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FEMI OTEDOLA's Mum Reveals The Story Of Her Life @ 90

 •What Lady DOJA OTEDOLA Said At Her Birthday

At 90, God has indeed been good to Lady Doja Otedola, the former First Lady of Lagos State and mother to billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola. Her life is a life of extraordinary grace.

At 90, she has aged well, hale and hearty. It was indeed a celebration of a lifetime when all her children gave her a befitting and superlative birthday ceremony on Sunday 3rd of April 2022. It was an iconic and historical event in Epe that will never be forgotten in a hurry.

Popularly called by her nickname, Mama Efficiency, Lady Doja Otedola was full of joy on her day. At every minute, she was always smiling. She is very warm and full of life as God has spared her life to live up to 90. She was seen singing, dancing and looking so graceful at 90. She was joined by many prominent Nigerians who graced the colourful birthday celebrations which began at St Peter’s Catholic Church, Odoragunshin with a classy reception at St Patricks Senior Secondary School, Odoragunshin, Epe.

Her fulfilment for her birthday was the new church auditorium she dedicated to St Peter’s Catholic Church where her birthday celebration took place. It was a joyful celebration that many gave a glowing tribute to how she has touched their lives, the community and the state as a whole.

When she holds sway as the First Lady of Lady from 1992, she was tagged the First Lady of all ladies because she was older. Mama’s life is a life of God’s grace. Right from her days as the chief nutritionist at the renowned university of Lagos in the seventies, she was widely known by her nickname, she went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that no student of the iconic tertiary institution went hungry or ever suffered under her watch. Her remarkable qualities stood her in good stead during her years as the First Lady of Lagos where she held court with refined assurance and principled dignity in service to the admiration of all. To many admirers, her devotion to God is visible in her vital roles in the Catholic Church and in her community. Her faith and fortitude have helped preserve her life to this grand age.

Who can better tell the story of mama’s life apart from herself, in a well-written form, mama Doja Otedola took time out to write the story of her life as she turned 90, very inspiring and very insightful, she truly lived her life to serve God and humanity? In her words, she wrote, THE JOURNEY SO FAR AT 90.

“I was born on that glorious Sunday of April 1932 into a good Christian. My late father, Mr Emmanuel Onakomaiya was from Ogbogbo, Ijebu while my mother, Mrs Racheal Onakomaiya (née Okubote) was from Orun, Ijebu. My mother died on July 4 1935 when I was just 3 years old. What a loss! My upbringing became a responsibility of the entire family, My daddy, grandmother, uncles and aunties. I can not but mention in particular, my mother’s junior sister, Late Mrs Adedoyin Ogunmefun (née Okubote) who remained with us in Ogbogbo to take good care of me until she got married.

My first call at school was at baptist School, Ogbogbo. I, with Mrs Mosun Adesanya, were the only two girls in a class full of boys. The boys were full of antics and pranks, molesting us, and giving us tough times. We resisted them vehemently. The next place of call for my schooling was Abeokuta. I attended the baptist girls' school and baptist teachers training college both in Idi Aba, Abeokuta. I was very anxious to further my education. When the opportunity came, I travelled to Great Britain. I was admitted into the famous Regent Street Polytechnic, London. Where I obtained a certificate in catering, thus becoming a professional caterer.

I met my husband, the Late sir Micheal Agbolade Otedola and we got married after 6 years of courtship. I was baptized as a Catholic in July 1958 at St Dominic’s Priory, Southampton Road, London. The Irish Fathers and Revd Sisters who prepared me for baptism were so nice and friendly. They made me imbibe Catholicism hook, line and sinker. I am very grateful to them.

My marriage has been richly blessed with many children, grandchildren and great-grand and we are made comfortable by the almighty God, thank you, father.

My first job was teaching in a few baptist schools in Ijebu Ode. In 1965, I was employed as the Chief Caterer in the catering department of the University of Lagos.

It was a fascinating experience, I displayed my commitment to excellence and professionalism in my service to the university and this earned me the nickname of “madam efficiency” by students and staff alike. I retired from the university job in 1982 in line with my earlier plan to leave the paid job when I reached the age of 50 years.

I can not but mention my experience as Governors’s wife. My husband ventured into politics in the early 1990s. To me, the outcome was a mixture of the good, ugly bad and ugly. On the good side, it was an opportunity for contributing my quota to the development of my state, Lagos in particular and the country at large. I travelled to all nooks and crannies of Lagos State while at the same time crisscrossing the country. I interacted with many people from walks of life, positively impacting their lives. On the bad and ugly sides, politics denied me my freedom as well as my quiet and simple way of life. No wonder I took to the dance floor when the military took over power after only two years of our abode at Marina’s Governors Lodge. On to Odorangushin, we went!

My devotion to the church involved me in many church activities. I was a member of the parish pastoral council PPC at St Anthony, Gbaja, Surulere, Lagos. Late Monsignor Micheal Olusesan was the parish priest then, I was the chairman of the All Purposes Committee of the same church for four years, during which I successfully organised the Annual Parish Harvest. I was also an active member of Ladies of Lumumba and president of Christian Mothers for years at St. Anthony’s, Gbaja. When the late Mrs Francisca Awolaja from Falomo Parish was the National President representing the Lagos Archdiocese, I was the Vice President at the national level too. In addition to this, I remain till date the Patroness of the Catholic front liners society saints Sebastian cathedral, Ijebu Ode. At St. Peter’s Odoragunshin, I was the choir mistress for years. I contributed to the spiritual and physical growth of St. Peter’s. Other churches were not left out, a good example was St Anthony’s Catholic Church, Irawo. At St. Peter’s, celebrating my birthdays for some time now has brought something new. When I was 85 years old,I erected the grotto in honour of mother Mary, my heavenly mother. It was dedicated by Archbishop Alaba Job and Late Bishop Albert Ayinde Fashina. On May 19, 2020, the foundation of the new church was laid by Monsignor Phillip Hoteyin along with others.

My mysterious experience as a Catholic, On Sept 11, 2011, 3 days after the feast of the birth of mother Mary, she appeared to me (apparition) carrying her son and she smiled at me. 10 years after the above, I had an encounter with the Lord blessing me and those that I love.

On February 10,2019, mother Mary visited me in my bedroom(visitation) sitting beside me on my bed and she said, my daughter, your bed sheet is my colour, and she addressed me lovingly as a daughter. I was highly honoured and I could not express my feelings but I remained calm. Oh, I was blessed! All these happenings took place around 3 am in my bedroom. For this reason, I do not miss the Divine mercy prayer at this hour of the day.

A few days back, I heard a voice saying, Doja, you will attain the age of 90 years and after that, a decision will be made on what next to do, either to take you away or to extend your lifetime. Each time I replied with a prayer that the voice should help me build a church in which my 90th birthday anniversary will be celebrated.

Here I am oh lord, the church is completed, mission accomplished. I gave everything to you oh Lord, what next my Lord? You are my power, you are my strength, you are my light, you are my goodness, I have succeeded. I am contented, my happiness knows no bounds.

Let me appreciate all those the Lord has been using to actualise my dreams, both Alive and Dead. Oh my darling husband, late sir Micheal Agbolade Otedola, you were my epitome of success in life. Rest in perfect peace. I know I will soon join you in that blissful place you are, my love. I have been praying always that if there is the opportunity of coming back to this world again, God in his infinite mercy, should grant us the privilege of being husband and wife again.

To my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, you have been wonderful to me. I am proud of each one of you. You have contributed in no small measure to my self-fulfilment. Thank you all. E e gbo, E e to. Awon omo yin a to ju yin ni ojo ogbo yin. Abo oluwa koni kuro Lori yin. It is well with you all.

To my numerous adopted children, you have added to my joy and happiness. You are part of my treasures in heaven. My many priests, bishops and Revd Sisters, your prayers and blessings every day have been my comfort and strength. Bless you all. Ojo yin a d’ale. My Muslim brothers and sisters, how happy I am this day! As Salam Alekum.E se opolopo Odun laye Ninu ilera. E koni sofo Awon omo. Amin.

My Obas and rulers in the Epe division, I have been one with you for the peaceful coexistence of all the people in our area. We thank God for the relative peace in all our communities. May the Lord grant you the wisdom needed to continue to sustain the peace. Our cooperation has yielded good fruits. Ade a pe Lori ,irukere yin a di Abere.

Lastly, let me say only God is perfect. I can not be in the good book of everybody. How can I please everyone when even our Lord Jesus Christ, in spite of his good deeds, did not achieve this status? My bluntness, my forthrightness and for saying the truth no matter whose ox is gored, cannot always go well with everyone. Rather than being apologetic, I say Fimile bi o se bami. O dowo olorun. Bless you all”.


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