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Boss Of The Week

Yakubu Dogara: The Man, the Politician, the Humanitarian

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By Eric Elezuo

When a list of reputable Nigerians is compiled, a former Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Yakubu Dogara, will definitely be at the top echelon. This is not only because of the fact that he has held the number four citizen before, but because of the established fact he is a career minded individual of note, dishing out humanitarian tendencies, and approaching every assignment in every position with a human face. Dogara is one of a Nigerian.

Dogara is an effective lawmaker, who became the Chairman of the newly created House Committee on Customs, even as a neophyte in 2007. Describing him in his book, Dogara: A Reed Made Flint, Dele Momodu noted that “I’ve encountered many leaders globally but Dogara Yakubu is in a class of his own.

Born on December 26, 1967, to Yakubu Ganawuri and Saratu Yakubu, in Bauchi State, Yakubu Dogara began his education in 1976 at Gwarangah Primary School in the then Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State. Upon graduation in 1982, he proceeded to the Bauchi Teachers’ College for his secondary education, and obtained a Grade II Teachers’ Certificate in 1987. In 1988, he went on to the University of Jos, Plateau State, from where he obtained a Bachelor of Law (LLB Hons.) degree in 1992. He is a prolific politician, who served as the 14th Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives. He has been a member of the House since 2007 representing Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria Federal constituency of Bauchi State. He is currently a member of All Progressive Congress (APC).

Dogara’s academic and career rise are best described as legendary, starting from 1992 when he was admitted as a student at the Lagos campus of the Nigerian Law School, and later called to the bar in 1993. He followed it up by obtaining a Masters (LLM) in International Commercial Law at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland.

His quest for knowledge did not end with his law education as he also attended a course on Managing and Leading Strategic Change in 2006, the Oxford University Course on Negotiation in 2013, and a course on Leadership in Crisis at the Harvard Kennedy School in 2014.

Even after becoming the Speaker, Dogara’s passion for education did not abate as in October 2016, he attended a course on transformational leadership in Cambridge University, United Kingdom.

Like the oak, Dogara began from a humble level, taking taking up his first employment in April 1988 as a classroom teacher at the ATBU Staff School in Bauchi. In 1993, during the mandatory National Youth Service Corps exercise, he served at NCCF, Akwa Ibom State. On completion in 1994, he went into private legal practice until 2005 when he was appointed Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Transport, a position he held until 2006, when he decided to contest to represent the Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa-Balewa constituency at the Federal House of Representatives. He was successful and consequently admitted into the House in 2007.

His appearance in the House did not go unnoticed, as he was immediately given a committee to head. There was then no going back from then onwards. He became a strong force to reckon with, strongly advocating among others, the independence of the legislature. His legislative interests include tenancy, regulating monopolies, company law, and intellectual property. The number of bills he has sponsored remains innumerable just as he has undertaken several assignments with success results trailing.

Some of them include as recorded by Wikipedia:

During the Sixth Assembly (2007 – 2011), Dogara chaired two House committees, namely the House Committee on Customs and Excise, and the House Services Committee. During this period, he was also a member of the House committees on Judiciary, Capital Markets and Institutions, Foreign Affairs, Rural Development and Power, among others.

During the Seventh Assembly (2011-2015), he served as Chairman of the committee on House Services and Welfare, and as a member of others including Judiciary, Land Transport, Labour, Employment and Productivity, Steel Development, and Legislative Budget and Research.

Dogara has also served on panels and adhoc committees in the following capacities;

  • Chairman, Nigerian Customs Service Probe Panel
  • Chairman, Adhoc Committee on Composition and Pigmentation of Cement in Nigeria
  • Chairman, House Adhoc Committee on Disbursement of Public Funds by the Bank of Industry
  • Member, House Contract Scam Probe Panel
  • Member, Hijack of fishing vessels and Maritime Security Probe Panel
  • Member, House Adhoc Committee on Crude Oil Theft
  • Member, House Adhoc Committee on Constitutional Review

In 2010, Dogara sponsored the Corporate Manslaughter and the Data Protection Bill. These were followed by Federal Competition Commission Bill in 2011.

In 2013, he sponsored a bill for an act to amend section 143 of the Nigerian Constitution in order to make the process of removal of the President and the Vice President (on charges of misconduct) less ambiguous. In the same year, he also sponsored bills on Public Interest Disclosure, and Hire Purchase.

In the Eighth Assembly, i.e. the current dispensation, Dogara has sponsored bills which include the North-East Development Commission Establishment Bill 2015, the Subsidiary Legislation Bill 2015, the Federal Competition Bill 2015, the Data Protection Bill 2015, the Public Interest Disclosure Bill 2015 and the Hire Purchase Bill 2015.He is also sponsoring the Budget Process Bill in fulfilment of his promises to reform Nigeria’s budgeting process. The Bill when passed into law, according to him, will outlaw non-implementation of budgets which is the bane of Nigeria’s development since 1999.

Dogara has sponsored many motions throughout the duration of his legislative career, some of which bordered on;

  • An alleged concession agreement between the Ministry of Finance and a technology firm which was signed in secrecy during the government transition period
  • The indiscriminate granting of waivers, exemptions and concessions by the Federal Government
  • The need for the Central Bank of Nigeria to implement the cashless policy in phases based on the availability of the requisite infrastructure.
  • Urgent need for both Houses of the National Assembly to activate their constitutional powers under section 58 (1) (5) of the 1999 Constitution in relation to bills over which the President has failed to exercise constitutional responsibilities and powers under section 58 (1) and (4) of the Constitution.

Dogara is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, the International Bar Association, the Nigerian Institute of Management, the Chartered Institute of Mediators and Conciliators, the Cyber Bar Association and the Social Policy Association. He is also an associate member of the Institute of Environment Management and Assessment, and the World Jurist Association, among others.

He also serves as the Secretary of the Board of Trustees and Legal Adviser to FAcE-PAM, an NGO operating in Bauchi State.

Dogara is a Christian. Shortly after his election as speaker, Dogara held a thanksgiving service at Living Faith Church Worldwide. He explained that his victory was through divine placement and the teachings from the Church since 1988.

He is an active supporter of the Not Too Young To Run campaign, which aims to secure representation for Nigeria’s youth in the political process by lowering the age of eligibility for elective offices. He first mentioned the need to consider this reduction in the next amendment process during a meeting with student leaders drawn from across Nigerian tertiary institutions. He also advocated extensively for local government autonomy in Nigeria. His support for local government autonomy is informed by his belief that it will result in greater and quicker development at grassroots level, and the House of Representatives, under his leadership, pursued constitutional amendments which would grant both political and financial independence to local governments.

While delivering a pep talk on the place of opposition and persecution in shaping the destiny of a believer delivered to his fellowship group, Watchmen, in London in 2018, Dogara made some revelations about himself.

He said:

“In 1988, I made a conscious decision to build my life on the promises of God, not on the circumstances of life. My life has never been anchored on the things of this world but on the promise Maker and keeper, the ever covenant keeping God, who cannot be taken away from me. Because his word is unbreakable, my hope is Unshakable. The natural scares me no more because the supernatural has taken over. You may not know what the future holds but that’s not important if you know the one that holds the future. My heart desire is for God never to take me to a position where I ll no longer serve him and humanity.

“I want every step I take to be paved by God’s grace not by any sense of mundane importance or popularity that I may gain from it. I know that every promise of God must be tried before it can triumph. If you must give me gold or silver don’t give me the one that hasn’t been refined. For God’s promises it is opposition or enemies that refine them for us.

“When enemies rise up against you, as long as you are in his will, rejoice greatly because your promotion draws near. This is validated by my own life testimony. The greater the opposition, the greater the promotion. That’s God’s promise to us. Remember Jesus was massively opposed by the devil and you as his disciples cannot escape opposition from the same old devil. Even in this, his word is ever reassuring: “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

“God’s promises are sure. Based on his assurances in the scriptures, I have learnt to see opposition or enmity differently.

“When enemies raise up against me, it is that he will cause them to be smitten before my face. When they come against me one way, It is that they ll flee before me seven ways.

“When they gather against me, it is that they ll fall for my sake. When I am in the presence of my enemies all I see is a table he has prepared for me and my cup running over. If these were not to be the case, then God ll be a liar and he is not. It has always been the case for me and you too can build your hope on these sure promises of God and the result will not be different.

“Had the devil known, he would have gone to war with those who crucified Jesus. The scripture is clear on this: “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory”. The devil underestimated the power of Jesus’ resurrection and that proved too costly.       If your enemies know that is it on account of what they do to you that your promotion comes, they would not try it. But they ll do all within their powers to pull you down in your ministry, career or positions because they are blinded and by that your promotion will come.

“My final word is for you not to bother about enemies or oppositions. They ll come, anyway because that’s what the scripture says.  The scripture admonishes us, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:”. Friends, just dare God. Don’t worry about results either. It’s not in your place to work out results, all that’s required of you is to believe. The one who works out the result does not sleep nor slumber. He does not change and cannot change. He never fails otherwise he won’t be God. If you hold unto him without wavering, you ll see the results. My experience has thought me that as long as you are in his will, those operating in the natural cannot pull you down, no matter how hard they try, even if they hire the devil to help them out.

“As watchmen, let’s continue in the best tradition of prayer. Taking our eyes off the opposition and enemies and focusing on the firm assurances of our eternal king. May we remain faithful and true to the end and until God sends the early and later rains again, as our anthem says.

“God bless you all.” He is a dedicated Christian.

It must also noted that Dogara’s political sagacity is intertwined with milk of human kindness. He narrated how he strived to save a former Speaker of the House, Mrs Patricia Etteh from obvious impeachment, saying he warned her, but she didn’t listen. The exposition is contained in his biography by Dele Momodu.

He said: “We had this practice whereby the body of principal officers of the House of Representatives and the body of principal officers for the Senate were like the tenders’ board for award of contracts and like Etteh that was what consumed Okadigbo as well. So when the House awarded the contracts for the renovation of presiding officers’ houses, there were cries that the contracts were inflated and that there was no way Speaker Etteh could wash her hands clean.”

The book highlighted that ‘the moment Dogara heard this allegation and her accusers started bringing out the papers, he knew that it was a high-stake political game involving both members and the management of the National Assembly.”

The book added that her detractors were in possession of some papers which they were leaking, and Dogara saw a controversy that was proving to be more than met the eye, stressing that everything pointed to the fact that the Speaker’s days in that exalted position were numbered.

Being one of those that took the enlightened decision that led to Etteh’s emergence, ‘Dogara was wary of the outcome. Etteh had set a great pace for the undermined women and men by breaking the barrier, the glass ceiling and now there was no doubt a huge, powerful group was about to destroy the symbol of that accomplishment.’

Momodu’s book confirmed that Dogara knew he needed to reach the embattled Speaker as soon as possible. But fate was bent on playing games against the ill-fated speaker as most Reps who could be dissuaded were on an annual recess at that time, and had gone on holidays abroad. This includes the Speaker himself who Dogara recalls was in the US at the time. But he went ahead and put a call across to her!

The call was necessitated based on the fact that he “studied the documents and noticed enough red-flags, as a lawyer, to put the embattled Speaker in a serious fuss.” He still wanted to give the hapless woman the benefit of doubt; that the errors or red flags might have been inadvertent. After all, as a human, anybody could be misled in a world of sundry advisers. He believed that if Etteh must go, she must be given the honour of a gracious exit.

The book went: “I will never forget this,” Dogara reflects. “I remember placing a call to her and advising her like any other lawyer member could have done, to say that ‘Ah, Madam Speaker, I have seen these documents and I have these discussions because it is being discussed among our colleagues. I have weighed it and as a lawyer, this is my counsel and, God bear me witness, I said my counsel was that right from the US where you are now announce to the whole world that you have cancelled these contracts because of the issues being raised and some of the irregularities. Tell the world that you are not an angel. Tell them that because of the possibility of some processes being inadvertently overlooked, you are cancelling the contract. So, even when you come back and somebody raises an issue about those contracts, you will say, ‘Oh is it about the contracts that have been cancelled?’”

Momodu’s Dogara: A Reed Made Flint is a must read for those who wish to understand the intrigues and power play among the high and mighty as presented by someone who has seen if not all, but a tangible bit of power tussle in the nation’s legislative chambers.

Dogara, who is studiously looking forward to greater assignment in the service of his nation, Nigeria, is happily married to his beautiful heartthrob, Gambiya, and they are blessed with two great children, Chimel and Awusong.

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Boss Of The Week

Aliko Dangote: The Consistency of a Billionaire

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By Eric Elezuo

For the President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and his multifaceted group, playing second fiddle has never been an option. Both the enterprise and the entrepreneur have maintained market leadership to the extent that Dangote himself has appropriated the richest man in Africa status to himself, and has hardworkingly sustained the tag for as long as anyone can remember.

Since 2014, when Forbes magazine named him the world’s 23rd billionaire, jumping 20 spots on the scale from his previous 43rd position among the elite club of the world’s richest people. Aliko Dangote has not looked back, winning back to back the accolade among African billionaires, and never slipping from the world ranking.

Again, as expected, the famous Forbes has proclaimed the soft spoken businessman as Africa’s richest man for the 12th time in a row; a proof that the name Dangote is synonymous with consistency. He is a businessman, who understands that no man rest on his oars if turnovers have to continue to turn over. With marked differentiation, he has demystified the business terrain, and proved that if it can be done, then it must done. His establishment of the humongous fertilizer and sugar plants and the ambitious refinery in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria, are testimonies of the trajectory of one who knows his onions.

Worth $13.4 by the latest Forbes ranking, which sustained him as the richest man in African for the 11th time, entrepreneur extraordinaire  has the following points to his name:

  • Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person, founded and chairs Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer.
  • He owns 85% of publicly-traded Dangote Cement through a holding company.
  • Dangote Cement has the capacity to produce 48.6 million metric tons annually and has operations in 10 countries across Africa.
  • After many years in development, Dangote’s fertilizer plant in Nigeria began operations in mid-2021.
  • Dangote Refinery has been under construction since 2016 and is expected to be one of the world’s largest oil refineries once complete.

The above and many has remained the factors that have made it easy for the billionaire to remain in the top echelon of world’s money men, and the supremo among African businessmen. Like wonder he is one of the few recipients of the GCON national honours reserved for top politicians of vice president ranking and top government appointees. He has never been any of the above.

In 2021 when his 3.0 million metric tonnes of Urea per annum Dangote Fertiliser Plant, sited at the Dangote Industries Free Zone, Ibeju Lekki, was commissioned. During his speech, at The Fertiliser Complex, which occupies 500 hectares, and built at a cost of $2.5 Billion, Dangote had the following to say in his much sought after humility:

“The commissioning of this Fertiliser Plant is historic. It marks the official opening of the largest Granulated Urea Fertiliser Complex in Africa. The new plant will make Nigeria self-sufficient in fertiliser production, with excess capacity to export to other markets in Africa and the rest of the world. Our products have already reached the markets some African countries, the USA, Brazil, India and Mexico.

“It is an ambitious developmental project, which will drastically reduce the level of unemployment and youth restiveness in this country, through generation of direct and indirect employment. Agriculture accounts for over 20 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP, and the country is a leading producer of various agricultural commodities. The sector has the potential of becoming the biggest source of income for our Nation, providing employment and raw materials for industries. However, low fertilizer usage has been a major reason for low productivity in the sector.

Halimat , Zainab & Fatimah Dangote

“It is common knowledge that non-availability of the product, in quantity and quality, rather than affordability, is the primary constraint to the use of fertilizer.

“Our goal is to make fertiliser available in sufficient quantities and quality for our teeming farmers assuring greater agricultural output. To help realise this potential, we are rolling out initiatives that will transform the agricultural sector, including extension services for small and medium scale farmers. We have also established well-equipped soil-testing laboratories to ensure that the appropriate fertiliser blends are applied to specific soil and/or crop types. This will boost productivity, enhancing output across the Nation.

“Dangote Fertiliser will partner with key stakeholders in the industry, including Farmer Associations, NPK Blenders, NGO/Development Partners and State Governments across Nigeria, who are committed to a sustainable approach to improving soil quality and farm yields.

“Our continuous efforts to innovate, create value and invest in Nigeria are borne out of our firm belief in the vast economic potential of our dear country. This has also informed our desire to continue with our investment strategy, with a focus on driving import substitution, ensuring that we increase local production to achieve self-sufficiency, and even export excess production.”

He proved that his entrepreneurial skills are not just geared towards uplifting him as a person, but to create an enabling environment for the Nigeria youth and child to grow and development in an environment he can proudly co-own. His vision is practically for the greater good of the world, and Nigeria in particular.

Born in Kano in 1957, Dangote proudly shuttles between three wonderful tags as the richest man in Nigeria; the richest man in Africa and the richest Black man in the world. He has paid his dues, and mankind is the better for it.

The Aliko Dangote Foundation and Impacts

Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) is the private charitable foundation of Alhaji Aliko Dangote. Incorporated in 1994, as Dangote Foundation, with the mission to enhance opportunities for social change through strategic investments that improve health and wellbeing, promote quality education, and broaden economic empowerment opportunities. 20 years later, the Foundation has become the largest private Foundation in sub-Saharan Africa, with the largest endowment by a single African donor.

The primary focus of ADF is child nutrition, with wraparound interventions centered on health, education and empowerment, and disaster relief. The Foundation also supports stand-alone projects with the potential for significant social impact.

The Foundation works with state and national governments and many highly reputable international and domestic charities, non-governmental organizations and international agencies to advance its humanitarian agenda.

In one of its biggest collaboration to date, Aliko Dangote Foundation started working in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and key northern State Governments in Nigeria from 2013 to eradicate polio and strengthen routine immunization in Nigeria.

His commitment to the health and wellbeing of the world is second to none, and it is on record that his CSR in the health sector has transcended numerals. The ADF, beyond the health sector, has made landmark achievements in the field of education, where it has affected the development of educational infrastructures of many tertiatiary institutions including Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Bayero University Kano; Kano State University of Science & Technology, Wudil and University of Ibadan. The construction of a N1.2 Billion Dangote Business School, Bayero University Kano, Kano State, construction of a N1.2 Billion Dormitories in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, construction of Dormitories and provision of power supply to Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, Kano State at the cost of N500 Million, construction of Dormitories in Crescent University, Abeokuta, Ogun State, and construction of Aliko Dangote Complex within the premises of University of Ibadan Business School, Ibadan, Oyo State, are just few examples.

Additionally, the ADF has engaged in Economic Empowerment at various levels through the Aliko Dangote Foundation Micro-grant programme, which is a N10 Billion national programme, launched in 2011, and designed to provide a N10,000 one-off grant to at least 1,000 vulnerable women, and in some cases, youths, in each of the 774 LGAs across Nigeria.

Worthy of praise is the fact that for the past seven years, the Foundation has spent over N7 Billion in the course of feeding, clothing and the general welfare of the Internally Displaced Persons in the Northeast. Dangote’s efforts at providing relief has drawn a lot of accolades.

Aliko Dangote Foundation was there in 2014 to help the government to contain the Ebola virus outbreak as well as when there ethnic crisis in Ife in 2017.

Rightly addressed as an international philanthropist, Dangote’s interventions are felt across the world. Some of the are building and equipping of Children’s hospital in Abidjan, Grand Heart Foundation – Chad, ONE Campaign, Emergency response to meningitis outbreak in Niger Republic, Donation of mobile clinics to serve 5 counties in Kenya, Emergency response to victims of earthquake in Nepal, Global Business Coalition for Education, and Sustainable Development Goal – Center for Africa – Rwanda.

More CSRs by the Dangote Group

To make his host communities feel at ease, and the impact of his presence, Dangote has embarked on an initiative to provide further support to improving educational systems in Ibeju-Lekki and Epe locality. The educational support initiative is a tripartite programme consisting of scholarship, capacity building for teachers and school infrastructure projects.

In addition, Scholarships have been awarded to 52 secondary school students whilst some financial support was provided to their parents and/or guardians. Tertiary students will be included in the next batch of the scheme.

Furthermore, about 100 teachers, principals and school administrators were trained in teaching techniques for the 21st century. After which they were monitored in class on how they were using the skills acquired.

Still on education, the company plans to renovate existing structures, building new schools, donating school furniture and equipment etc. This component of the education support initiative is on the verge of taking off.

Already, it has constructed a block of 6 classrooms with restroom facilities and staff rooms. This was handed over at a formal ceremony in December 2020.

Youth development was also an area it took seriously. 400 local youths have been trained in two batches of 200 beneficiaries per batch. They are being trained on acquiring vocational skills such as plumbing, masonry, welding, iron bending, auto mechanics and electrical works. First batch of trainees graduated in September 2020 and some of them have been engaged; 2nd batch of trainees will graduate in February 2021.

It also organized programmes to build the capacity of local institutions such as the Community Development Committee (CDC), Project Implementation Committee(PIC), local leaders, youth leaders etc. on various subject areas such as stakeholder engagement, advocacy, networking, conflict resolution and negotiation, presentation skills, influx and impact of influx etc.

There is hardly any sector that has not felt the milk of human kindness running through Aliko Dangote; the military, media, politicians, governments across boards and more.

Dangote is surely an asset to this world!

As at today, there is no space for slowing down for Dangote as he continues to trudge on, creating firsts after first for himself and for humanity. He is blessed with three wonderful daughters, who have followed the rewarding footprints of entrepreneurship.

Fellow billionaire and friend, Femi Otedola, during one Dangote’s birthday’s encapsulated his entrepreneurial prowess as follows: “Happy Birthday to the greatest man that has come out of Africa. My brother, the visionary owner of the 2nd largest sugar refinery in the world, the largest cement factory in the world, the 2nd largest fertiliser plant in the world this is due for completion and the biggest oil refinery in the world. Aliko Dangote, is a titan that God created specially for mankind. You have broken every boundary in worldwide  business and industry. Thanks for the brotherly love”

Dangote is that, and much more!

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Boss Of The Week

Behold the Sarauniya of Ilorin Emirate: Hajia Muinat Bola Shagaya

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By Eric Elezuo

Honour, no doubt, is meant for whomever honour is due. It was therefore, no fluke when the Emir of Ilorin and Chairman Kwara State Council of Chiefs, Mai-Martaba Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari CFR, announced the appointment of Hajia Muinat Bola Shagaya as the Sarauniya of Ilorin Emirate. This is one appointment the general public has seen as who the cap fits.

The Emir made the announcement at the 57th Annual National Conference of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU) held on Sunday where notable sons and daughters of the Kwara State and friends and well wishers were in attendance. At the occasion, the ebullient Hajia Bola Shagaya donated whopping N10m in support of the IEDPU project.

Among the dignitaries that graced the event were the Emir of Ilorin Dr. Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior and Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Shuaib Belgore; Ilorin Emirate Council of Chiefs; Chief Imam Ilorin Sheikh Mohammed Bashir Soliu; and other Imams and Islamic scholars; Grand Mufti of Ilorin Sheikh Suleiman Faruq Onikijipa; Turakin Ilorin Mallam Saliu Mustapha; National President for IEDPU, Alhaji Aliyu Otta Uthman; Registrar of JAMB, Prof Is-haq Oloyede; Vice Chancellor University of Abuja, Prof Abdulrosheed Na’Allah; businesswoman and Zaraniya Ilorin Hajia Muina Sagaya; former Vice Chancellor of University of Ilorin Prof. Shuaib Oba Abdulraheem; Executive Director for National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM) Engr. A. R Kamal; guest speaker Sheikh Abdulwahab Banni Afonta; and dozens of dignitaries and sons and daughters of Ilorin Emirate.

Bola, as she is popularly known, is beautiful, elegant, famous, enchanting and above all down to earth. She is a woman of means and is renowned for her extraordinary generosity. She is above all, quintessential in all ramifications.

Shagaya, unlike most prominent and wealthy industrialists, was not born with the proverbial silver spoon. Consequently, she had to pull herself up by her bootstraps and exert herself relentlessly through some difficult times on her way to arriving at the enviable height she now occupies. Her remarkable accomplishments have since earned her a pride of place at the table of royals and captured the attention of the influential Forbes magazine. She made the 10th wealthiest woman spot in Africa in a 2015 Forbes ranking.

The socialite, who will be 62 on October 10, was born in 1959 in Kwara State, her home town. She attended Queens School in Ilorin for her secondary education and the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and Armstrong College in California, where she studied Economics and Accountancy respectively. Shagaya also attended Harvard Business School and a number of other local and international seminars, workshops and symposiums where she sharpened her skills and gained all the cutting-edge knowledge that has kept her on top of her entrepreneurial and social game.

Fresh out of school, a promising career took off with a stint at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) where she worked with the Audit Department. Having acquired veritable experience from the CBN, she ventured into commercial activities in 1983, beginning with the importation and distribution of photographic materials under one of her incorporated companies called Bolmus. She is reputed to have introduced the Konica brand of photographic materials into the Nigerian market and West Africa.

She is also the owner of Fotofair Nigeria limited, and her photo laboratory unit in Victoria Island is no doubt one of the largest photo laboratories in Nigeria. The photo laboratory has a net base of over thirty branches located in different parts of the country and over 300 workers employed. A great feat!

Her prowess is not limited to the business of photographic materials alone, Hajia Bola Shagaya is also the Managing Director of Practoil Limited, one of the largest importers and distributors of base oil in Nigeria, serving local lubricant blending plants. Not only that, her extensive acumen in the world of buying and selling finds expression in huge investments in real estate, spanning major cities in the country with over 300 employees.

She is proactive and visionary, and so through her base oil importation, she is meeting the need of the local lubricant blending plants. At the moment, Practoil is building its own plant at Kirikiri, Lagos State. The plant is expected to produce multi-grade oils and lubricants.

An astute financial wizard, Mrs. Shagaya is on the board of Unity Bank (Nigeria) Plc (formerly Intercity Bank) and has been for about a decade. She is also a member of the NEPAD Business Group, Nigeria.

She is a reputed fashionista, and her consistent display of an impeccable dress sense is a testimony to that assertion. It is therefore, not surprising that she is a patron of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN) and a fashion and arts enthusiast who supports and encourages the fashion and arts industry. She also loves sports, especially polo. She is also hopelessly in love with exotic jewelry, especially diamonds, and Deola Sagoe, Folake Coker, Maureen Onigbanjo, Abba Folawiyo are just a few of her clothiers. Internationally, there are also Escada and Christian Lacroix.

In July 2010, she was conferred with the national honour of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) by the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR).

A committed family woman; wife and mother, she is married to Alhaji Ganiyu Shagaya, a Kwara State-based transporter and their union is blessed with four children, among whom is Sheriff Shagaya, who got married in 2013 to Maryam Tukur, the daughter renowned politician, Bamanga Tukur. Kabir, her fourth son, also married into a notable when he wedded Amina Buba, daughter of oil magnate, Dr Hanatu Buba Each of her five sons are reportedly doing incredibly well in their fields of endeavours. It is said that they inherited their mothers entrepreneurial skills, business acumen and accommodating mien.

A very liberal woman, her third child, Seun, is a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Abuja in as much as his mother is a Muslim.

Though a socialite who loves reveling, Mrs. Shagaya knows when to open the door and when to keep it closed. It was gathered from an interview she once granted that as a rule she doesn’t entertain friendly visitations, no matter how close, between Monday and Friday. Consequently, everything social revolves around the weekends when major work has been done. That accounts for her serious-mindedness, focus and hard work.

A friend of several Nigerian First Ladies, Mrs. Shagaya is known to have been close to virtually every recent First Lady in the Nigerian political system, especially Dame Patience Jonathan, with whom she forged a formidable relationship. It is believed that her amiable nature, down to earth attitude and uprightness always endear her to the hearts of those in the corridor of power.

A staunch Muslim, she believes that no matter what one becomes, God will always remain number one, and the revolving factor in her life. As a result, no matter where she is or what she’s doing, she makes it a duty to go to Mecca at least twice a year. She also creates time to observe her ‘Majrib’.

“That’s my only way to praise God”, she said.

The stupendously rich amazon, who owns property in choice parts of the world including London, Abuja, Lagos, Ilorin and so on, maintains a healthy routine of going to bed every day at 9pm after listening to the 8 O’clock news, and wakes up daily by 5am to pray.

Bola Shagaya is a crown jewel in the swelling ranks of African women who have demystified the stereotyped notion that the place of the woman is, and ends in the kitchen or ‘the other room’. In her continued display of business ingenuity, she has showcased the stuff women like her are made of while proving that females are capable of threading the paths that even some men would not dare venture.

Congratulations dear Sarauniya of Ilorin Emirate!

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Boss Of The Week

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Africa’s Most Powerful Woman

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By Eric Elezuo

For the sixth time in her meritorious career, Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been recognised. This time, the former Nigeria’s Minister of the Economy, who is fond and proud of her traditional ankara attire, was named one of Forbes’s World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2022. The accomplished financial expert will be one of those that would be presented with the honour on 16th of February 2023, at a ceremony scheduled to be held in Port Louis, Mauritius during the 11th edition of the award.

Okonjo-Iweala reportedly polled over 60 percent of the 15,000 votes in the category of the African Leadership Person of thee Year Award at the close of the poll on 2nd of December 2022. These categories are vote-based and reserved yearly for leading Africans who are making positive impacts and promoting a favourable image of the continent.

Forbes, an American business magazine owned by Integrated Whale Media Investments and the Forbes family with a particular focus on business, technology, communications, science, politics, and law, while making the declaration, said, “The World Trade Organization head Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (No. 91 of 100) continue to play a crucial role in providing financial assistance and promoting global trade as the threat of a global recession rises.”

It added: Okojo-Iweala is “an economist and international development professional with more than 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America.”

In 2021, Okonjo-Iweala was recognized by another media platform, Time magazine as one of the world’s most influential people for the year under review.

According to Forbes, Okonjo-Iweala is “An economist and international development professional, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has more than 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America,” the magazine said.

“In March 2021, she became first woman and the first African to serve as Director-General of the World Trade Organization.

“She has said she believes in the power of trade to lift developing countries out of poverty help them achieve sustainable development.

“Earlier in her career, Okonjo-Iweala had two terms as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, from 2003-2006 and 2011-2015; she also briefly acted as Foreign Minister in 2006.

“She was also Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance that has immunized 760 million children globally.”

According to Wikipedia, Okonjo-Iweala was born on June 13, 1954 in Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, Nigeria where her father Professor Chukwuka Okonjo is the Eze (King) from the Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Ukwu.

Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Queen’s School, Enugu, St. Anne’s School, Molete, Ibadan, and the International School Ibadan. She arrived in the US in 1973 as a teenager to study at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with an AB in Economics in 1976. In 1981, she earned her Ph.D in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a thesis titled Credit policy, rural financial markets, and Nigeria’s agricultural development. She received an International Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), that supported her doctoral studies.

Okonjo-Iweala spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a Development Economist, scaling the ranks to the Number two position of Managing Director, Operations between 2007 and 2011. She also served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (2003–2006, 2011–2015) under the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively. She also had a stint in the external affairs ministry as minister.

She is a seasoned economist and international development expert. She sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).

She is married to Dr. Ikemba Iweala, a neurosurgeon. They have four children – one daughter, Onyinye Iweala (AB, MD, PhD, Harvard) and three sons, Uzodinma Iweala (AB, Harvard, MD, Columbia), Okechukwu Iweala (AB, Harvard) and Uchechi Iweala (AB, MD, MBA, Harvard).

Okonjo-Iweala became a US citizen in 2019 after spending several decades working and studying in the United States. Among an avalanche of high class honours trailing her, Okonjo-Iweala is also the founder of Nigeria’s first indigenous opinion-research organisation, NOI-Polls. She also founded the Center for the Study of Economies of Africa (C-SEA), a development research think tank based in Abuja.

In 2012, Okonjo-Iweala contested for Presidency of the World Bank. She lost to Jim Yong Kim. Eight years in-between in November 2020, she contested the DG position of the World Trade Centre, and emerged winner.

Reacting, an excited Okonjp-Iweala said: “An honour and a privilege to be part of this list of a very distinguished group of women for the 6th time in my career, Congratulations to my other sisters. Let’s continue to show that good governance, good public policy and a people-centered approach to work matters.”

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