Mosunmola Abudu, professionally known as Mo Abudu, is a long-standing name in the global media scene. With a whopping net worth estimated at $650 million, Mo Abudu has been recognized and described as one of Africa’s Most Successful Women. She is a prominent Nigerian media mogul, TV personality, fashionista, philanthropist, former resource management consultant, entrepreneur, and founder of EbonyLife TV (ELTV).
Mo is a woman of multiple careers and apparently needs no further introduction, especially in the entertainment industry. One of the biggest feats she has made so far is putting 3 of her films in the top three highest-grossing films in Nigeria’s history. Since the birth of her television show Ebonylife tv, Mo has remained relevant in the entire media and entertainment scene, producing tons of entertainment content.
She reckoned that since she will be in the entertainment industry for a long time, it is pertinent for her to get all necessary formal education in the industry. She took a course at London Film School to learn the art of directing and production. This lets her understood the basics of making movies since she is already a mogul on the business side. This is also an important lesson for entrepreneurs to know that even though you will eventually hire people to work for you, you need to know the basics of the business and also stay around.
Mo Abudu’s Early Life and Education
Mo Abudu, a native of Ondo State in Nigeria, was born on 11th September 1964 in Hammersmith, West London, to Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Akintunde. She is the eldest of three sisters, and her father was an engineer while her mother was a caterer. Her family relocated to Lagos, Nigeria, when she was seven, and there she had her primary education at Fiwasaye Girls Grammar School.
However, Mo lost her father at the age of 12 and relocated to London, where she continued and completed her secondary education at Hammersmith County Secondary School. After that, she attended Ridgeway School, MidKent College, and West Kent College. She further attended the University of Westminister in London and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management.
Also, she is a member of the British Psychological Society and has a professional certificate in Occupational and Personality Testing. She went ahead to Babcock university and obtained an Honorary Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa). Mo had a brief modeling career while she was an undergraduate and just shortly after she graduated.
She Began Her Career as a Recruitment Consultant
Mo’s first professional job after graduation was in 1987 in a consultancy firm in the UK, Atlas Recruitment. She worked in the consultancy firm for three years and left in 1990 to join a successful business information group in the UK, Starform Group. There, she worked in the Corporate Credit Management Exhibition as a researcher who basically designed and produced the company’s numerous conferences and seminars.
She returned to Nigeria in 1993 and was quickly grabbed by Arthur Andersen with a request to join his oil company, Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (now ExxonMobil). Having learned and acquired satisfactory entrepreneurial skills, Mo was immediately made the head of the company’s Human Resources and Administration. Before she left ExxonMobil, she had already learned many business ethics, including how to build and manage a corporate culture; this went a long way in helping her in her entrepreneurial venture. She worked with ExxonMobil from 1993 to 2003.
Her Foray into the Nigerian Entertainment Industry
She had her first business venture by establishing a private human resource development company named Vic Lawrence & Associates Limited (VLA). Vic Lawrence & Associates is one of the fastest-growing Human Resource Consultancy firms in Nigeria today with the aim to provide human resource initiatives and management solutions to industries. One of her big achievements under VLA was developing an executive training center at the Protea Hotel in Oakwood Park, Lagos.
She Launched Her First Reality TV Show in 2009
She launched a reality TV show, The Debaters, on 3rd October 2009. The show, wherein she is the creator and executive producer, focuses largely on giving Africa a voice by promoting oratory. Having always been passionate about telling the story of Africa, Mo created a platform called Inspire Africa, where Africa’s culture, tradition, and diversity are being celebrated. The growth and success of this platform birthed another of her big TV talk show, Moments with Mo.
Similar to Inspire Africa, Moments with Mo is Africa’s first syndicated daily talk show that celebrates Africans and their achievements. Moments with Mo airs across 49 African countries and on cable TV in the UK. Mo Abudu wants to tell the world that Africans are rich in culture and correct the impression of telling only the ugly stories while many success stories are overlooked.
There is yet another TV show she created known as Naija Diamonds. Sponsored by Diamond bank, the award-winning documentary series celebrates many Nigerian heroes whose deeds of bravery were swept under the carpet. Mo quite succeeded in creating many TV shows with a major target of telling Africa’s stories but a diverse target audience.
Ebony Life TV
Mo Abudu originally founded Ebony Life TV (ELTV) in 2006, but it gained popularity in June 2013 after it got the deal with Multichoice (the owners of DStv). This was the hallmark and totality of Mo Abudu’s vision in the media industry. ELTV is the first black lifestyle and entertainment network in Nigeria, and it officially kicked off on 1st July 2013, on DStv. Also, it is a subsidiary of Media and Entertainment City Africa (MEC Africa) and started on MultiChoice DSTV channel 165 and subsequently moved to the Star-Times network.
Over time, the channel has created innumerable talk shows, factual content, entertainment, and over 5,000 hours of original drama. It went ahead to lunch other arms, including EbonyLife ON in Africa, Video-On-Demand (VoD) service, and three other projects deal with Sony Pictures Television. These programs are grossly targeted at educating the public on the realistic views of Africa and its future path to prosperity. Within its first year of release, EbonyLife TV topped one of the 25 most-watched channels on DSTV.
Through producing engaging content, it did not take time before EbonyLife TV gained a massive audience. Some of the series they took off with are Desperate Housewives Africa (a collaboration with Disney), The Governor, Sons of the Caliphate, Castle & Castle, and On The Real. In February 2020, an American giant streaming company, Netflix, reached a deal with Mo and bought The Dating Game and all the earlier mentioned drama series. In July same year, the entertainment network left DSTV, and Mo Abudu announced that fans could henceforth watch its content by downloading the app EbonyLife ON from Google Play Store or App Store.
Ebony Life Films
Following her passion and vision of telling the stories of Africa, Mo launched EbonyLife Films in 2014. Her sole aim was to use the brand to target Nigerian film enthusiasts with unique films, which she has undoubtedly succeeded in. She had her debut as the CEO in 2015 with the Nigerian romantic drama, Fifty. EbonyLife Films was among the co-producers of the highly acclaimed movie, The Wedding Party. The movie turned out to be one of Nigeria’s biggest blockbusters and the highest-grossing titles of all time in the Nigerian film industry (Nollywood).
Mo Abudu is the executive producer of The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, Chief Daddy, Your Excellency, and Òlòturé. ‘Òlòtūré’ is a Netflix original and one of the most thought-provoking movies of the entertainment channel. In January 2020, American Entertainment Company announced its intention to partner with Ebony Life Film to produce afro futuristic crime drama about Nigeria titled Nigeria 2019.
In June 2019, Netflix announced it had reached a deal with Mo to bring two literary classics and several other films to life. Details of other films are not made public, but he was tasked to create adaptations of two Nigerian critically acclaimed novels. They are Wole Soyinka‘s noble award-winner Death and the King’s Horseman and Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives.
In December 2019, Mo Abudu founded EbonyLife Place, a lifestyle and entertainment resort located in Victoria Island Lagos. With exotic facilities, EbonyLife Place has several units such as The Victoria Hall Popina, EbonyLife Cinemas, Túraká rooftop restaurant & bar, The Wrap Pool Bar & Restaurant, VIP Lounges, and The White Orchid Hotel.
Mo Abudu’s Net Worth Runs in Millions of Dollars
Aside from the multi-million dollar deals she signed with NETFLIX, Mo’s Ebony Life Films partners with renowned and most famous movie makers in Nigeria such as Koga Studios, FilmOne Distribution, Inkblot Productions, EbonyLife Films, and others. Together with their multiple years of experience, these film houses bring in their resources to produce high-value Nigerian movies with global appeal. In June 2019, one of her films, ‘Òlòtūré’ was selected for a private screening in Los Angeles by the Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
All these and more have undoubtedly made her one of the most successful and wealthy media personalities in the country and beyond. She is currently estimated to have a net worth of $650 million (which is about N267.5 billion) which she made basically from media, then human resource companies, and hotels.
Mo Abudu Gives Back to the Society
Mo Abudi is the founder of The Inspire Africa Foundation- a non-profit organization with interest in raising funds for the development of social variation enterprise. It partners with Monero Construction, and together they built The Habour in Ibeju, Lekki- a one hundred bed home for street children in Lagos.
The Harbor, a residential home for the homeless, has four buildings, two of which are 50 rooms hostels, one is a recreational center/dining area that can seat over 100 persons, and the fourth is a kitchen and store. In 2009, The Inspire Africa Foundation organized a charity show with the Lagos State Government, UNICEF, and other NGOs to raise funds to provide basic facilities for the less privileged. The foundation also runs a charity store dubbed The Designer Outlet for Charity.
She Has Been Involved in Few Controversies
In 2009, Mo Abudu was embroiled in a fight with the Lagos State Government over the fund realized from the benefit concert for street children held in January 2009. Mo allegedly refused to remit or give an account of the total money realized from the top concert to the Lagos State Government. The event was highly patronized by the public and was termed a first-class show of corporate citizenship, as top reputable organizations generously donated for it.
Its partners, UNICEF and LASG, had hoped they would eventually benefit from it and bring about a new level of progress in the state. However, Mo refused to append her signature to a Memorandum of Understanding as she had agreed to sign before hosting the concert. Immediately the money realized got into the Inspire Africa Foundation’s account, Mo began to dish a whole unfriendly attitude to the parties involved.
When her attention was drawn by the Lagos State Commissioner of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Joke Akinfulireto, to the existing agreement between them, she maintained that she doesn’t owe anybody any right to know how much was realized at the concert and that since only she had unimpeded access to the fund, she would spend the money on any project of her choice.