Creativity in their blood: Femi Otedola and his arty children

by Araayo Akande

Whenever people hear the name Otedola, what comes to mind is money– lots of it. Well, they are right to link the name with wealth because Femi Otedola is indeed a wealthy man.

Forbes rated the owner of Geregu Power Plc the world’s #1011 billionaire in 2016. He had been ranked 16th among Africa’s 50 Richest Persons of 2015 by the same publication. Though he dropped off the World’s Billionaires list in 2017 due to Nigeria’s economic recession which affected his oil company, he remains very wealthy and a generous giver. 

Apart from Otedola’s vast wealth, his philanthropy is also legendary. Last year, he again assisted veteran actor, Sadiq Daba, who was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Earlier in April, the business tycoon had offered to foot the medical bill of former Super Eagles’ Coach, Christian Chukwu. He had also previously offset the medical bills of former international goalkeeper, Peter Fregene, and veteran actor, Victor Olaotan. 

What appears not to be well documented about the business mogul is his love for the arts and permission for his children to fully express their creativity. Though the son of ex-Lagos State Governor, the late Sir Michael Otedola alluded to his appreciation of the arts in his statement when he assisted Daba the second time, most people view him just as a consumer of the arts, not an active promoter of creativity.

Otedola had said: “Though I don’t know Mr Daba personally, he is a face I am familiar with through the old TV drama, ‘ Cock Crow at Dawn’ I used to watch while growing up. I was moved by a sense of nostalgia and concern when I read of his medical situation recently and decided to take over his medical bills.”

Unlike several well-heeled parents who won’t allow their children to dabble into the creative arts, Otedola is actively supporting his children in their artistic pursuits. Don’t be surprised that apart from wealth, the name Otedola might soon become synonymous with art. 

His second daughter, Florence Ifeoluwa, better known as Cuppy, is a DJ, music producer and songwriter. The artist, who started quite early, favours an open-format DJ style and seamlessly fuse commercial hits with innovative remixes. She released her first compilation, ‘House of Cuppy’ in 2014. It was launched successfully in London, New York and Lagos. In 2015, Cuppy embarked on an 8-country tour; Cuppy Takes Africa. Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa were among the countries she visited

Cuppy, who holds a Masters in Music from New York University, has interned at Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, performed at SXSW Festival and starred as the resident DJ on MTV’s ‘Uncommon Sense’ Show. She released her first official single, ‘Green Light’ featuring Tekno in 2017 and ‘Vybe’ featuring Ghana’s Sarkodie in 2018. She has since released other singles including ‘Currency’ featuring LAX, ‘Werk’ alongside Skuki; ‘Charged Up’ with MasterKraft; ‘Abena’ featuring Kwesi Arthur, Shaydee, Ceeza Milli and ‘Gelato’ featuring Zlatan Ibile. She also had a gig at President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration in 2015. 

Otedola’s third daughter, Temi, is a designer and owner of the JTO Fashion style blog. She has a degree in Art History from University College London and had an internship at Oscar de la Renta on Mount Street. Impressively, the designer who has also taken a shine to acting is currently on location with Kunle Afolayan as he shoots his latest film, ‘Citation’. Written by Afolayan’s long term collaborator, Tunde Babalola, ‘Citation’ explores the prevalence of sexual harassment, especially of female students, in universities. It is being shot in Nigeria, Senegal and Cape Verde. The debutant actor is playing, ‘Moremi’, a role Afolayan says is major. Interestingly, one of her father’s favourites artists, Sadiq Daba, is also featuring in the movie. 

Unlike her two younger sisters, Otedola’s oldest daughter, Olawumi Christine, is not very visible on the arts/entertainment scene. Interestingly, she’s also a singer based in the UK. In August 2016, when she had her showcase in London, proud Daddy, Femi; and her two sisters were in attendance. 

Otedola’s only son, Fewa, who is autistic, has been reported to be a music lover too. However, evidence (s) of his reported appearance on America’s Got Talent could not be found.  

But even at that, there’s no disputing the fact that the easy-going billionaire is raising a clan of artists whose art will mature as they grow older. Long may they thrive. 

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