Biography of Folurunsho Alakija
Folurunsho Alakija is an inspiration to almost every Nigerian woman out there. She is an entrepreneur, home maker and one of the wealthiest black women in the world.
She’s a woman who has successfully found balance in business and family life. She was born into a wealthy polygamous family in Ikorodu, Lagos State, Nigeria.
Her father, Chief L.A. Ogbara decided to send Alakija and her sister abroad for their primary education at Dinobern School for girls in Hafondus Hall Llangernyw, Wales, United kingdom when they were just little girls.
She returned to Nigeria for her secondary education at Mushin high school in Sagamu, Ogun State. Alakija later went back to the United Kingdom to study secretarial studies at Pitman’s Central College, London. She also studied Fashion design at the American College and the central school of fashion, London.
In 1974, her official career kicked off as an executive Secretary at Sijuade Enterprise Lagos, she then moved to the now defunct First national bank of Chicago which later became Finbank and has been acquired by the present First City Monument Bank.
Folurunsho Alakija quit her job to pursue her passion. She went fully into the Fashion industry by launching her tailoring outlet ‘supreme Stitches’ which grew to become the reputable ‘Rose of Sharon’ fashion house.
The outfit supplied the Nigerian fashion industry with qualitative fabric and clothing and it catered for the fashion needs of top society personalities; the late Mariam Babangida, wife of former Nigerian president, General Ibrahim Babangdia was one of her clients.
In 1993, Alakija being an intelligent woman with a burning zeal for entrepreneurship, applied for an allocation of an oil prospecting license (OPL) for her company FAMFA oil to explore oil on a 617,000 acre block (Agbami field) and it was granted her.
This happened at a time when many Nigerian business men had acquired OPL but handed them over to international companies for substantial profits because they had no clue on how to technically operate an oil bloc.
Alakija also had no expertise on operating oil blocs but declined to sell off her license. She rather entered into a joint venture agreement with star deep water petroleum limited (a subsidiary of Texaco) in September 1996.
She appointed the company as the technical adviser for the exploration of the license, transferring forty percent out of her hundred percent stakes to them. This left Alakija with sixty percent stakes.
Folurunsho Alakija is the national president and life long trustee of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria as a result of her immense contribution to the growth of the Nigerian culture through style and fashion.
She is also the chief matron of Africa’s young entrepreneurs and was appointed by the federal government of Nigeria in 2013 as the vice chairman of the National Heritage council and endowments for art.
In 2014, FORBES listed Alakija as the 86th most powerful woman in the world. In may 2015, she and Ngozi Okonjo Iweala were the only Nigerian women listed in the world’s most powerful women according to FORBES.
Like every other successful Nigerian entrepreneur, Alakija is a philanthropist who runs a foundation known as the Rose of Sharon Foundation.
It is in charge of helping widows and orphans by empowering them through scholarships and business grants. The foundation has assisted over 2,760 widows providing them with workshops, monetary support and interest free loans, it indirectly nurtures female entrepreneurs through its tours of different rural areas all over Nigeria.
Alakija’s FAMFA limited is a major sponsor of the Agbami medical and engineering scholarship scheme which effectively reaches out to over a thousand beneficiaries every year.
In 2014, she donated a huge sum of money to aid the completion of a three hundred and fifty seat lecture theater which is named after her at the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University in Niger state.
Alakija is married to Modupe Alakija and together they have four sons. Her husband and sons co run her business empire. The couple reside in Lagos state, Nigeria.
Business And Investments of Folurunsho Alakija
I will highlight Folurunsho Alakija’s investments below:
FAMFA LIMITED: Was incorporated in September 1991 and was awarded the right to explore oil (OPL) in August 1993. It officially became Famfa Oil Limited in 1996 with the aim to become the leading indigenous oil and gas exploration and production company in Nigeria.
Today, it has accomplished that mission as it is one of the only Nigerian oil companies that has been committed to developing one of the deepest and largest offshore discoveries in the gulf.
With its headquarters in Victoria island Lagos, FAMFA is the largest indigenous owned exporter of crude oil in Nigeria.
As mentioned earlier, it sold forty percent of its stakes to star deep waters and was left with sixty percent. When it stakes began to yield very high returns, the federal government of Nigeria under former president Olusegun Obasanjo ordered that fourth percent of Famfa’s stakes be allocated to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and this left Famfa with just twenty percent stakes.
As a result of this, the company applied for a conversion of their license (OPL) to OML in 2004 and the request was granted. In 2005, the federal government of Nigeria again forcefully acquired ten percent of Famfa’s OML 127, this time, Alakija challenged the forceful acquisition in court.
It was a lengthy battle which was finally resolved in 2012, when the supreme court of Nigeria voided the governments acquisition and ordered a transfer of the fifty percent stake back to the company.
Armed with its original sixty percent stake, the company stood to earn about $10 million on a daily return. Today, the sixty percent stake is technically worth about $6.44 billion. Folurunsho Alakija’s husband Modupe serves as the chairman of Famafa oil.
Real Estate Investments of Folurunsho Alakija
Alakija’s real estate investments have been estimated to be worth over $100 million. She is said to have acquired property at Hyde park at the cost of $102 million. She owns properties mostly in Nigeria and the united kingdom. She also owns a private jet.
Net Worth of Folurunsho Alakija
Folurunsho Alakija is the first female billionaire from Nigeria and according to FORBES 2016, she’s worth about $1.9 billion.
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