Lady Doja Otedola: Celebrating ‘Mama Efficiency” at 90

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By Sina Ogunbambo

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Until she was stopped for security reasons, the First Lady of Lagos State during the second civilian regime, Mrs Doja Otedola at over the age of 80, would jog for about two hours every day from her Odoragushin town residence to Epe, accompanied by her dogs.

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Her stoppage from observing her daily exercise outside her home however could not disturb her morning press – up exercise every day and other athletic exercises in her large compound.

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Tall, black and beautiful with the athletic figure, Lady Doja Otedola had been the favourite of undergraduates at the University of Lagos in the seventies and eighties for the smooth running of the cafeteria.

This Chief Caterer with fantastic culinary skills was nicknamed “Mama Efficiency” for the dynamic way she ran the outfit.

It was this dynamism and passion that Mrs Doja Otedola who was born on April 3, 1932 and is 90 years old today brought to the Government House in Lagos State from January 1992 to November 1993 , when she was the wife of the Executive Governor and Chairperson, Better Life for Rural Dwellers.

The better half of Late Sir Michael Agbolade Otedola, second civilian Governor of Lagos State had been managing a large poultry and piggery farm in Epe before her husband became the helmsman in the State of aquatic splendour , so it was an easy task for her to mobilise, train and engage rural women in farming, trading and crafts.

To her credit, hundreds of women were not only empowered, gainfully employed but became employers of labour.

All the aides of her husband, including Commissioners, Special Advisers, Personal Staff, Permanent Secretaries and others who either had a working relationship or social relationship enjoyed her motherly love, charm and savoured her delicacies.

A fantastic hostess, there was never a dull moment with Mama.

Before her advent in Government, she had been an asset and a great mobiliser for her husband during the politicking days, especially the campaign periods when Michael Otedola Campaign Organisation (MOCO) was formed.

She traversed every nook and cranny in Lagos State to campaign for the National Republican Convention (NRC) political party where Sir Otedola eventually emerged the gubernatorial candidate and later won the election with a landslide.

About a decade before her husband became the Governor of Lagos State, she had been a prime supporter of Sir Michael Otedola scholarship scheme for indigent students in Lagos State, a project that produced a lot of University graduates and professionals who might have been denied of furthering their education beyond primary school leaving certificate level.

A very modest woman, she detested a flamboyant life as First Lady and rather than be demoralised that the Military through a coup – d’etat that brought Late General Sani Abacha to power, truncated her husband’s four year tenure as elected Governor, she warmly welcomed Sir Otedola back to Odoragushin with dance and drums after one year and eleven months in office, saying he has served meritoriously, with his integrity intact and return back home alive.

A devout Christian of Catholic denomination along with her husband who was a Knight of Saint Sylvester, it was her dream to build a House for God and the philanthropist has been able to achieve this at the age of 90.

The large modern church, Saint Peter’s Catholic Church, Odoragushin will be dedicated today, Sunday, April 3, 2022.to mark her 90th birthday anniversary.

Here is wishing the mother of business mogul, Femi Otedola, Ayo, Olu, Taiwo and Kehinde and plenty of “adopted children ” including this writer, a very happy 90th birthday.

By God’s grace this grandmother and great grandmother will celebrate more years on earth in robust health and happiness.

  • Sina Ogunbambo, a journalist and public affairs analyst was Chief Press Secretary to Governor Michael Otedola in Lagos State.*

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