By Eric Elezuo
All things work together for good for those who trust in their God, and someone, who has distinguished herself in philanthropy and enterprise, has made herself a clear epitome of trusting God, and reaping the goodies that come with it. The 13th of July was her birthday, and few days later, she is being installed as the Iya Alaje Oodua in Ile-Ife Osun State. Her double honours are no fluke, and are worth celebrating.
She has been a bright light shinning on men and women, who have been privileged to cross her path. She is the Chief Executive Officer of Fisolak Global Resources Ltd, and top princess of Osun State. Her name is Princess Toyin Kolade.
Princess Kolade has transcended sex or gender to determine how far she is willing to go in life. Her determination, hard work, commitment, focus and can-do attitude have taken her to a height most people only imagine and dream.
Also known as the Iyalaje of Apapa, before the magnanimous honours of Iya Alaje Oodua bestowed on her by His Imperial Majesty, the Ooni of Ife,Oba Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, Princess Kolade, an tried and trusted business woman of repute was born on July 13, in Ilesha, Osun State to the royal family of Atakumose. She however, spent her childhood days in Ilesha.
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 with, 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 moved from bliss to bliss, producing God fearing children and grandchildren in the bargain.
The extremely beautiful princess once boasted that no one can take her husband from her because apart from being a hard working entrepreneur, she is the best of home makers, and knows the right strings to pull to keep a man happy. This, as much Prince Kolade can attest to 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 vocations 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.
Highly philosophical and religious, Iya Alaje had taken to pray for and admonish the public on the way forward. She wrote: “If you feel that life in its totality is a bed of roses; you might not be wrong depending on your personal experience, but for me, life is built with different ups and down which play a role just to make us stronger.
“In my case, I have experienced both sides of the coin. All thanks to God that despite the hot shots targeted to take my life during my formative years; plans to cut me short in my prime proved abortive.
“It’s quite interesting and also a blessing that I had a prayerful mother (of blessed memory), who never toyed with prayers, that earned her the sobriquet ‘Iya Aladura’.
“In fact, she prayers fervently like it’s going out of fashion just to make sure I navigate through the murky waters of life without any issue or stumbling block.
“Yes, I can tell you that; on several occasions I was attacked as a teenager. With the love of God on my life, I was able to stay afloat still bubbling with much life. Like I have always averred If not for God, the evil wish of detractors and naysayers would have come to past. God kept shielding me from those who never wanted to see me grow.
“Today, I have not only grown, I have also blossomed like a tree planted by the river bank. Just like my name; OlorunToyin meaning ‘God is big enough to be worshipped’.
“Today is quite significant; in fact, my birthday this year’s is indeed a moment to thank Almighty God who is the giver of life; the one I call ‘Olodumare’, The God that never fails; the one who gives life and takes it at his own will.
“With my clear testimony of his goodness in my life, most especially, when many wealthy people died due to the deadly COVID-19 virus, but he preserved me and my household and nobody fell a victim; that alone is enough reason for me to climb the mountain top and shout 7 big, high Hallelujah to the king of kings….
“From this very moment, I have intensified efforts to keep channeling my strengths to continue worshiping him and I pray never to derail nor depart from it.”
The all white loving princess had for decades lived a life characterized by selfless service to humanity. She has undoubtedly been beneficial to those who had approached her for support and those she had by herself discovered. Her efforts during the COVID-19 lockdown to reach out to the haves and have nots with palliatives, have remained a point of reference in passion and care. Many see the honours of Iya Alaje as reward for her loyalty overtime; loyalty to humanity, loyalty to divinity.
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.
Appreciating the woman of substance on her birthday, the Ooni of Ife penned a glorious tribute to her, and reads in part:
“For she is by all means a worthy ambassador of the House of Oduduwa under the indefatigable leadership of the Ooni of Ife, Arole Oodua Olofin Adimula, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II on whose behalf she has been superlatively coordinating the annual Aje Festival Celebrations in Ile-Ife, we hereby wish our own Princess (Dr.) Oluwatoyin Kolade a very Happy Birthday.
“We celebrate this loving wife of our own Prince Kayode Kolade, we wish her a happy birthday and we pray the Almighty Olodumare shall richly characterize her new age and the rest of her journey on this earth with continued good health, longevity of life and increased prosperity as she’s gloriously a year older today.
Igba odun odun kan o”
Afon a gbo ko to wo
Ma, for the lives you have affected, for proving that success is no respecter of gender as well as shattering the glass ceiling to becoming the first Iya Alaje Oodua; we wish you glorious birthday celebrations and a wonderful tenure in your God-given office. Congratulations!