, one of Otedola’s friends, Aliko Dangote, also donated N100 million, therefore, bringing the total donation to N5.1 billion.

After the ovation, which greeted the announcement subsided, the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo acknowledged the donation as the single largest by any philanthropist in the country

Also awed by the donation, a social commentator, Reno Omokri said Otedola had put the billionaires of the North East to shame with his donation to a geo-political zone where he has no interest.

The outspoken Omokri queried, “Where are the Indimis, the Mai Deribe family and other oil billionaires from the North East? Google their names and some of the first pictures you will see are of their children in private jets marrying President’s children and displaying obscene wealth while surrounded by extreme poverty. It took a Good Samaritan stranger to do what the natives of the North East failed to do! Shame on them and God bless the talakawa that they have refused to look after.”

Interestingly, Otedola has soul mates in Tony Elumelu, of the Union Bank of Africa (UBA) who founded the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Jim Ovia, the founder of Zenith Bank, who has invested in education with his James Hope College, a world-class, private school in Agbor, Delta and Lagos State, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, of Access Bank and Coronation Capital is also said to have Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG), annually sponsoring five students from Nigeria and Ghana to the University of Oxford, Professor Pat Utomi who supports widows, Florence Ita-Giwa who provides for the poor in Bakassi, Sir Emeka Offor, Mr. Oba Otudeko, Folorunsho Alakija, Otunba Subomi Balogun and Dr Segun Aina Foundation.

Worried by fear of Nigerian factor likely eating into the running of the above foundations, a public analyst wrote,” But it is not enough to make donations or set up a Foundation. There must be transparency and accountability in the management of funds and processes. Sustainability is important. Too many Foundations rise and fall. We hope Femi Otedola and his daughters will find every reason to sustain their new-found passion.”

A unique thing about Otedola, which is common among other philanthropists, is that he speaks less about his charity. As a matter of principle, Otedola is hardly seen making reference his previous donations.

All which Otedola has so far said is: “God has been so kind, the only way I can show my gratitude to Him is to use my resources to support those who are underprivileged. This I intend to do for the rest of my life. In a world full of conflicts, diseases, calamities and inequality, we all need to show the milk of human kindness, to reach out and comfort the sick and give a helping hand to the weak.”

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Gallery: Diaspora Excellence Award 2023

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At the occasion organized in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Naija Diaspora Magazine, several individuals, companies, governors, traditional rulers, business owners, government agencies and parastatals as well as politicians were honored for their outstanding performances in 2023. The publication celebrated its
10th anniversary with a two-day event that included the Symposium and Annual Diaspora Excellence Award. This platform provided a unique opportunity for collective learning, networking, and gaining insights into government policies that relate to communities. Attendees were empowered to navigate pathways of positive change. The Symposium lecture was titled: ‘Building a Nation’, with several dignitaries as speakers.

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Inaugural Anambra State Union Football Tournament Triumphs Amidst Adversity

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On the 6th of August 2023, a monumental event took place at St Michel, Terminus, Douala, marking the commencement of the First Edition of the Anambra State Union Football Tournament. Under the stewardship of Sir Emeka Uzoka, Chairman of the Anambra State Union, this tournament emerged as a testament to unity, sportsmanship, and the indomitable spirit of the Anambra community.

The opening ceremony set the stage for what would become an unforgettable showcase of camaraderie and competitive fervor. A true celebration of tradition and athleticism, the tournament kicked off with a Veteran Match at 2:00 pm. The clash between Aguata Local Government Union and Nnewi Local Government Union resulted in a gripping encounter, with Aguata securing victory with a 2-0 score line.

Distinguished figures graced the event with their presence, adding prestige to the occasion. Among them was Mr. Oliva Ochi, Consul 1 at the Consulate General Douala, representing the esteemed Consul General, H.E. Amb. (Mrs.) Efe A. Clark-Omeru.

The honorable gathering was further enriched by the participation of key personalities, including: Hon. BIC Okwujiaku, President of the Nigerian Community Douala, HRH Eze Jonathan T. Onyenagubor, Eze Gburugburu 1 of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Cameroon, Sir, Lovinus Ezeh, Vice President, Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Alex Nwoye, Vice President 2, Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Uche Obiekwe, Patron of the Nigerian Community Douala, Chief Innocent Obiorah Odoh, Patron Anambra State Union, Chairmen of Imo and Enugu States Union, Esteemed members of the Anambra State Union.

The event also extended its reach to include esteemed guests from Douala and beyond.
In recognition of the paramount importance of safety and well-being, the organizers ensured the presence of dedicated medical health and security personnel, assuring attendees a secure environment throughout the event.

Despite the inclement weather characterized by heavy rain, the unyielding spirit of the Anambra community remained unshaken. A testament to their passion for football and unity, a remarkable number of attendees braved the elements, converging to witness the unfolding of history on the lush fields of St Michel, Terminus.

The final was held on Sunday 12th of November 2023 @ Bonamousadi Stadium Douala. Oyi Local Government lifted the trophy while Aguta Local Government took the bronze and Idemili Local Government took silver.

The inaugural Anambra State Union Football Tournament stands as an embodiment of shared values, intercommunity collaboration, and the timeless appeal of sport. This event not only etched a significant mark on the sporting calendar but also served as a reminder of the resilience and unity that define the Anambra community.

As the tournament concluded its first chapter, it left in its wake a legacy of camaraderie, sporting excellence, and the promise of more remarkable editions to come.

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CAMEROON: Miniature Africa

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Cameroon, nestled in the heart of Central Africa, is a country with a captivating blend of rich cultural diversity, stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife. Often referred to as « Miniature Africa, » Cameroon offers travelers a unique and multifaceted experience, showcasing the continent’s essence in a single destination.

With more than 250 ethnic groups and languages, Cameroon is a melting pot of diverse cultures, traditions and customs. The capital city, Yaoundé, and the economic hub, Douala, provide excellent starting points to dive into Cameroon’s cultural wealth.

Cameroon’s diverse geography offers a plethora of breathtaking landscapes, each with its unique charm.
In the West, the mist-covered peaks of Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in West Africa, beckon adventurous hikers to climb and witness awe-inspiring views of the surrounding scenery.
Towards the North, the Sahelian region boasts vast savannas and semi-arid landscapes, offering visitors an opportunity to spot magnificent wildlife, and in the East, the dense rainforests of the Congo Basin teem with a rich variety of flora and fauna, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and exotic bird species.

Tourism Spots on a Budget
Here are a selection of the most distinguished and captivating tourist destinations in Cameroon. These remarkable locales boast accessibility without undue strain on one’s financial resources, making them irresistible choices for tourists.

Mefou National Park:
Mefou National Park houses the Mefou Primate Sanctuary, a rescue center managed by Ape Action Africa. With over 300 rare and endangered primates, it’s a significant conservation project in Africa, providing lifelong care and rehabilitation for animals rescued from illegal trades.

Limbe:
Formerly known as Victoria, Limbe is a port city with a diverse flora and fauna influenced by its colonial past. The Limbe Wildlife Centre/Botanical Centre offers a close-to-nature experience, rescuing and caring for ill-treated and endangered animals.

Mount Cameroon:
Mount Cameroon, also called the « Chariot of the Gods, » is West Africa’s highest mountain and an active volcano. A popular destination for adventurers and hikers, the trek offers stunning views, diverse landscapes and encounters with wildlife like monkeys and birds.

Kribi Beach:
Kribi Beach, in the southwestern region, boasts long white sand beaches and clear waters. It’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing and water sports. Visitors can also enjoy the Chutes de la Lobé waterfall, where they can swim under the falls. Local cuisine and seafood delicacies await at various restaurants.

Korup National Park:
Korup National Park, renowned for its bird species, offers pristine tropical wilderness. Visitors can enjoy lodging infrastructure and spot unique primates like the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee and Perseus’s red colobus. Located near the ocean, Mundemba serves as a starting point for tours to the park, where guides often speak the local Cameroonian language.

Cameroon stands tall as a remarkable destination for audacious travelers seeking a blend of cultural diversity, awe-inspiring landscapes and thrilling adventures. From the depths of the rainforests to the heights of its mountains, and from the bustling cities to the serene beaches, the land beckons with open arms, ready to share its enchanting beauty and warm hospitality with all who venture to explore its wonders. As tourism in Cameroon continues to grow sustainably, the country’s potential as a captivating and memorable destination will undoubtedly flourish.

 

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