“I don’t see any reason why anyone shouldn’t successfully combine his or her faith with affluence. As far as I’m concerned, wherever we get to in life is not because of what we have done, but because of what God has done through us. If God does not approve our success, we can never get there but can only try!
So, if you’re blessed with fame and fortune, remain thankful and do not become boastful because pride goes before a fall. I’m grateful to God for making me who I am, and the way I am. I always look back and remember that nothing is as a result of what I have done but for what He’s done through me.”
Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija is the true definition of the Proverbs 31 woman; she is a wife, mother, philanthropist and business mogul. 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 She is 62 years old and the richest black woman in the world with an estimated net worth of $3.2 billion.
Mrs Alakija is from a wealthy, polygamous family in South west Nigeria. She started out as a secretary in a bank although she had wanted to be a lawyer but her father insisted on Secretarial Studies. After some years, she quit her job and travelled abroad to study fashion design and later started her fashion house called Supreme Stiches.
Three weeks after she launched her label, Supreme Stitches, she won a national award as the Fashion Designer of the Year 1986. She became the number one fashion designer in Nigeria and was patronized by all the major celebrities.
The story of how she got her oil bloc reminds me of that verse in the bible in Isaiah 45; 3 where God promised to give us the hidden riches of secret places. It turned out that nobody wanted the oil block she was allocated because it was deep offshore and because it was expensive to explore, it was later discovered that oil had been accumulating on the field for 17 million years! The Nigerian government under President Obasanjo also contested the oil field but like David who fought 66 battles and lost none, this woman of God won the court case, and every other challenge. Her perseverance and total faith in the power of God has made her the richest black woman in the world.
Mrs Alakija is not only a mother; she is also a wife who knows the importance of marriage, she has never put her business over marriage like many goal oriented women tend to do. She cited the example of the time she wanted to go abroad to study Fashion Design, she reached an agreement with her husband to take the youngest two of her four children along with her to London.
In an interview with Vanguard Newspapers, she opined that, ‘I do believe that no matter her level of success, a woman must always remember that she must not depart from her kitchen. Money has nothing to do with love. Love comes from within. Money is something you acquire along the line. Only love keeps people together. From the time that we started courting, it has been like that, and we thank God that to His glory, we’ve known one another for 40 years. I pray also that God continues to unite us. I believe that if love is the foundation of a union, God will prove Himself faithful. Every married person has a duty to ensure that they make their marriage work because nobody dragged them into it. Even looking after the children in that marriage calls for both parents to impact into them the skills, love, knowledge and talent required to enable them live fulfilled lives. When we shirk our responsibilities, we’re being careless.’Despite her busy schedule, she creates time to cook her husband’s meals. On her 35th wedding anniversary and 60th birthday, she wrote a book titled, ‘The University of Marriage’.
Mrs Alakija is a philanthropist of note, she owns Rose of Sharon Foundation, a Christian Non-Governmental Organisation committed to taking care of widows and orphans based in Lagos State, Nigeria. In an interview she conducted with Vanguard Newspapers, she said, “taking care of widows and orphans is a calling, and it is in the fear of God that I am doing so. I’m not doing so because I have the resources, but because God has called me to it. He has also been faithful in providing the resources. I however had to register a platform, Rose of Sharon Foundation, a few years ago, to reach out to more widows and orphans. Rose of Sharon is also a means of giving back by my entire family on behalf of Famfa Oil.”