Folorunsho Alakija is a Nigerian businesswoman.
She was born in 1951 to the family of Chief L. A. Ogbara inIkorodu, Lagos State.
Mrs. Alakija is a business tycoon involved in the fashion, oil and printing industries.
International media report in October 2013, that Alakija has overtaken Oprah Winfrey as the ‘Richest Black Women In The World’.
Currently, 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 and the Executive Vice Chairman of Famfa Oil Limited.
Folorunsho Alakija is ranked by Forbes as the richest woman in Nigeria with an estimated net worth between $600 million and $7.3 billion.
At age seven, Alakija travelled to the United Kingdom to begin a four year primary education at Dinorben School for Girls in Hafodunos Hall in Llangernyw, Wales.
After returning to Nigeria, she attended Muslim High School Sagamu Ogun State, Nigeria. Afterwards, she returned abroad for her secretarial studies at Pitman’s Central College, London.
She also studied fashion design at the American College, London and the Central School of Fashion.
In November 1976, she married a lawyer, Modupe Alakija. They reside in Lagos, Nigeria with their four sons.
Folorunsho Alakja started her career in 1974 as an Executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises, Lagos, Nigeria.
She moved on to the former First National Bank of Chicago, now FinBank where she worked for some years before establishing her tailoring company called Supreme Stitches. This rose to prominence and fame within a few years, and as Rose of Sharon House of Fashion, 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.
In May 1993, Alakija applied for an allocation of an Oil Prospecting License (OPL).
The license to explore for oil on a 617,000-acre block – (now referred to as OPL 216) was granted to Alakija’s company, Famfa Limited.
The block is located approximately 220 miles South East of Lagos and 70 miles offshore Nigeria in the Agbami Field of the central Niger Delta.
In September 1996, she entered into a joint venture agreement with Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of Texaco) and appointed the company as a technical adviser for the exploration of the license, transferring 40 percent of her 100 percent stake to Star Deep.
Subsequently, Star Deep sold off 8 percent of its stake in OPL 216 to Petrobras, a Brazilian company.
Mrs. Alakija has a foundation called the Rose of Sharon Foundation that helps widows and orphans by empowering them through scholarships and business grants.
On Monday, 1st July, 2013, the Federal Government of Nigeria inaugurated the National Heritage Council and Endowment for the Arts and appointed Alakija as Vice-Chairperson of the body.
While inaugurating the council, Nigeria’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Edem Duke, said Nigeria had identified 100 new heritage sites, which “are unique and uncommon assets that we intend to preserve and promote.”
He charged the council, which is headed by Igho Sanomi, to “ensure the protection and conservation of places and objects of heritage significance and the registration of such places and objects.”
Works by Alakija, Folorunsho (2011). Growing with The Hand that Gives The Rose. Ancorapoint Nigeria. ISBN 978-9-789-15529-3.
Photo Credit: http://www.folorunsoalakija.com