How Femi Otedola Helped Tony Elumelu With $20m To Take Over UBA From Bello-Osagie In 2003
Indeed, billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola is a prophet of enterprise. No doubt, he is one of the illustrious popes of commerce, robed and mitred in the resonance of their exploits. He is the artist who paints beautifully on canvas with his feats even as he writes wonderful poetry by his exploits.
That the last six decades of the hugely successful and astute businessman are packed with twists and turns worthy of a potential box-office is not in question.
Femi Otedola did not only walk the tightrope to the pinnacle of entrepreneurial success; he emerged stronger from situations that have the tendency to confine many to terminal illness if not to their untimely demise.
Of a fact, not many businessmen of Nigerian extraction could lose about $1.5 billion, and bounce back in a big way like Femi Otedola did.
He has distinguished himself from his contemporaries. His chutzpah to take a plunge when and where others develop cold feet stands him tall above his peers. His virtues and ideals have seen him elevated and celebrated by many.
However, his foray into business acquisition might just be gaining global attention, research has shown that the Chairman of Geregu Power Plc, has been at the top of the acquisition game for two decades.
For a man whose business acumen began to unravel at the age of six, Otedola’s shrewdness and methodical precision in investment decisions are not only top-notch but have been largely responsible for the entrepreneurial success he is currently enjoying. From African Petroleum to Forte Oil Plc, divestment from Forte to Geregu Power Plc, Otedola has demonstrated that he is made to play prominently in the economic sector.
Selfless to a fault, Otedola it was whom Tony Elumelu ran to in 2003 when the latter had his eyes set on United Bank for Africa (UBA) with a voracious intent to aggressively take it over from Hakeem Bello-Osagie.
As the Managing Director/CEO of the now defunct Standard Trust Bank (STB), not only did Elumelu not have the financial war chest to prize away UBA from its owners then; it was even more arduous a task to take over a bank of that calibre from a well-grounded Bello-Osagie who was at the helm of affairs.
Elumelu had to run cap-in-hand to Otedola begging him for Two Billion Naira (N2b), about twenty million dollars ($2m) at that time, which Otedola coughed out without bating an eyelid. It was this rare kind gesture from Otedola that set Elumelu on the path of banking excellence that now readily defines his career.
Little wonder Elumelu is forever in Otedola’s debt.Interestingly, Otedola built his name on the breeches of enterprise. Indeed, he crafted his repute on the steep planes of industry, where the nimble rises to acclaim by hard work and the lethargic plummets for lack of lustre.
Building an empire is no walk in the park; it requires a stern disposition to the elements – through good and bad times, success or failure, the entrepreneur must nurse an enduring passion for enterprise.
Thus even as the odds rallied against him as devised by torrid fate, he never cringed from the bothersome question: “What if I fail?”
He simply wondered: “What if I fly?”
And the rest is history.