The name Otedola is, without a doubt, a household name in Nigeria and beyond. Although millennials and Gen Zs are well accustomed to the businessman and billionaire, Femi Otedola, whose name is consistently praised by contemporary musicians in the Nigerian music industry, the name ‘Otedola’ became widely known in 1992 when Michael Otedola became the second executive Governor of Lagos State. In fact, it was Michael Otedola’s administration that paved way for the establishment of the popular Yaba College of Technology campus in Epe. It is clear to see then that the Otedola name has been revered for a long time.
While Femi and Michael Otedola are widely recognised members of the family, there is a less-known member whose influence reverberates throughout the family; she is the matriarch of the Otedola household, Lady Doja Otedola.
The former first lady of Lagos State and mother of four boys, Lady Doja is the nurturing force behind the Otedola dynasty, known and celebrated across the globe.
After what must have been a long, fulfilling and eventful life, we celebrate her this year as she enters the year of unitary perfection. Born on the 3rd of April 1932, with little known about her, Lady Doja’s life is evidence that legacy transcends public acclamation or recognition. Described as illustrious and resourceful by those who know her, it is easy to see her influence on her children, one of whom has gone to build a conglomerate worth billions of naira, and another who has proficiently established himself in Nigeria’s agricultural sector. Little surprise then that even her grandchildren are celebrated for that same resourcefulness—DJ Cuppy and Tolani for their musical ingenuity; Temi for her work as a fashion influencer and also recently, as an actress.
Without a doubt, mothers are often the most impactful parental force in a child’s life, so when we see Femi Otedola doting on his children on social media, celebrating their achievements and lavishing them with expensive gifts, like the Ferraris he bought his daughters in 2020, we can only imagine the warmth, openness, and love that characterises Lady Doja’s approach to motherhood, some of which can be seen in her open affection to their son.
It’s not just her motherly influence that endears her to us, but also her heart of service to God and humanity. In December 2021, Lady Doja dedicated Saint Peters Catholic Church cathedral, Epe, to God, having decided years before that she would build a church before she turned 90. One might regard this move lightly since the expectation for old age is rest, but it only proves Lady Doja’s heart of lifetime service to God. Truly, anyone with the means can build a church, but not everyone with the means will choose to do so at age 89, and this is what distinguishes Lady Doja.
It takes a woman of great strength, steadfastness and compassion to serve like she continues to do, even in her old age.
But that’s not all. In 2018, despite her reservation about participating in political activities. During the 2019 general election, Lady Doja displayed passion for the future of Lagos State when she went on a re-election campaign for Akinwunmi Ambode. She gathered professionals, artisans and market women in Epe to get their voters cards and vote for a man she believed would lead Lagos into the future.
As the virtuous icon celebrates a milestone year, we recognise her warm-heartedness, her devotion to family, and her service to the good people of Lagos, and we wish her a very happy 90th birthday.
We pray that she enjoys the harvests of old age; peace of mind, the warmth of her family and the fulfilment of a well-lived life.