By Eric Elezuo
Sex or gender does not determine how far one can go in life; only determination, hard work, commitment and focus do. This, as much has been proved by most successful women, chief among them is the Chief Executive Officer of Fisolak Global Resources Ltd, and top princess of Osun State, Toyin Kolade.
Also known as the Iyalaje of Apapa, the most sought after business woman of repute was born in Ilesha, Osun State to the royal family of Atakumose. She however, spent her childhood days in Ijesha.
The woman with the proverbial Midas touch admitted that she started her life in the business environment, and knew from the very start that she was not only going to make it in business, but she would be a great force to reckon, competing with the greatest. Today, that desire has not only been met but has been surpassed as well, as she is now the business persons’ mentor.
Iyalaje has never hidden her disdain for being an employee, and so gave all it took to push through apprenticeship under the tutelage of her mother, learning through thick and thin, and ending up an international success.
“I had always known that I will make it in business and this further made me to be more focused in order to get to my desired height. I haven’t even scratched the surface of the greatness that I am destined to be. I have always faced my business until I was brought out of my shell for recognition. I have been operating quietly for a while, and I think God felt it was just the right time for me to be recognized,” she was quoted as saying.
Meeting her at close range, it is reported that the first thing that strikes one is her sheer humility and respect for all and sundry irrespective of status; political, financial or otherwise. These are rare qualities that follow her about like a retinue of hangers-on.
Slowly but steadily, Princess Toyin Kolade stamped her feet in the sands of time, having won over 20 awards, which celebrated her as a force to reckon with in the business terrain. Hers is a story of from grass to grace as she launched out from a relatively unknown force to a massive personality that the business and social world cannot do without today.
As regards her numerous awards, she said: “They are simply celebrating my achievements. I didn’t give anybody money in exchange for the awards. They (givers) recognised my hard work. It is a sign of encouragement to spur me to do better and a challenge, because I have to continually prove that I am worthy of the awards that I have been given. I want people to see me and praise God. I want people to see me as their role model; I do not want to fail my generation.”
A fashionista of high standard, and always known to dress in sparkling white attire, depicting her princess status, Kolade is revolutionalising the business world, putting forward her best feet at all times which cut across the world of pharmacy, manufacturing, furniture, oil and gas, imports, exports, clearing and forwarding among a host of others.
How did she start? She told a story of how she stayed close to her mother who taught her the rudiments of buying and selling, and how she was already a millionaire before the age of 21.
“My mother was a big time business woman who traded in soya beans, yam flour, beans, rice and corn in bags; and it was always with great delight that I helped her in her trading business while my mates did what children were expected to do – play.
“I learnt the ropes in business from her. I remember that I used to travel on her behalf up North to buy these things. With time, I started doing my own personal business, buying and selling and by the time I was 21, I had almost N5m in my bank account, she narrated.
While also running her lucrative business, she saw a need to reclaim her education status, and was admitted into the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, for a course in Logistics.
“I knew that to succeed and consolidate on one’s successes in life, university education was of utmost priority. You can’t stop at secondary school level, or else your level of interaction and operation will be seriously stunted,” she was quoted as saying.
In 1996, her vision widened with the establishment of her parent company, Fisolak Global Resources at Apapa, which has remained her base till date.
A highly spiritual person, Iyalaje believes that nothing can succeed outside of God, adding that prayer has remained her bargaining chip in all her endeavours.
“I don’t venture into anything until I get assurance from God and this has helped me greatly, as I don’t invest in any business that I won’t be successful in,” she said, stressing that she once lost a whopping $300, 000 for venturing into a business without the consent of God. Her closeness to God has developed a prophetic tendency in her, and she could rightly be called a prophetess.
She is a woman with an eye for details, who ones she gets God’s approval, follows up with thorough feasibility studies and engage with the agility of a tiger for maximum results. Her efforts saw to the establishment of her second company, Rashkol International Logistics Ltd.
The amazon, who is married to the heartthrob of her youth, Prince Kayode, considers her marriage to be her greatest asset. To crown it all, she met her husband in the church over two decades ago, and since then, the two has move from bliss to bliss, producing God fearing children and grandchildren in the bargain.
The extremely beautiful princess had boasted that no one can take her husband because apart from being a hard working entrepreneur, she is the best of home maker, and knows the right strings to pull to keep a man happy. This, as much Prince Kolade can attest with his robust looks and happy disposition at all times.
A very generous personality and philanthropist of repute, Princess Kolade has been in the forefront of sponsoring many festivals in her native Osun State and many other places her attention is required even without being invited. Many young people have gone to school at her expense just as a lot have found vocation through her assistance. A whole lot of people who has been privileged to meet her attests to the fact that she is really affecting the society with her God-given wealth. She also runs a charity organization, which she has successfully kept away from the public as she believes in touching people’s lives and putting smiles on their faces without talking too much about it.
An indoor person, except when attending social events on invitation, Princess Kolade’s role model has remained Hajia Bola Shagaya, who she said has refused to combine business with politics
To her, business is no retreat, no surrender; no breaks, no vacations – everything runs pari pasu.
Ma, for the lives you have affected and for proving that success is no respecter of gender; we wish you a glorious birthday celebrations. Congratulations!