Recognising opportunity is one thing, but making the best of said opportunity is another story entirely. From aspiring basketballer to becoming a household name, Gulder Ultimate Search winner Odudu Ime Otu is a clear example of someone who recognised and utilised his opportunity to the fullest. 

But how did he get here?  

Odudu’s journey kicks off in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, where he was born and raised in a close-knit family comprising his two younger brothers and parents. Nursing dreams of one day becoming a professional basketball player, Odudu built his athleticism through primary and secondary school, shooting hoops and participating in another endurance-based sport, running. 

Things, however, changed for  Odudu when he lost his dad at 15. Being the oldest child in the family, it became his responsibility to support his mother and step up as the man of the house. 

But as challenging as this was, Odudu rose to the occasion, becoming an adult faster than most teenagers his age. But it didn’t end there. 

By the time Odudu was 20, left the only home he’d ever known, Uyo, in search of greener pastures in Abuja. This move was fuelled by his drive and ambition for more. Odudu wanted to see what the world had to offer. 

This move to Abuja paid off when he eventually auditioned for the 2021 edition of the popular Gulder Ultimate Search show with the theme: Age of Craftsmanship. 

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Odudu recognised the once in a lifetime opportunity to help his family, going against over 20,000 Nigerians who applied for the 12th season of the show. With 16  contestants selected for the show, Odudu made it in as one of the four last minute wild card contestants added to complete the show. 

Odudu remained an unassuming figure during the competition. While other contestants exerted most of their energy at the start of the competition, Odudu worked in a way that ensured he wasn’t viewed as a threat. As the youngest contestant, he performed just enough in the group tasks to ensure he remained in the game. 

By the time individual tasks rolled in, Odudu began to shine, carefully navigating each intellectual challenge, while other contestants had begun to lose morale. 

11 weeks and a series of  arduous tasks later, Odudu’s dream became a reality as he walked away with N50 million worth of cash and prizes, including an SUV and a return ticket to Dubai.

Odudu’s first move after the competition was to buy his mother a house. As someone whose goals always revolved around taking care of his family, this decision felt like a no-brainer, “Family first, before every other thing. I get a feeling of satisfaction from seeing them happy,” Odudu said. 

As a role model for young Nigerians worldwide, Odudu’s success story shows the importance of not just recognising opportunity, but being prepared to make the best of it when it comes along. Since his win, he’s also explored acting, with a role in Sparadise, a soon-to-be released sitcom. 

Still holding on to old passions, Odudu’s love for basketball remains a permanent fixture in his life. He remains committed to going pro and maybe playing for the NBA someday. 

The sky’s the limit for Odudu Otu, and going by his track record, we have a feeling he will soar. 

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