Femi Otedola, a Nigerian billionaire, recently revealed that he faced a dark period in his life back in 2008 when he lost $480 million in the diesel market. During Akin Akinfemiwa’s 50th birthday celebration in London, Otedola spoke about the importance of perseverance and the support he received from Akinfemiwa, the CEO of his companies, during his time of despair.
In his own words, Otedola explained how Akinfemiwa played a crucial role in reviving his businesses after he had contemplated suicide due to the plummeting diesel prices that left him financially vulnerable. He recounted the story of how he initially connected with Akin through a friend who worked at Oando, and their subsequent meeting changed the course of his life.
Otedola had established his training company, Fine Shade Energy, in London and was in search of a competent trader. Struggling to find one, he reached out to Dimeji Edwards, Akin’s superior at Oando, who recommended Akin for the job. Akin accepted the offer and joined Otedola’s company, despite the skepticism of his colleagues who questioned his decision to work for someone known for sacking CEOs.
Destiny intervened when Otedola’s business collapsed, despite having built a significant empire with a dominant position in the diesel market. Faced with the dire situation, he considered ending his life but ultimately chose to persevere for the sake of his family. He made the difficult decision to step down and handed over the reins to Akin, who was heading the London office at that time.
Impressed by Akin’s ability to turn the business around, Otedola rewarded him by granting him a 1% stake in the company. Subsequently, Akin became the CEO of Zenon Oil and later African Petroleum, solidifying their partnership and demonstrating the power of destiny in their lives.