Chief Shafi Lawal Edu was born in Epe Lagos, 1911. He was a prominent Nigerian businessman and conservationist. He was the founder of the Nigerian Conservation Fund, a Nigerian non-governmental organization involved in conservation projects and was a former member of the council of the World Wildlife Fund.
His career kicked off in 1933 when he began working as a shipping clerk with a company called Holland West Africa in Apapa. He grew to become a manager and helped in expanding the business to other cities. This opened his eyes to realise that there were untapped prospects in the Nigerian shipping industry. He then left Holland West Africa and founded his own firm. With prior knowledge and experience in the shipping industry, he figured a niche for himself. He later expanded the venture into timber and other commodities. Also, in the 1950s, he delved into the oil haulage business working as a contractor for British Petroleum(BP) through his company, Slee Transport Limited.
S.L.Edu later went on to found the first indigenous insurance company in Nigeria, African Alliance Insurance Co. Ltd. His co-founder was Talabi Braithwaite who also left a British insurance company.
The serial entrepreneur was also involved in politics as he was elected into the old Western Region’s House of Assembly in 1951, and was later nominated to represent Epe at the Federal House of Representatives from 1952 to 1954.
In 1965, TIME magazine named Shafi Edu one of Nigeria’s richest men.
Chief Shafi Edu died on January 8, 2002, at the aged 91 in Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria. He was buried by his family on January 9, 2002.