Oba Otudeko : Founder of Oba Otudeko Foundation

Oba Otudeko inaugurated the Oba Otudeko Foundation (OOF) in 2003 as a private philanthropic institution committed to ensuring that Nigeria keeps pace in technologies and competencies that are defining the 21st century and beyond. Its mission is people empowerment, capacity and institution building. 

The foundation was born out of Otudeko’s concern that chronic shortage of human and institutional capacity posed a major constraint to economic growth, poverty reduction and sustainable development in Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries. That defined the central goal of OOF, which is to build a heritage of responsibility in the African continent in addressing development challenges beyond the dream of its founder.

The foundation has four areas of focus, which are education, health, environment and public enlightenment. Capacity-building initiatives in these areas constitute its strategy for tackling the shortage of human and institutional capacity in Nigeria. They are organised to complement government’s effort in building the right level of technological proficiency the nation needs to compete in the 21st century.

Beyond these, the foundation also provides grants and material donations to other philanthropic organisations and worthy social courses.

On the education front, the foundation focuses on human capacity building needed to ensure Nigeria’s long-term economic competitiveness. OOF sets out to affirm education as a key cornerstone for national development and to propagate scientific and technological innovations critical to establishing the desired competitive edge. It has designed programmes for building up indigenous human capital with a view to reducing severe capacity problem that Nigeria faces.

A major initiative of the foundation in human capacity building is the building of an occupational training centre, which is aimed at lifting Nigeria’s pride in basic craftsmanship and skilled labour and offer technical skills to the teeming youths. Key areas of target include machine work, fabrication and welding, plumbing and pipe work, refrigeration, air-conditioning and electrical installations.

The centre is planned to be a world-class technical and vocational training and skills acquisition school. Other human capacity building interventions include endowment of the centre for entrepreneurial studies and provision of infrastructures in universities. 

Another area of intervention is health where the foundation is carrying out programmes aimed at ensuring a healthy population. It has a concept of an integrated approach that ensures health as a condition for successful human capacity-building programmes.

Its interventions in the area of environment are directed at enabling Nigeria to avoid some of the mistakes made by industrialised nations that have resulted in environmental damage. Through its programmes, the foundation promotes environmental policies that contribute positively towards environmental safety and the long-term well-being of the country’s citizens.

Public enlightenment programmes are part of the areas of interest and intervention by the foundation. Its activities here are directed at reducing ignorance and raising the level of awareness of the general public on broad issues of the economy, education, health and other areas of human development. These are carried out through information dissemination and knowledge-sharing programmes.