BREAKING: Otunba BALOGUN’s Eldest Son BOLAJI Takes Over

Steps Into His Father’s Shoes

That is the big news from the Balogun family in Ijebu-Ode. Weeks after Otunba Subomi Balogun, the patriarch of the family died, City People has gathered that the affairs of the family empire left behind by Otunba Balogun is to be run by Bolaji his eldest son, along with his 3 other equally successful brothers.

Many had thought that it wouldn’t be easy for the sons of the deceased to amicably run the vast resources and assets left behind by the billionaire businessman, but we gathered that he had carefully planned his succession in such a way that it will be rancour free. Being the eldest and the most matured of all his kids, the late FCMB founder had made his stand known that Bolaji was to step in and amicably manage the family and his vast investments….CONTINUE READING

He had also indicated who gets what and what should go to the church and philantrophy.

Bolaji has also been saddled with the responsibility of making his father’s widow, Olori Abimbola to continue to live the good life which she has enjoyed for years.

City People gathered that the reason is to make the transition seamless with minimal rancour. The structure which Otunba has put in place is for all his kids to continue to manage all the arms of business they are currently managing and for the returns on those investment be put in the general purse for equitable sharing.

Bolaji was also saddled with the responsibility because of his maturity and wealth of experience in Corporate Nigeria.

When his father died few weeks back he revealed the dept of their closeness in his Tribute. Many people didn’t know they were that close.

I have found it difficult writing a Tribute over the last few days, as much has been written about your life, your faith, your impact and achievements, and your 89 years of doing it your way, by an immeasurable number of family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers, whom through your life well lived, you touched in several ways. As I write this on Father’s Day, I have been able to reflect on and contemplate the huge hole you have left, in my life and heart, and in our family. This tribute has taken a while, simply because, as much as I have tried, I do not understand how I can reduce to a few mere words, a tribute to my incomparable and great Dad, on his passing. My Dad, The Otunba Michael Olasubomi

Olayiwola Oladimeji Olaonipekun Balogun, CON, Otunba Tunwase of ljebu, Olori Omo-Oba of ljebu and Asiwaju of ljebu Christians, lived a life of great significance.

In all things, we must give thanks, and I thank God for your life of significance, and our lives are so blessed, because of you. I have wondered since you passed on how much you packed into these 89 years. We were all looking forward to March 2024, and to the subsequent march to 100, but God knows best. This was not our plan, and when I asked you about the 90th birthday plan and arrangements, late in April, I recall you telling me, “I am much more organized than all of you, and I have already been planning it, but when I get back to Lagos, 1 will form a committee”. Such was your level of meticulous planning, and equally, such was your remarkable faith that you called things, and they came to pass, but alas, God knows best. Indeed, God does not make mistakes, and while I deal with this event we did not plan, I am now comforted that your work on earth was done, and a life well lived on your terms could only end on your terms.

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On the evening of Thursday, 18th May 2023, when my Daddy passed away in England, it was fitting that his family surrounded him. It was also his first grandchild’s birthday, a remarkable coincidence in the amazing sequence of unplanned coincidences we share. I was not planning to be in England, as I had just returned from a trip, but when I got the call that Sunday morning, something in my spirit, just said, ‘gather everyone and head to London, immediately’. I cannot recall my Dad spending a night in the hospital in my lifetime. The rest is history, and so God willed it.

When I reflect on the last few months, I now believe that you started saying a ‘long’ goodbye’ from that video of you dancing and waving, to ‘Nipa Ife Olugbala or ‘Through the Love of God Our Saviour’ at our annual Adura Odun or Prayer for the New Year in ljebu Ode in January that went viral on social media. Some people mistook it for your 90th or 100th birthday. Your annual birthday communion in March felt different, and the attendance was unique and strong. I am so pleased that ‘Your Royal Twins’both decided to fly to Lagos to spend that day with you. A few days later, several friends called to say that they saw you at the Boat Club with Mummy and jide on Mother’s Day and that you looked strong. You were insistent, separately with Jide and I, that it was time for us to join the Met Club, something I should have done more than a decade and a half ago, and I am pleased we both started the process, attending a few lunches, in your presence. You and Mummy came to our home just before your last trip and spent a few hours. I now understand the significance of that visit. Feyisayo came to spend a few hours with you before she left for a trip to New York from London on the morning she was flying, still insisted on going out of her way in her Uber and stopping to say goodbye on the way to Heathrow. Apparently, you had both agreed that she should stop by on her way. She was stunned when I gave her the news that Dayo was riding in an ambulance with you, to the hospital. Every time we saw, these last few months, your message was about keeping our family united, ensuring we knew our extended family, sharing history which I knew and did not know, ensuring that all our children – your grandchildren, were doing well, praying for our businesses, praying for Nigeria and Nigerians and that things would get better in the country. It was a period when the generosity of your heart was apparent, as I saw you receive and interact warmly, even with those who had not been as generous with you. It affirmed to me your incredibly warm heart, humility and a heart for forgiveness.

Some of you knew Otunba Balogun as family, your friend’s father, a boss, this old man, who lived life his own way, full on; some knew him as the great banker and entrepreneur, the “Grandmaster of Nigerian banking”, a man who loved his God and ascribed everything to God, others as a philanthropist. But I knew him as Dad, our Daddy, a husband, father, grandfather, brother and Uncle. He may have passed but I want you to know the legend behind the crisp white agbada or kaftan and navy or black pinstripe suits. I want you to know him because he wos an amazing man, who was kind and generous, disciplined and principled, had integrity and humility, who worked hard and prayed hard, who had dignity and did it his own way, who was detribalized and religiously inclusive, who taught me to love Nigeria and all Nigerians, and was a cultured global citizen. Dad was a lawyer and banker but made healthcare, children’s education, the expansion of faith and entrepreneurship, his life mission and everything he did, he did excellently well.

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I pray that someday, people might say that one has lived a life of significant influence as he did. We do not teach history in our country any longer, but I will ensure that long after his death, the good name he has bequeathed to us and his legacy remain strong, and he shall never be forgotten. I want to encourage young people, especially young Nigerians, to learn about my Dad by sharing a bit of what I learnt from being his son and him educating me. My Dad did not tell us how to live; he lived and let us watch him do it. I was proud to be at his feet learning and for the blessing of the decade I spent working at FCMB Group. There are many stories I could tell, but I have not been asked to write the entire book on my own. In thinking about his life, there are a few traits that stand out, which I would like to share.

My Dad’s life reflected his Christian commitment and belief that God comes first in any undertaking. In good times and in the midst of challenges, his faith was a tower of strength and he had an ability to stand even stronger when faced with difficulty, completely certain of God’s unflinching support. In his own words, “There is no difficulty, which industry, prayers and perseverance cannot overcome”. “Even when the less faithful would believe that prospects are bleak, my prayers and my strong faith have always shown me bright light at the end of the tunnel”. He never started or ended a day without prayer, thanking God.

We will always be blessed by my Dad’s devotion to our family, especially Mummy, his love and Olori for over 50 years, his children and our wives, his daughters, all of his 16 grandchildren, my Auntie Ronke Atere and her children, as well as his wider family. Over the last 5 years, even more than before, he taught me so much about our family’s history and heritage. He promised me that he would gather the extended family together later this year, so that we would get to know ourselves and not walk past each other without knowing. , will figure out how to do this. , cannot fully appreciate how much my life has been empowered from my father’s love.

My Dad would always remind us about ‘our family’s heritage and culture of excellence’, later extended into slogans for FCMB. , was always reminded of the importance of personal discipline, humility and integrity in all things all the time. Often, I recall being told “ will not call a cow daddy, because’ want to drink milk’, which has formed my character. I recall my dad writing me a lengthy personal letter, midway through my time at FCMB, based on Proverbs, sharing with me wisdom and important values. It has helped my personal journey.

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My dad taught me there was nothing hard work, perseverance and prayer could not solve. What most people may not have seen was the meticulous planning that went into everything he did and if you planned meticulously, you reduced the odds of failure. For everyone at Chapel Hill Denham, you now know why!

My dad travelled the world and his taste for the best things in life, which I am told came early in life was further enhanced by his love of travel. There is so much that we have learnt from you through your love of travel, beautiful homes and things but in imbibing some of that, you also learn that if you try to copy Otunba in all things, you may get a nosebleed. , am so proud to be your son and as you often said, ‘a chip off the old block’. My dad had three names for me and whichever one he used, instantly told me how he was feeling or what was about to come next, Bolaji, Bonje or Mr. Balogun. That shall stay’ between us. I often thank God, for the “village of four mothers”, who in different ways are responsible for the man I have become, but above them all, I am grateful to be your son and for your influence in my life. My life has been blessed beyond measure because you paid so much ahead for us all, in goodwill.

Dad, thank you for your life choices. Firstly, thank you for being you – for being a lifelong educator, for teaching and role modelling strong values, work ethics, humility, integrity and kindness into us your children. And thank you for your infinite love and support. Thank you for never giving up on me, for your tough love and pragmatism, for acknowledging my success, with or without you, for loving everything I love, for our friendship and love. Thank you for teaching me fairness and to be a winner. I was not born first but Rotimi’s early death, destined me to be first and thank you for preparing me for the responsibility of leading our broader family. Thank you for your example of generosity and style in everything you did that has profoundly impacted us – because your example has shown what God is like, always creating with love, with painstaking care, with excellence, and with beauty….CONTINUE READING

So, my darling father, I hope that as you sit with your God and Father, you fully realize the epth of the love, respect, and joy that you gave to us and are in turn given back to you by your family. All my love I give to you as I urge you to rest in perfect peace. Through the Love of God our Saviour, All Shall be well. Amen.

–Mobolaji