Folorunsho Alakija is a multibillionaire Nigerian businesswoman and philanthropist. She has investments in the printing, real estate, oil, and fashion industries. She is the executive vice-chairman of Famfa Oil Limited as well as the group managing director of The Rose of Sharon Group, which includes The Rose of Sharon Prints & Promotions Limited, Digital Reality Prints Limited, and others.
Alakija also owns the majority of DaySpring Property Development Company. Alakija was named the 87th most powerful woman in the world and the second-most powerful woman in Africa by Forbes in 2015.
Early Life and Education
On July 15, 1951, Folorunsho was born to Chief L. A. Ogbara of Ikorodu, a middle-class family in Lagos State. Alakija attended Our Ladies of Apostles Nursery School in Lagos from 1955 to 1958. When Alakija was seven years old, she traveled to the United Kingdom and attended the Dinorben School for Girls in Hafodunos Hall in Llangernyw, Wales, from 1959 to 1963. After finishing primary school, Alakija attended Muslim High School in Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria. Following her return to England, she pursued secretarial education at Pitman’s Central College in London.
Alakija began her career as an executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1974, after completing a secretarial course at Pitman’s Central College in London. She was hired as the managing director’s executive secretary at the former First National Bank of Chicago, which later changed its name to FinBank and is now owned by FCMB (First City Monument Bank). She later changed jobs to become the Treasury Department’s office assistant at the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria (formerly the First National Bank of Chicago). She had previously been appointed as the new head of the corporate affairs department.
After 12 years in the financial industry, Folorunsho opted to pursue a degree in fashion design at The American College in London and the Central School of Fashion. She founded her first fashion company, Supreme Stitches, after returning to Nigeria. The company was renamed The Rose of Sharon House of Fashion in 1996. It quickly grew to prominence under the name Rose of Sharon House of Fashion. She made an indelible mark on Nigerian culture through design and style while serving as national president and devoted trustee of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria.
Folorunsho Alakija requested the issuance of an oil prospecting license in May 1993. (OPL). Alakija’s company, Famfa Limited, has been granted oil exploration rights for a 617,000-acre area known as OPL 216. The block is located in the central Niger Delta’s Agbami Field, approximately 110 kilometers (70 miles) offshore of Nigeria and approximately 350 kilometers (220 miles) southeast of Lagos. In September 1996, Alakija formed a joint venture with Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited (a Texaco subsidiary).
The company agreed to act as a technical adviser for the license’s exploration, transferring 40% of its interest and 100% of the stake to Star Deep. Following the discovery of oil, the Nigerian government claimed a 40% stake, followed by a 10% stake. According to the government’s reasoning, Alakija and her family could earn $10 million per day if they were allowed to keep their bloc. Alakija successfully refuted this claim and prevailed against the government.
She has served Nigeria by serving on a number of government-established committees. She is a well-known public speaker and the first African woman to hold the office of Chancellor of a public university, which she assumed on March 9, 2016. She is a gifted author who has published a number of inspirational works, including her autobiography. She sits on the board of directors of the Commonwealth Business Forum. She has received numerous awards in a variety of fields, both domestically and internationally.
Alakija married Modupe Alakija, a lawyer from the Adeyemo Alakija family, in November 1976. The couple has produced children. They live in Lagos, Nigeria, with their four sons and grandchildren. DJ Xclusive, her nephew, is a well-known Nigerian disc jockey.
Folarin Alakija, Folorunso’s son, married Iranian model Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar in June 2017 at Blenheim Palace in England. According to media reports, the event was one of the most expensive weddings ever held in the world. Alakija’s other son, Sophie Alakija, is married to a popular Nollywood actress.
Impact and Influence
Foloorunsho Alakija founded the Rose of Sharon Foundation, which provides grants and scholarships to support widows and orphans. A skills development centre has been provided by Alakija to the higher education facility Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech) in Lagos.
She is the primary sponsor of the Agbami Medical and Engineering Scholarship Scheme, which records over 1000 beneficiaries annually.
On July 1st, 2013, she was inaugurated as the Vice Chairman of the Heritage Council and Endowment for the Arts. She also plays the role of matron for Young Entrepreneurs in Africa.
In 2014, she donated a tremendous amount of money towards the completion of a 350-seat lecture theatre at Ibrahim Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State. The building was later named after her in appreciation of her philanthropic gesture.
- Alone with God.
- University of Marriage – Your Textbook for a Successful Marriage
- Growing with the Hand that Gives the Rose
- The Cry of Widows and Orphans
- His Name is
- Folorunsho Alakija Speaks—An Inspirational Book for All
- Folorunsho Alakija Speaks: An Inspirational Book for Christians
- Wish for it? Pray for it (Scriptures for Wives)
- Wish for it? Pray for it (Scriptures for Husbands)
- Window Shop for your Spouse
Awards and Nominations
- Alakija is ranked by Forbes as the 96th most influential woman in the world as of 2014. According to Forbes, two Nigerian women, Alakija and Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, were rated among the top 100 most powerful women in the world in May 2015. On the list, she was number 86.
- Alakija is ranked number 20 on 2020’s Africa’s Billionaires list, number 41 on 2019’s Billionaires list, and number 80 on 2016’s Power Women list, all of which were released in 2021.
- On July 17, 2021, Benson Idahosa University in Benin City awarded her an honorary doctorate in business administration. The award was in honour of her various contributions to the corporate world.
According to Forbes, Folorunsho Alakija’s net worth is estimated at $1 billion.