Foluke Abdul-Razaq: Quintessential Achiever


Eric Elezuo

When most women are said to begin and end their careers in their kitchens, very many others strive to carve a niche for themselves. They give everything they have to challenge the world of men. One of such women is Mrs. Foluke Kafayat Abdul-Razaq.

Born Foluke Kafayat Olugbesan on April 16, 1956, in Ibadan, Oyo State, Mrs. Abdul-Razaq has not only demystified the notion that the place of the woman is the kitchen, but has gone ahead to prove that whatever a man can do, a woman can, and would do better if given the appropriate enabling environment.

She attended the Our Lady of Apostles Private School Yaba, for her primary education before attending Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, Mary Way, Ibadan. Between 1972 and 1974, she attended Yaba College of Technology, and followed it with a stint at Kwara State College of Technology where she obtained a Higher National Diploma in Accountancy. In 1990, she enrolled with the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, and obtained a Masters of Science in Banking and Finance. She is also an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, Boston.

As an accountant by education with a Masters degree (M.Sc.) in Banking and Finance, Mrs. Foluke K. Abdul-Razaq was poised to conquer the world of finance.

Her experience cuts across several executive roles in the Nigerian private and public sectors. She has provided leadership in the management and boards of the major banks she has worked with, particularly in areas relating to credits, recapitalization and corporate governance. In 2008, she was named a Non Executive Director of the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), one of Africa’s leading banks, where she is the Chairman of the bank’s Board Credit Committee as well as a member of the Board’s Audit, Statutory Audit and Nominations and Governance Committees.

Mrs. Abdul-Razaq’s banking experience spans thirty-five years beginning in 1980 with Afribank Plc. In 1992 she joined Credite Bank Nigeria Limited where she was eventually appointed the Executive Chairman, Interim Management Board by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and National Deposit Insurance Company (NDIC) (September 1995 – May 1997).

In 1997, she was appointed to serve in the Lagos State Cabinet, initially as the Commissioner for Finance, and later, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, a position she held till 1999. As Finance Commissioner, she introduced broad policies that initiated the Lagos State Accelerated Revenue Generation Programme (ARGP). In 1999, Mrs Abdul-Razaq won the coveted “Lagos State Woman of Excellence” Award and was appointed Justice of the Peace (JP) in 1999.

She also served as an Executive Director of ML Securities, a stock brokerage firm. Subsequently, she took up an appointment with the Nigerian Security Printing & Minting Company Limited (MINT) between 2001 and 2005, where she served in various capacities as Head, Corporate Development Department; Head, Administration Management Services, Lagos and Head, Commercial Department. She has also served on the board of Nigeria’s largest construction company, Julius Berger plc.

In pursuit of her passion for excellence in education, she established the renowned Bridge House College, Ikoyi, Lagos, an independent private sixth form co-educational institution that prepares young adults for higher education.

She currently serves as the Vice-President, Bank Directors’ Association of Nigeria (BDAN) and a member of the Institute of Directors, IOD.  Mrs. Abdul-Razaq is married to Alimi Abdul-Razaq, with three lovely children and grandchildren. Her hobbies include travelling and reading.

She is a member of the Committee for the Completion of Teslim Balogun Stadium, member

Federal Accounts Allocation Committee, as well as member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. She is a member, Board of Governors, Akande Dahunsi Memorial High School, Ikoyi, Lagos,

Vice Chairman and Council Member, Bank Directors Association of Nigeria as well as member, Association of International Educators in Nigeria.

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She had made some presentations on her field of specialization which include: Bank Lending and Credit Administration (a thesis submitted to the University of Ibadan); Effect of Privatization on Stock Exchange in Nigeria (a Seminar paper presented to the Department of Economics, University of Ibadan, and Published in the Annual University of Ibadan Journal of Economics in 1991).

In November 1997, she received award for Outstanding Contribution And Services to Lagos State by Eko Foundation. She was also given Excellence in Women Empowerment Award by the Lagos Voice in April 1999.

She is one woman who believes in finding solutions to the challenges of global and national socio-economic issues. Her core values include inculcating particular skills and experience in leadership position by meeting goals and objectives through promotion of effective team spirit. She also stands for prompt decision making and the ability to manage change in self and workforce through positive influence.

Mrs. Abdul-Razaq has also been involved in charitable works, using her school, the Bridgestone, as a footstool, and reaching to her alma mater, Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School.

At a glance, the following are the achievement of the amazon: Accounting Assistant, Union Bank Plc, 1972; Accounting Assistant, RUTAM Motors (a subsidiary of Ibru Group of Companies), 1972-76; Accounting Supervisor, Abebi Investments Ltd. (National Youth Service Corps) 1979-80; Executive Trainee, International Bank for West Africa (now Afribank Nigeria Plc) 1980-81; Head, Foreign Exchange Department, Ikeja Branch, 1981-82; Assistant, Head, Letters of Credit and Bills, 1982; Credit Analyst, Lagos Area Office; Credit Controller, Lagos Areas Office, 1986; Assistant, Manager, 1987; Senior Assistant, Manager, 1987-1988; Operations Manager, Ikeja Branch, 1988-90; Manager, 1990-91; Senior Manager, Afribank Nigeria Plc, 1991; Pioneer Manager, Credite Bank Nigeria Ltd. Ikoyi Branch, 1992-93; Head, Branch Development and Coordination, 1993-94; Head Consumer/Retail Banking Group, Acting, ceo. 1995; Executive Chairman, Credite Bank’s Interim Management Board, 1995; Commissioner, Finance, Lagos State, Women Affairs and Social Development, Lagos State; Chairman, Lagos State Tenders Board, 1997; representative, Lagos State Government, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc Board.

For threading the path where most men have failed, and succeeded, Mrs. Abdul-Razaq deserves our Boss of the Week award. Congratulations ma!


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