In a world where people are known to be intoxicated by wealth, the story of Folorunsho Alakija is definitely one for the history books. Alakija is ranked as the second richest woman in Africa after Isabel Dos Santos and also the third richest woman of African descent in the world. She is a woman who is quite interesting to learn about. Want to know more, read on!
Biography of Folorunsho Alakija
Folorunso Alakija was born in 1951 to the family of Chief L. A. Ogbara in Ikorodu, Lagos State. She is the group managing director of “The Rose of Sharon Group which consists of, The Rose of Sharon Prints & Promotions Limited and Digital Reality Prints Limited.” She is also the executive vice-chairman of Famfa Oil Limited. Folorusho is a highly educated and well-travelled lady.
At age seven, she travelled to the United Kingdom to continue her primary school education at the Dinorben School for Girls in Hafodunos Hall in Wales. On completion of her primary education, she returned to Nigeria where she attended high school at “Muslim High School” Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria.
She then returned to the U.K for her secretarial studies at Pitman’s Central College in London. Moreso, she studied fashion at the Central School of Fashion also in London.
Upon graduating from the tertiary institution and fashion school, Folorunsho went on to start her career. In 1974, she landed a job as an executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises, Lagos, Nigeria. She then moved on to work with the former First National Bank of Chicago, which transitioned to FinBank, now acquired by FCMB (First City Monument Bank).
After working with the bank for some years Folorunsho Alakija decided to start her own company and she delved into the fashion industry to make use of her skills in tailoring. Her fashion house called Supreme Stitches gained grounds within a few years of its launch to become a household name.
Her venture into the petroleum business started when she applied for the allocation of an oil prospecting license (OPL) in May 1993. The license was successfully granted to Alakija’s company, Famfa Limited, which enabled the exploration for oil on a 617,000-acre block—now referred to as OPL 216.
The location of the block is approximately 220 miles south-east of Lagos and 70 miles offshore of Nigeria in the Agbami Field of the central Niger Delta. Going forward, she went on to partner with Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of Texaco) in September 1996, through a joint venture agreement. In this agreement, 40% of the Famfa oil company stake was transferred to Star Deep.
However, she reached a new milestone in 2014, when she was listed as the 96th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. Furthermore, Alakija alongside Nigeria’s then Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala were listed among the world’s 100 most powerful women according to Forbes. She took the 87th spot.
Family: Husband And Children
Folorunsho got married to her heartthrob ” Modupe Alakija” a lawyer in November 1976. They are happily married and still going strong even till date. They are also blessed with four children all boys. Their names are Folarin Alakija, Rotimi Alakija, Dele Alakija, and Ladi Alakija.
On being a mother and a wife, Folorunsho Alakija says that this is a prized possession that she wouldn’t trade for the world as her kids and husband mean the world to her. Though the journey to raising her boys and taking care of the family had its bumpy roads, she is grateful to God for seeing her through.
In an interview with Punch, the 65-year-old business woman admits that such money has the ability to change people or basically enhance the innate traits of a person. But in her case, she explained that her humongous wealth has had little effect on whom she is and her marriage, especially as being tagged the ‘richest woman in Africa’ by Forbes.
In her words;
“I’ve never called myself that and I just live my life. I do whatever I need to do with all joy and pleasure. It has not changed me; it will not change me and there is no amount of money that can change me, my husband and my children. That is the way we have lived our lives; we will continue being who we are as a family.”
On how she came to be in unprecedented wealth, she stated that it was by the orchestration of God through an oil block nobody wanted. In a tweet she further states:
“My encounter with the glory of God. When I got to my wit’s end, I covenanted with God for blessings in return for a lifelong work and walk with Him.
“To say that I did not see His Glory come into my life would mean I have turned God into a liar.
“It is only God who could have brought me from the back burner to the front burner.
Folorunsho Alakija says she never knew she would be globally known especially on such a nominal level which is quite humbling, but she admits that she knew deep down that she would be a businesswoman. She also knew that the Lord had planned that she would be successful but she could never have imagined the magnitude of her present success.
Reacting to the possibility of ever venturing into politics, Alakija candidly posits that though women in politics happen to be on the rise, she does not have any affinity for politics. She would rather focus on other aspects that she is interested in because God has not called her into politics.
According to her, she likes to stay busy as it helps her keep fit both in mind and body. Though she admits that juggling the various aspects of her life can be somewhat tasking but she has managed to strike a balance through the years.
Networth, Houses And Private Jet
Folorunsho Alakija is ranked by Forbes as the richest woman in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion. As of 2015, she was listed as the second most powerful woman in Africa after Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the 87th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.
She has lots of landed properties both home and abroad but one of the most amazing homes she has is one which costs over $700 million dollars, which makes it the most expensive residential building in Africa. The building is a masterpiece designed by Adeniyi Coker Consultants Limited (ACCL) and built by Julius Berger construction company. The residence is a two-minute walk from Lagos Lagoon and Omenka gallery.
Also, not many people can boast of having a private jet let alone a Nigerian woman. In this case, however, Folunsho Alakija is up to the task as her humungous net worth backs her up. She has one private jet which costs a whopping $46 million dollars.