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Folorunso Alakija, celebrating God’s Grace @70


Folorunsho Alakija. Photo: NAIRAMETRICS

With a foreword by Prof. Labode Popoola, Vice Chancellor Osun State University, Osogbo, the book, Folorunso Alakija @ 70 A Celebration of God’s Grace, takes the readers through her ancestry, birth, family, education, career and business. The authors interrogate the transformation of faith and virtue in a remarkable woman into a leading global phenomenon.

Published by Osun State University, Osogbo, it is the first in Uniosun Biography Series. The 118-page book is divided into eight chapters.

In chapter one, the book attempts to problematise the biographical problems of historisation by situating the entire work within the theoretical canvas of critical sociobiography.


It is from this perspective that the study beams its searchlight on Apostle Dr. Alakija’s ancestry and parental background. Chapter two concentrates on her birth, education, marriage and early career while the third chapter deftly analyses her phenomenal business success and the transition from being a foremost African queen of fashion and style to an oil mogul.

Chapter three is devoted to the making of an oil magnate while chapter four is titled, Apostle of Educational Advancement and a Philanthropic Billionaire and chapter five is An Exploratory Analysis of the Writings and Thoughts of Folorunso Alakija. Chapter Six looks at The Social Dynamics of a Virtuous Woman of Faith and Goodliness and chapter seven is titled, Folorunso Alakija’s Mentorship Brunch with Nigeria’s Leading Female Socialpreneurs. Chapter Eight: A Compilation of Tributes to Folorunso Alakija @ 70.

This book constitutes a significant part of the 70th birthday of Apostle Dr. Mrs Folorunso Alakija whose main interests revolve around fashion and style, oil and gas, banking and finance, social empowerment and human capacity development, Christianity, philanthropy, and mentoring.

The book discusses the transition of Alakija from a ‘fashion icon with an impeccable sense of style’ to being the richest female on the African continent and a leading global mega entrepreneur with great sociopreneurial antecedents.

Interestingly and expectedly, the body of literature on Alakija has grown exponentially over the years. Published works, newspapers articles and magazines as well as the cyberspace are replete with several references and accounts of her remarkable business exploits, her ministry and her uncommon love for humanity which is best exemplified in her unique philanthropic endeavours.


The authors fervently believe that one of the best ways to mark a glorious career culminating in the celebration of a 70th birthday is to project the positive human legacies of the platinum jubilee celebrant. This is where Alakija stands out as a rare symbol of uncommon selflessness, humility and blessings to many across the globe. In a brilliant, and impressive mentoring career spanning several decades, Dr. Alakija continues to inspire, encourage and impact the lives of many people in several positive ways. Thus, a spotlight on few of her mentees would be a unique way to celebrate a quintessential benefactor, a philanthropic billionaire and a living legend.

Thus, through a reliance on interviews, personal observations, newspapers and magazines articles, online sources and the available secondary literature, this book chronicles, celebrates and accounts for the phenomenal ascent of a female icon, a successful businesswoman, a philanthropist par excellence and a very powerful and highly influential global figure.

Her activities as an ‘apostle’ of educational advancement and a champion of the underprivileged and the marginalised are brought into sharp focus in this section. Chapter five interrogates the writings, thoughts and worldview of Dr Alakija with a view to understanding the factors responsible for her rise to mega stardom and the nature of her social engagements and philanthropy.

According to Labo Popoola, “as the first female chancellor of a Nigerian university, the book highlights the trajectory of a woman of substance and an inspirational and foremost benefactor. The authors have examined how Apostle Dr. Alakija animates great benefaction and philanthropy that is derived from a family background that instilled so much virtue into her to the extent that Alakija developed a fiercely sacrificial generosity towards humanity.”


He adds, “through attractive narrative analysis, the book illuminates the extent to which Dr Alakija traverses and overcome challenges with great determination and courage. The study also presents some selected accolades that fittingly describe this woman of great talents and skills. Unlike all other books that have been written on Apostle Dr Folorunso Alakija, the present volume devotes considerable attention to Alakija’s and unwavering commitment to women empowerment and a broad spectrum of contemporary women issues. It recounts how Alakija devotes considerable time to her pet project, Flourish Africa Mentorship Brunch, a life-changing, mentoring session designed for her female mentees.”

The authors, Siyan Oyeweso, a Professor of History, former Dean, Faculty of Arts, Lagos State University and pioneer Provost, College of Humanities and Culture, Osun State University, Osogbo and Olukoya Ogen, Professor of History at Osun State University, have provided a lucid, well written and research material for those who want to interrogate the subject.


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