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Otedola: Why I thought of suicide


Otedola: Why I thought of suicide

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Nigerian billionaire, Femi Otedola says he nearly committed suicide following the loss of $480 million in the diesel market when he failed in business around 2008.

He disclosed that his failure was so abysmal to the extent that his colleagues mocked him when Akin Akinfemiwa, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Geregu Power Plc, wanted to work with him at that time.

Otedola said this at Akinfemiwa’s 50th birthday celebration in London on Tuesday.

The oil magnate said it was the thought of his wife, Nana and their children that halted the suicide thought.

He said, “My relationship with Akin is what I would call, destiny prevails. In 2005 I had a friend that worked in Oando and she did mention to me that she has a colleague. And she called Akin and we spoke.”

“I set up my training company in London Fine Shade Energy, I was looking for a trader and I couldn’t find any good trader. I called Dimeji Edwards who was Akin’s boss. Akin picked up the phone to come and see me.

“So he came, and I said to him, ‘listen I want to give you a job’. Come and work for me. Then of course he went back to Wale and Mofe who were his bosses then (at Oando). And they said you want to go and work for that man? That has sacked 6 CEOs in 6 years.

“Now when I say destiny prevails, the business collapsed. I built a massive empire. I had 93% of diesel at my fingertips. I was a bit playful, and the business collapsed. The option I had then was to commit suicide. Then, of course, I thought of Nana and the kids. And I said no, I won’t commit suicide.

“I will face reality and sack myself and the business. So, I sacked myself. I made Akin the CEO of the London office, and I was so impressed by the way he turned around the business. I gave him 1% of the business. I now later, made him the CEO of Zenon Oil, and then the CEO of African Petroleum.”
(Daily Trust)