Have you ever heard of Folorunsho Alakija? She is a Nigerian business tycoon and philanthropist who was recognized as the wealthiest woman in Nigeria. Fondly known as “Folorunsho” by her fans, she has made a tremendous impact not only in business but also in the lives of many people through her generous donations.
In this article, we will explore her journey to becoming the richest woman in Nigeria and what lessons we can learn from her inspiring story. From humble beginnings to immense success, come to discover with us how Folorunsho Alakija made history with her impressive achievements. See what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur and be inspired to make your mark on the world.
Folorunsho Alakija Early Life & Education (The Richest Woman In Nigeria)
Not many people know the incredible story of Folorunsho Alakija, the richest woman in Nigeria. Before she was a billionaire businesswoman, she was a young girl growing up in Lagos, Nigeria.
Alakija was born on July 15, 1951, into an upper-middle-class family; her father was Chief L. A. Ogbara of Ikorodu, Lagos State. Folorunso’s mother was the first of 8 wives, Alakija’s father had 52 children. From 1955 to 1958, Alakija received her preschool education at Our Ladies of Apostles in Lagos. Alakija left Nigeria at the age of seven to attend the Dinorben School for Girls in Hafodunos Hall in Llangernyw, Wales, from 1959 to 1963. Alakija attended Muslim High School in Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria, after completing her elementary school. After that, she went back to England to finish her secretarial education at Pitman’s Central College in London.
How Folorunsho Alakija Became Rich
You probably didn’t know that the richest woman in Nigeria is Folorunsho Alakija, who made her fortune from the oil business. But did you ever wonder how she got to where she is now? Let’s take a look at how Folorunsho Alakija became so wealthy.
After finishing a secretarial course at Pitman’s Central College London, Alakija began her 12-year banking career in 1974 as an executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises in Lagos, Nigeria. She transferred to the former First National Bank of Chicago, which later changed its name to FinBank and is now owned by FCMB (First City Monument Bank), to work as the managing director’s executive secretary. Later, she was promoted to office assistant for the Treasury Department at the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria (formerly First National Bank of Chicago). She was previously the new head of the corporate affairs department.
Alakija then pursued a career in fashion design at the Central School of Fashion and The American College in London. She established the Supreme Stitches label, which underwent a name change to The Rose of Sharon House of Fashion in 1996. Her clothing line featured high-end ladies’ wear and quickly gained popularity among the Nigerian elite with prominent clients, including the wife of former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon and Maryam Babangida (wife of late Nigerian president Ibrahim Babangida). She served as the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria’s (FADAN) president and a steadfast trustee.
Alakija submitted a request for an oil prospecting license (OPL) in May 1993. Alakija’s business, Famfa Limited, was given permission to conduct oil exploration on the 617,000-acre tract known as OPL 216. The block is located in the Agbami Field of the central Niger Delta, about 110 kilometers (70 miles) offshore of Nigeria and around 350 kilometers (220 miles) southeast of Lagos.
In a joint venture deal signed in September 1996, Alakija gave a 40% stake to Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited, a wholly-owned Texaco subsidiary. The Nigerian government initially claimed a 40% share after they discovered oil, followed by an extra 10%. According to the authorities, Alakija and her family could earn $10 million per day if they were allowed to keep their bloc. It was successfully disputed by Alakija. Her current Networth is over $1 billion.
Her success serves as an inspiration to many, showing that hard work and dedication can lead to great rewards. This is especially true for women, who continue to face gender-based discrimination in the business world, proving that nothing is out of reach.
How Does Folorunsho Alakija Spend Her Money?
Folorunsho Alakija is a strong supporter of philanthropy, and she has donated millions of her own money to various charities and foundations. She is particularly known for her contributions towards education and healthcare-related causes. She has also established several scholarships for underprivileged children in Nigeria and has contributed towards the construction of several educational and healthcare infrastructure projects.
In addition to her philanthropic efforts, Folorunsho Alakija also enjoys the finer things in life. She is known to own several luxury cars and properties, and she takes pleasure in travelling around the world.
Her success story is one of hope and resilience, and her example is an inspiration to all aspiring entrepreneurs.
Folorunsho Alakija Personal Life
Folorunsho Alakija was born into a rich family in Lagos, Nigeria, and she has been married for over forty years. She is a devoted mother and grandmother, and her family has been her primary source of motivation and inspiration.
In November 1976, Alakija wed lawyer Modupe Alakija of the Adeyemo Alakija family. Together with their four sons, they all live in Lagos, Nigeria. DJ Xclusive is her nephew. In a $6.4 million ceremony at England’s Blenheim Palace in June 2017, Folarin Alakija, the son of Folorunso, wed Iranian beauty Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar.
Folorunsho Alakija is known to spend time with her family during her rare breaks from work and continues to enjoy the simpler things in life.
Folorunsho Alakija’s success is a result of her unwavering determination and her strong will to succeed. She has managed to stay humble despite her immense wealth, and her legacy and example will continue to inspire many aspiring entrepreneurs.
Alakija is ranked 96th on Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful women as of 2014. Two Nigerian women, Alakija and Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, were included in Forbes’ list of the top 100 most powerful women in the world in May 2015. She was listed as number 86.
Alakija is ranked #20 on the 2020 Africa’s Billionaires list, #1941 on the 2019 Billionaires list, dropped off in 2020, and #80 on the 2016 Power Women list, dropped off in 2017.
She received an honorary doctorate in business administration from Benson Idahosa University in Benin City on July 17, 2021. This was in appreciation for all that she had done for the corporate sector.
Folorunshounsho Alakija is a shining example of what hard work and dedication can lead to and the power of achieving success.
Folorunsho Alakija is a remarkable woman whose fortitude and ambition propelled her to the dizzying heights of success in business. Her life is a stellar example of how hard work and persistence can truly pay off, as she worked her way up in the cutthroat oil and gas industry to become the richest woman in Nigeria.
Folorunsho is also an inspiring advocate for women in business, as she is a living example of how a woman can succeed in a traditionally male-dominated field. As a philanthropist, she has donated to organizations dedicated to bettering Nigerian women’s lives and increasing access to education. Her example of success and the lessons that can be learned from her life story are invaluable for any aspiring entrepreneur.