Femi Otedola, one of Nigeria’s richest men, has donated NGN 5 billion (approximately $14 million) to the Save the Children Fund through his daughter, DJ Cuppy’s Foundation, to support various intervention programmes for destitute children in Nigeria’s north-east region.
It is believed to be the single largest individual donation to charity in Nigeria’s history.
Otedola made the donation on Sunday, November 10, 2019, at a ceremony organized by the Cuppy Foundation in Abuja to raise funds for Save the Children. Cuppy Foundation is a non-profit organisation established by Otedola’s daughter, Florence Otedola (aka DJ Cuppy). The charity works to improve the welfare of Nigeria’s vulnerable and marginalized children, focusing on early childhood education and healthcare among numerous other programmes.
Otedola, who announced the donation through his eldest daughter, Tolani Otedola, noted that the persistent crisis in Nigeria’s northeast region which is the result of armed conflict between state actors and non-state armed groups, has produced widespread unrest for many civilians and rendered millions of children in need of humanitarian assistance. He called on other wealthy Nigerians to emulate his actions.
“God has been so kind to me in life and I feel highly privileged. 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,” he said.
Responding to Otedola’s donation, Kevin Watkins, the CEO of Save The Children, pledged that every penny out of it would be spent improving the lives of the children affected by insurgency in the northeast. Otedola’s donation will be managed by the Save The Children Fund and will be used to finance various intervention programmes for children in Borno, Adamawa and Katsina.
Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osibanjo who was the guest of honor at the ceremony commended Otedola’s generosity and told the guests at the event that Nigeria’s richest people must refocus their minds on caring for Nigeria’s poor.
According to the Vice President, in 2015, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari established one of Africa’s largest social investment programmes in Africa with about N500 billion annually.
He added, “Yet we are far from where we ought to be. It is obvious that government cannot do it alone. So, we don’t need to be billionaires to do our part. It is time for every one of us to decide that we can make a difference to ensure that the poor and vulnerable are given a decent life.”
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, also graced the occasion and donated N100 million ($275,000), to the Save The Children Fund. He also acknowledged Otedola’s philanthropy and noted that
“People find it very difficult in Nigeria to give money away but the more you give the more God blesses you. Femi, you are no more a rich man. You have joined the league of wealthy men. I have said I will give more of my money when I pass away,” Dangote said.
Otedola’s daughter, Ifeoluwa Otedola, popularly known by her moniker ‘DJ Cuppy’, is an ambassador of the Save the Children UK. She launched the foundation in August 2018 after making a trip to Maiduguri, Borno State, in Nigeria’s northeast region.
Speaking at the event, Miss Otedola said she started the foundation as a way of giving back to the less fortunate.
“Becoming an ambassador for Save the Children has exposed me to so many children around the world. I was able to visit Save the Children in Maiduguri with the help of my godfather Alhaji Aliko Dangote.”
The Save the Children Fund, commonly known as Save the Children was established in the United Kingdom in 1919 to improve the lives of children through better education, health care, and economic opportunities, as well as providing emergency aid in natural disasters, war, and other conflicts.
Energy tycoon Femi Otedola, 57, is one of Nigeria’s most revered philanthropists. Last December, he donated $6 million to construct a multi-storey building at the Augustine University in Epe, Lagos. Otedola, 56, made his fortunes in gas stations and shipping. He is now the owner and chairman of Geregu Power PLC, one of Nigeria’s largest utility companies.
By Mfonobong Nsehe