The mind of a wayfarer always wanders, so allow me to quickly share this thought before I walk on to something else.

I read about the funny turn that the bribery scandal involving Femi Otedola of Forte oil, formerly AP and Honourable Farouk Lawan of the House of Representatives has taken. It is reported that Otedola said “I bribed him (Lawan) in order to set him up.” The diminutive Honourable was said to have replied with the following line – “I collected the bribe in order to use it as exhibit,” the response sounds like one from a blockbuster Nollywood comedy parading the best of clowns like Sam Loco Efe, of blessed memory, Nkem Owoh (Osuofia) and John Okafor (Ibu).

Wonders shall never end in our great country Nigeria, the land of good people, great nation. I took my mind off the burden of that shameful exchange and resorted rather to think about the man Otedola. I’m not trying to exonerate him but I choose to control what I think of. Rather than give myself unnecessary headache because of a disHourable incident, I will rather move on to better things. I believe I can learn one or two things from all people, if the Bible could say “go to the ants” to learn, then I can pick a thing or the other from anyone’s life without sentiments. So, I tried looking at the life of one of the biggest financiers of Africa’s biggest political party, PDP (did you say biggest rigger?) and a strong contender for the position of Africa’s richest man. Don’t forget the brouhaha that came up not too long ago between our man in this study and the current occupier of that seat.

I tried looking at what lesson I can bring out from his life and this is it – that you can be set free from the bondage of no identity! Having an influential and renowned parent, kind of, puts you under that parent’s shadow. You don’t have your own identity because who you are is clouded by who your parent is. If I tell you I’m Dangote, your first question is likely to be – are You Aliko’s son? For those under their parent’s shadow its kind of frustrating (though it has its own pecks). I have read the frustrating stories of people who have lived under that shadow, nothing they get seem to be on merit – people believe they get those contracts, certain appointments or hit gold because of their parents. No one is ready to applaud them and accord them respect solely for who they are but rather for whose kids they are.

The shadow looks impossible to break free from and many even willingly succumb to live under such as they retain the name even in marriage and come up with funny compound names. Some try hard to break free from the name but with no success. The good news is that you can leave that shadow and build your own identity. When I think of the possibility and reality of this, the first name that comes to my mind is that of the Otedolas. When I mention Otedola, who comes to your mind, Femi? Probably, he is the only Otedola you even know. In 1992, Femi had no “identity,” at the mention of Otedola the person that came to people’s minds was Michael, his father and Governor of Lagos, at that time. Femi must have been under that shadow. Everywhere he turned, his only identity was as Michael Otedola’s son. Today, the table has turned, when the headlines read Otedola, we instantly think of Femi, the husband of Nana. Michael, today, may even be allowed in to some places simply because he is Femi Otedola’s father.

Femi did what many thought impossible, he stepped out of the shadow and got his own unique identity. Wikipedia in reference to his phenomenal growth has this to say about him, “From nowhere, Zenon (Femi’s brainchild) is today rated among the top five companies in the country, with a huge turnover . But how did he (Femi) do it many have asked? In an interview some years ago he attributed his phenomenal leap to “hard-work and staying focused on what you want and going all out to get it.” How he did it is another story entirely.

I don’t know what shadow you may be under, but here is the gist – You can step out of it. Be it the shadow of failure, lack or sickness. Whatever the shadow is, you can break free from it.


  1. Great write-up! Hardwork in the right direction is the key…seeth thou a man diligent in his biz…he shall stand with kings.


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