Timothy Odutola (1902-1995)
Chief Timothy Adeola Odutola was an important contributor to Nigeria’s manufacturing sector. He was reported to have created a multimillion-dollar conglomerate including three factories, a retail franchise, a cattle ranch, a 5,000-acre plantation, a sawmill, and an exporting business before the end of British colonial rule in 1960.
Odutola’s strong interest in improving Nigeria’s infrastructure inspired him to a successful career in Business and politics. He seized business opportunities between markets at every turn from British rule through civil war and subsequent coups and countercoups. Odutola remained a popular leader for his commitment to promoting Nigerian business ventures.
In 1956, he was made Prime Minister of his tribe–the Ijebu-Ode and later selected as the first President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).
It was reported that before Odutola became that shrewd and successful businessman he worked as a clerk in various departments of the Lagos Colony and the Ijebu Native Administration between 1921 and 1932.
He once said: “The time is coming when we will produce more than we can consume and we will have to look outside Nigeria for markets.”