Women in Nigeria and Africa at large usually face peculiar challenges in both career and business. African men seem to believe that women are not supposed to excel in certain careers, and in fact should be restricted to the “other room”. Yet many women break out from this glass ceiling, and go on to excel in their chosen field.
These Amazons are constant reminders to us, that our internal resources and determination, can and will overcome any kind of external conditions and limitations once our mind is made up. Gallant Nigerian women, continue to buttress this point but unfortunately many envious people even their fellow women, will rather ascribe their hardwork and fame to nothing more than “bottom power”. The general trend in Nigeria, is to find ways to run down a success story, instead of learning from it.
I believe our fans on Millionaires Academy has learnt that we do not criticize successful people. We only endeavor to learn from their success. We cheer them on, because we realize that everyone of us has flaws, and so we should never run down our own people, while we celebrate foreigners.
Among the women that has created a name for themselves in Nigeria, one name stands out. Hajia Bola Shagaya is one of the richest women in Nigeria and Africa. With a fortune estimated at about 1.9 Billion dollars, only Folorunsho Alakija can boast of more wealth than Hajia Shagaya. She is among the richest people on earth (There are only 1810 billionaires in the whole world).
Early Life and Business
Hajia Bola Shagaya was born on October 10, 1959. She hails from Ilorin, Kwara state where she had her primary and secondary school education before leaving the peaceful state to acquire tertiary knowledge.
“I had my… tertiary education at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and Armstrong College in California where I studied Economics cum Accountancy.”
She started her career as a banker, working in the audit department of Nigeria’s apex bank before her foray into business in 1983.
“My business experience commenced with the importation and distribution of photographic materials,” as the sole West Africa agent of the then-leading photographic company, Konica.
In the manner of an astute entrepreneur, she saw opportunities in the populous image-conscious Nigerian market prompting the expansion of her Konica marketing operations to photo laboratory services; that was the birth of another of her companies – Fotofair (Nigeria) Limited. Today, Fotofair is a leading photo laboratory company in Nigeria with over thirty laboratories spread across the nation.
Around 2005, she became the managing director of Practoil Limited and in 2011 she founded another exploration company, Voyage Oil and Gas Limited. Practoil Limited is one of the largest importers and distributors of base oil in Nigeria, meeting the needs of the local lubricant blending plants. Currently, Practoil is building its own state of the art lubricating plant at Kirikiri, Lagos state. When completed, it is expected to produce multi-grade oils and lubricants. Her business empire, which also includes a huge investment in real estate, spans across major cities in the country and has over three hundred employees.
Her businesses also include huge investment in real estate, spanning across major cities in the country with over three hundred employees.
She was on the board of Intercity bank for over eight years. While on the board of the then intercity bank (now Unity Bank Plc), she served in different capacities on various board committees including the position of Chairman of the bank’s establishment committee and Chairman, Audit committee just to mention a few. In addition, Hajiya Bola Shagaya was a member of the audit and credit committees of the board of Unity Bank plc.
A patron of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria, FADAN, she is also a fashion and art enthusiast who supports and encourages the fashion and art industry. She is also a sports lover, especially Polo. She has consistently supported polo tournaments over the years in Nigeria.
In due recognition of her enviable achievements and outstanding virtues and in appreciation of her services to the country, on July 22, 2010, she was awarded the prestigious national honor of Member of the Order of the Niger, MON by the President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.