Who is Mo Abudu?
Mosunmola Abudu, better known as Mo Abudu, is a UK born Nigerian famous as a media entrepreneur and philanthropist. She did her master’s in Human Resource Management from London and started a career in HR in the UK. However, she was convinced that the only way to have a lasting impression on the minds of people who have a skewed idea of Africa was to enter show business. She is famous for her talk show called ‘Moments with Mo’, where she interacts with intellectuals and politicians from across the globe. She launched Africa’s first Global Black Multi-Broadcast Entertainment Network ‘Ebony Life Television’ and is the Executive Producer of the reality show ‘The Debaters’ that gives a voice to Africa. She has established various non profit making trusts and charity organisations to uplift the poor and downtrodden in her country. She has been included in the Forbes Media list as the first African woman to launch a Pan Africa TV channel and honoured with the Entrepreneur of the Year award. Hollywood Reporter has listed her as one of the 25 most Powerful Women in Global TV and recently she has been honoured with an Honorary Doctorate Degree.
Childhood & Early Life
Mo Abudu was born on 11 September 1964 in London, to Nigerian parents who originally belonged to the Ondo state. She was the eldest of three sisters. Her parents relocated to Nigeria when she was seven years old and they began to live in Lagos. From there she visited her grandparents who lived on a cocoa farm in Ondo State and learnt about Nigerian culture. She attended Fiwasaye Girls Grammar School in Nigeria till the age of 11.
Her father died when she was 12 years old, after which she returned to the UK for further studies. She attended Hammersmith County Secondary School and moved on to the Ridgeway School in Kent, where she lived with her local guardian in the affluent township of Tunbridge Wells.
She went on to West Kent College and Mid Kent College before she completed her master’s degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Westminster, London. She is also qualified in occupational and personality testing and a member of the British Psychological Society.
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During her days in the university and shortly thereafter, she had a brief modelling stint. However, having done her master’s in HR she started her career as a recruitment consultant in the UK in 1987. Later she joined the Starform Group and managed their Corporate Credit Management Exhibition for two years.
From 1993 to 2000 she worked for Arthur Andersen and headed the Human Resources and Training unit for Esso Exploration & Production Nigeria Limited. She valued this exposure as in gave her the understanding of the corporate world that helped her with her own business endeavours later in life, when she relocated to Nigeria.
She went on to establish her own human resources development company called Vic Lawrence & Associates Limited (VLA). One of her projects was to develop an executive training centre at the Protea Hotel in Oakwood Park, Lagos.
She was in her late twenties and her children were entering their teens, when she decided to make a complete shift in her career from HR to media and show business. In her opinion it was the only way that she could make the impact she wished to make on people’s view of Africa.
She entered show business in Nigeria by taking on the role of Executive Producer and host of the television talk show called ‘Moments with Mo’. The show covers a cross-section of topics including lifestyle, health, culture, politics and entertainment. She has interacted with a wide spectrum of celebrities on the show, ranging from Presidents, Nobel laureates and the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The show is aired on M-Net to 48 African countries.
She is also the creator and Executive Producer of the reality show called ‘The Debaters’ that has been funded by the Guaranty Trust Bank and aims at giving Africa a voice in world affairs through oratory.
She launched Africa’s first Global Black Multi-Broadcast Entertainment Network called ‘Ebony Life Television’ in 2013. It airs original inspiring programmes targeting the global black audience in order to present a realistic view of Africa and its future path to prosperity.
She also took the plunge into films and started Ebony Life Films in 2014. Her debut film ‘Fifty’ was screened at the London Film Festival and was one of Nigeria’s biggest blockbusters.
Abudu was instrumental in founding ‘The Inspire Africa Foundation’ that is registered as a non-profit making organisation focussed on raising funds for implementation of society transformation initiatives. In 2009, the foundation organised a charity concert with other NGOs that had the theme of ‘Rock with a Conscience’. The funds raised were used for the betterment of street children.
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The foundation also has a charity store and a children’s shelter called ‘The Harbour’. Besides fund raising through her foundation, Abudu has contributed large amounts in her personal capacity.
Abudu came into contact with influential world figures through her talk show ‘Moments with Mo’.
Her reality show ‘The Debaters’ was instrumental in giving Africa a voice and a view.
Her debut film ‘Fifty’ was screened in the London Film Festival as Nigeria’s official entry.
Awards & Achievements
She has been included in the Forbes Media list as the first African woman to launch a Pan Africa TV channel and bestowed with the Entrepreneur of the Year award by ‘Women Week’ in New York.
’Hollywood Reporter’ has listed her as one of the 25 most Powerful Women in Global TV. She has also been honoured with an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Babcock University of Nigeria and has been awarded the FAME Women Award of Excellence.
Personal Life & Legacy
She lives in Lagos with her son and daughter born out of a short-lived marriage to Tokunbo Abudu. She is very close to her children and loves quality time with them whenever she is at home.
Her work is quite demanding due to which she does a lot of travelling around Africa, to Europe and the United States. In all her work she has always championed the cause of the people of her motherland.
Her aim in her talk shows is to highlight the accomplishments of little known Africans so that they become an inspiration for others to emulate.
Abudu’s resolve to rewrite the world view of Africa came about when she was studying in the UK and people asked her the most ridiculous questions like, ‘Do you live on trees and dance around fires in your country’?
During her short stint in modelling, she was the brand ambassador for AVON Cosmetics in the African market.
She was greatly influenced by Oprah Winfrey when she decided to make a career shift from Human Recourse to Show Business. She tried to contact Winfrey by E’mail in order to get some advice but failed to get any response at that time.