Mosunmola Abudu, known by many as Mo Abudu, is a Nigerian media boss who is renowned worldwide for her contributions to the visual entertainment sector. Mo Abudu is rightly called a media mogul and you will get to know why as you read this biography.
Initially, Abudu started as an employee in the corporate world but she left that to build a media dynasty and has received recognition both locally and internationally for her work.
In this biography, you will get information on the early life, education, career, personal life and net worth of Mo Abudu. Additionally, you will also learn about the recognition that she has earned during her career.
Let’s begin with a summary of all the important facts about Mo Abudu and see if it answers your questions about her.
10 important facts about Mo Abudu
- Mosunmola or Mo Abudu was born in Hammersmith, West London on 11th September 1964. She will be 56 years old on her birthday in 2020.
- She lost her father when she was 12 years old and her family had lived in Nigeria having moved back to the country in 1971.
- Abudu and her mother returned to the UK in 1976 and she completed her secondary school education in Northeast Wiltshire.
- Mo Abudu got her first degrees from MidKent College and West Kent College in Kent. She also obtained a master’s degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Westminster, London.
- During her corporate career as a Human Resource Management specialist, Abudu worked for Atlas Recruitment Consultancy, Starform Group and Arthur Andersen for Esso Exploration & Production Nigeria Limited (an affiliate of the ExxonMobil Corporation).
- Mo Abudu started EbonyLife TV in 2006 and has been the host of Moments With Mo, a talk show she began in 2008.
- Moments With Mo was aired on M-Net and has featured notable individuals such as Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Sanwo-Olu, former President Goodluck Jonathan, former military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babaginda, and former US Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton.
- EbonyLife TV began broadcasting to its pan-African audience in 49 countries on 1st July 2013 on DStv Channel 168.
- She founded EbonyLife Films in 2014 and the company produced or co-produced the three highest-grossing Nigerian films in history, namely; The Wedding Party, The Wedding Party 2, and Your Excellency.
- In 2009, she founded The Harbour, a residential building for the homeless that has two 50 rooms hostels; one recreational centre/dining area that can seat 100 persons.
Mo Abudu Biography: Early life and education
Mo Abudu was born in Hammersmith, West London on 11th September 1964 and her full name is Mosunmola ABudu. Her parents are Yoruba and her father worked as an engineer while her mother was a caterer. Abudu lived most of her early life in the United Kingdom.
When she was seven years old, in 1971, her family returned to Lagos and she went to stay with her grandparents in Ondo State. She attended Fiwasaye Girls Grammar school in 1975 but did not stay long at the school.
Her father died when she was 12 and her mother relocated to the UK in 1976. She resumed her education in the country and eventually completed basic education at Ridgeway School, a mixed secondary school in Wroughton, Northeast Wiltshire, England.
Then she furthered her education at MidKent College and West Kent College in Kent where she got her first degrees. Mo Abudu obtained a master’s degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Westminster, London. She is also a member of the British Psychological Society.
Mo Abudu Biography: Early career
Immediately after she qualified as a psychologist and human resource management specialist, Abudu went into the corporate world with her degrees. She started her early career as a recruitment consultant with Atlas Recruitment Consultancy firm in 1987.
Thereafter, she joined Starform Group in 1990 and was managing the company’s Corporate Credit Management Exhibition until 1992. She left in 1993 and went on to head the Human Resources and Training unit of Arthur Andersen for Esso Exploration & Production Nigeria Limited (an affiliate of the ExxonMobil Corporation).
After working for the oil mega company for seven years, Mo Abudu founded a private HR development company called Vic Lawrence & Associates Limited (VLA) in 2000. During this period, she was running an executive training centre out of Protea Hotel, Oakwood Park, Lagos.
Mo Abudu Biography: TV and film career
Moments With Mo
By 2008, Mosunmola Abudu, popularly called Mo Abudu, started an interview series named Moments with Mo. During its early stages, Moments with Mo aired via M-Net, YouTube, and Inspire Africa Studios. It featured guests who are usually popular Nigerians but sometimes she interviews internationally renowned individuals as well.
Speaking about the aim of the show Abudu says: “It highlights the life and accomplishments of a usually well known, but sometimes an undiscovered African individual who by his or her own tenacity and determination has accomplished something, overcome something or been a catalyst for something that makes her or him a role model to others.”
Abudu has had Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Sanwo-Olu, former President Goodluck Jonathan, former military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babaginda, former US Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton and many more on Moments With Mo.
In January 2013 she started making episodes for Moments with Mo, which first aired on 10th January 2013; its first episode was titled Beauty Pageant, while its second episode titled Relationships With Parents and Teenagers, aired on 17th January 2013.
Moments With Mo is still running with its most recent episodes being virtual interviews due to the COVID-19 lockdown. It has been nominated for the Nigerian Broadcasters Merit Award for Longest Running TV Programme of the Year.
Originally, Mo Abudu had started EbonyLife TV in 2006 as ELTV. However, it became popular in 2013 after she reached a deal with Multichoice (the owners of DStv). She then launched EbonyLife TV on 30th June 2013, making it the first African Global Black Entertainment and Lifestyle network.
EbonyLife TV began broadcasting to its pan-African audience in 49 countries on 1st July 2013 on DStv Channel 168. Within just one year of its launch, EbonyLife TV became one of the top 25 most-watched channels on DStv.
To reach a wider audience, Mo Abudu launched a premium, multi-screen, video-on-demand platform version of EbonyLife TV in 2015. This served as a means for interested Africans in the Diaspora to also enjoy the same content as those living on the continent.
Mo Abudu also founded a reality TV show called The Debaters that is sponsored by Guaranty Trust Bank in October 2009.
In 2018, EbonyLife TV ended its exclusive contract with DStv and started airing also on StarTimes, another Pay-TV operator in Africa.
EbonyLife TV quickly found its own audience by producing engaging content. Some of the notable drama series that it started with are Desperate Housewives Africa (a collaboration with Disney), Sons of the Caliphate, Castle & Castle, On the Real, and The Governor.
Netflix reached a deal with EbonyLife TV and acquired all the above-mentioned drama series in February 2020. The American giant streaming company also bought the production company’s show, The Dating Game.
Sony Picture Television (SPT) also announced a three-year deal with EbonyLife TV in March 2018 that would see both companies co-produce a series titled The Dahomey Warriors. It would be based on Amazon fighters from what is now known as the Republic of Benin.
In July 2020, EbonyLife TV CEO Mo Abudu announced that the entertainment network was leaving DStv. Instead, fans can now download its app EbonyLife ON from Google Play Store or App Store and watch its content through it. EbonyLife TV is still available on StarTimes as of when this article was published.
Mo Abudu created EbonyLife Films in 2014 not long after she had acquired the airing license from DStv. She aimed to use this brand to target Nigerian film enthusiasts with unique films and it worked.
Her first film as executive producer at EbonyLife Films was the 2015 Nigerian romantic drama titled Fifty. Biyi Bandele directed the film that featured actresses such as Nse Ikpe-Etim, Ireti Doyle, Omoni Oboli, and Dakore Akande. Several other celebrities made cameo appearances like Tiwa Savage, Waje, Femi Kuti, King Sunny Ade and Nneka.
In 2016, EbonyLife Films and others collaborated to produce The Wedding Party. The film was directed by Kemi Adetiba. It is currently the highest-grossing Nigerian film followed by its 2017 sequel, The Wedding Party 2.
She was also the executive producer and co-producer of The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, Chief Daddy, Your Excellency and Òlòturé. Òlòturé is one of EbonyLife Films most thought-provoking and praised the film. It was selected for a private screening in Los Angeles by the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in June 2019.
AMC Networks also announced a partnership with EbonyLife Films in January 2020 to produce a film titled Nigeria 2099. It would be an Afrofuturistic crime-drama about Nigeria.
In June 2020, Netflix announced that it has reached a deal with Mo Abudu to create two original series and many other films. While details of the other films are not publicly known, Abudu was tasked to create adaptations of two Nigerian classic books.
One of these books is Nobel Prize winner, Wole Soyinka’s play Death and the King’s Horseman, and the other is Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives.
Chief Daddy 2
Abudu’s Chief Daddy franchise encountered some disparaging remarks from disappointed fans in January 2022. The first installation, released in 2018, fulfilled its duty as a star-studded comedy film but the sequel, proved to be something else.
Netflix released the movie on its platform and while it was the fourth most watched movie in Nigeria for some weeks, the reactions were far from favorable. The brutal feedback forced the reserved Mo Abudu out of her comfort zone and give a reply to disgruntled Nollywood enthusiasts.
‘‘As the CEO of the EbonyLife Group, I am aware of the mixed reactions to the release of Chief Daddy 2 on the 1st of January on Netflix. While some people enjoyed the film, others did not, and so I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our Chief Daddy fans that felt some disappointment with the sequel,” she said.
‘‘Thank you so much for caring and for sharing your concerns so passionately. Over the years, we have been the privileged recipients of your love and support of our productions – from Fifty, The Wedding Party, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, Your Excellency, The Governor, Castle and Castle, Oloture, and of course Chief Daddy 1 amongst others. All these fantastic stories are on Netflix for your viewing pleasure. So, when you express your disappointment with us, please know your voices are heard’’.
As quoted by Premium Times, the production boss also warned fans to be sensitive to filmmakers and not dish out ‘insults, abuse, or any form of trolling.’
Chief Daddy 2 had Shaffy Bello, Funke Akindele-Bello, Joke Silva, Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Rahama Sadau, Mawuli Gavor, Beverly Naya, Falz, Linda Ejiofor, Beverly Osu, Ini Edo, Broda Shaggy, Uzor Arukwe, Zainab Balogun, Rachel Oniga, Nedu Wazobia, and Chigul on its cast list.
Mo Abudu other companies and foundations
Among other of Mo Abudu’s creations is Inspire Africa Ltd. It started out as a big company and soon began producing other offshoots. Inspire Africa Studios was in charge of producing Moments With Mo in its early days.
Then, she founded The Inspire Africa Foundation as well. It was a non-profit organisation that focused on human investment and raised funds to solve societal problems. The foundation partnered with the Lagos State Government and UNICEF to host a charity concert in January 2009 themed Rock with a Conscience.
Donations from the concert went to protecting street children in Lagos. The Inspire Africa Foundation also founded The Designers Outlet for Charity, a charity store that provided clothes for the less-privileged.
It also founded The Harbour in Ibeju, Lekki, Lagos State in December 2009 but its construction was completed in 2014. It has four buildings; two of these are 50 rooms hostels; one is a recreational centre/dining area that can seat 100 persons; the fourth serves as a kitchen and store. The Harbour is a residential building for the homeless.
In December 2019, Mo Abudu launched EbonyLife Place, a lifestyle and entertainment resort destination in Victoria Island, Lagos. The place has amazing facilities and features such as EbonyLife Cinemas, The White Orchid Hotel, Popina, Túraká rooftop restaurant & bar, The Wrap Pool Bar & Restaurant, The Victoria Hall and VIP Lounges.
Mo Abudu Biography: Honours and recognitions
Mosunmola Abudu or Mo Abudu, as many people call her, is widely recognised in Nigeria and internationally. For example, her show, Moments With Mo, has earned her comparisons in the media to Oprah Winfrey.
In 2013, after she started her own TV channel, Forbes Media formally recognised her as the first African woman to own a pan-African TV Channel. The same year, The Hollywood Reporter, a renowned publishing house, listed her among the 25 Most Powerful Women in Global TV.
Women Werk in New York gave her the Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2014 and Babcock University gave her an Honorary Doctorate Degree in the same year for her accomplishments.
The University of Westminster, her alma mater, honoured her with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in 2018 during the university’s graduation ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in London. She was nominated to serve as a member of the Advisory Group on Technology and Creatively for Nigeria in 2018.
Mo Abudu was appointed a director of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the organisation responsible for staging the famous International Emmy Award. The Academy later appointed her as Chair of the 47th International Emmy Awards Gala, held in New York on 25th November 2019.
Mo Abudu was awarded the MIPTV’s 2019 Médailles d’Honneur, in Cannes, France. Additionally, The Powerlist listed her among the top 100 most influential people in the UK of African/African-Caribbean descent.
Mo Abudu was included in Ambassador Elliston Rahming’s book, Greatest Blacks Ever: Top 100 Blacks Who Changed the World for Peace. Progress. Prosperity. Pleasure.
Mo Abudu Biography: Personal life
Mo Abudu was married to Tokunbo Abudu, a businessman and a legal luminary. They have two children together, a son and a daughter. However, the marriage was short-lived, although we do not have the full details.
Surprisingly, she had chosen to keep her ex-husband’s name. Also, they appear to be close or at least have a cordial relationship. She once publicly wrote a note wishing him Happy Father’s Day and thanking him for being “awesome” to their children.
Abudu is a devoted mother and she lives in Lagos with her children. That is until her daughter got married in March 2019. The wedding was a large affair with two wedding planners, Funke Bucknor the CEO of Zapphire Events and late Ibidun Ighodalo the former CEO of Elizabeth R Events, involved in its success.
Mo Abudu is also a grandmother after her daughter recently gave birth in 2020.
Mo Abudu Biography: Net worth
Mo Abudu is estimated to have a net worth of $650 million in 2020 by Nigerian Infopedia. We could not verify this information and we thus ask our readers not to quote it as fact. However, with the multi-million dollar deals that she is signing with international companies, she is definitely worth a lot of money.
For example, consider that the three highest-grossing Nigerian films are all produced or co-produced by Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife Films. She also earns money from her resort EbonyLife Place, although it is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Final thoughts …
In years to come, when people talk about the television & film industry in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, Mo Abudu’s name will be mentioned in awe. The biography of the outstanding entertainment boss and media entrepreneur, Mo Abudu, shows that she understands the market well.
As we have revealed, she has managed to put three of her films in the top three highest-grossing films in the country’s history so far; this is a truly remarkable feat.
Additionally, she is not just all about making money. We see that Abudu is actually passionate about charity and even built a structure to house the needy. This is also an important part of her biography, it shows that she strives to give back to society.
We cannot wait for more to come from the stable of Mo Abudu through EbonyLife Film and TV production pipelines.