Folorunsho Alajika : Nigeria’s Richest Woman

You are welcome to day 2 of our story telling series on the lives of amazing, tenacious and brilliant women in celebration of the International Women’s Day, 2022. We are telling the stories of women who have broken the bias, crashed the glass ceilings and making moves to motivate the next generation of women and men.

Today, we share the story of Nigeria’s business woman, the richest woman in the largest African nation, Mrs Folorunsho Alakija.

The Life of Folorunsho

Folorunsho was born on 15 July 1951 to an upper-middle-class family; her father was Chief L. A. Ogbara of Ikorodu, Lagos State. Alakija attended her nursery education at Our Ladies of Apostles, Lagos from 1955 to 1958. At the age seven, Alakija travelled to the United Kingdom to continue her primary education at Dinorben School for Girls in Hafodunos Hall in Llangernyw, Wales between 1959 and 1963. On the completion of her primary education, Alakija attended “Muslim High School” in Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria. She then returned to England for her secretarial studies at Pitman’s Central College, London

Her Journey

Alakija started her career in 1974 as an executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises, Lagos, Nigeria shortly after completing a Secretarial Course at Pitman’s Central College London. She moved to the former First National Bank of Chicago, which later became FinBank now acquired by FCMB (First City Monument Bank) as the Executive Secretary to the managing director. She became the new Head of the Corporate Affairs Department of the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria (formerly First National Bank of Chicago), and later on became the Office Assistant to the Treasury Department. Shortly after her career in the banking world which lasted for 12 years, Alakija took up new challenge which was driven by her passion for Fashion to study fashion design at The American College in London and the Central School of Fashion. After her return to Nigeria, she started her first fashion label known as Supreme Stitches, which was later renamed The Rose Of Sharon House of Fashion in 1996. Within a few years, as Rose of Sharon House of Fashion, it became a household name. As national president and lifelong trustee of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), she left an indelible mark, promoting Nigerian culture through fashion and style.

Alakija’s company, Famfa Limited was granted the oil prospecting license (OPL). Expanding her horizons, Alakija established a partnership with Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited.

Landmark

As of 2014, Alakija is listed as the 96th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.  In May 2015, two Nigerian women, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Alakija were listed among the world’s 100 most powerful women according to Forbes. She was 86th on the list.

Alakija is #20 in 2020 Africa’s Billionaires list Dropped off in 2021, #1941 Billionaires 2019 Dropped off in 2020 and #80 Power Women 2016 Dropped off in 2017.

On 17 July 2021, Benson Idahosa University, Benin City gave her an honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration. This was in recognition of her contribution to the business world.

Alakija established the Rose of Sharon Foundation that helps widows and orphans through scholarships and business grants. Alakija has donated a skills acquisition center to Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech), a higher educational institution located in Lagos.

Culled from Wikipedia & Success story.com

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