Folorunsho Alakija was born on July 15, 1951, in Ikorodu, Lagos State, to Chief L.A. Ogbara’s family, which includes 51 siblings. At the age of seven, she began her educational journey in the United Kingdom, attending Dinorben School for Girls in Harfodunos Hall, Llangernyw, Wales. Following her primary education, she returned to Nigeria and enrolled at Muslim High School in Sagamu, Ogun State. Alakija later pursued secretarial studies at Pitman’s Central College in London, furthering her education abroad.

Folorunsho Alakija embarked on her professional career in 1974 at Sijuade Enterprises in Lagos, rapidly ascending to the position of executive secretary. This formative experience afforded her invaluable insight into the business world’s complexities, laying the groundwork for her subsequent entrepreneurial pursuits. Her trajectory of success continued as she later joined the former First Bank of Nigeria, now First Bank of Nigeria Limited, where she held various roles, including the position of Deputy Manager. Alakija’s professional journey has been marked by her dedication, resilience, and vision, setting the stage for her future accomplishments.
Her career at the First National Bank of Chicago (later FinBank, now First City Monument Bank) included roles as Executive Secretary to the Managing Director and Head of Corporate Affairs at the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria.

Her entrepreneurial journey began with the establishment of Supreme Stitches, a tailoring company. Over 12 years in the banking sector, she honed her business acumen, paving the way for her successful entry into entrepreneurship. Supreme Stitches eventually evolved into The Rose of Sharon House of Fashion in 1996, marking her foray into the fashion industry and showcasing her adaptability and innovation.
The Rose of Sharon House of Fashion specialized in producing customized designs on pre-made garments, including shirts, towels, bedsheets, uniforms, and tablecloths. As President and Trustee of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), she not only thrived in business but also played a significant role in promoting and endorsing Nigerian culture on a national platform.

: In May 1993, Folorunsho Alakija took a bold step into the oil and gas industry by applying for an oil prospecting license (OPL). Her company, Famfa Limited, secured the license, leading to a joint venture with Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited.
This venture marked her entry into a sector that would significantly enhance her wealth. Famfa Oil Limited, initially known as OPL 216, became her most lucrative enterprise. In September 1996, she formed a joint venture with Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited, appointing them as the technical adviser for the exploration of her license. She transferred 40% of her stake to Star Deep, which later sold 8% of those shares to Petrobras, a Brazilian company.

Folorunsho Alakija, a woman with a remarkable history of achievements, became the Chancellor of Osun State University on March 9, 2016, making her the first female chancellor in Nigeria’s history. Recognized as the richest woman in Nigeria, she is also currently the second richest woman in Africa. Forbes acknowledged her as the 96th most powerful woman in the world in 2014, the second most powerful woman in Africa in 2015, and the 87th most powerful woman globally in the same year.
: Folorunsho Alakija is married to Modupe Alakija, a lawyer, and their union has lasted for about 30 years. This enduring partnership, praised by many, has brought them four sons and several grandchildren.

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