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Giving My Life To Christ Changed My Life—Folorunsho Alakija




By Dipo Olowookere

Many know Mrs Folorunsho Alakija as one of the richest persons in Africa, who boasts of an oil block in Nigeria, but not many know the true story behind her riches.

Mrs Alakija told Peace Hyde of Forbes Africa in an interview that she is where she is today because of her decision to give her life to Jesus Christ about 25 years ago.

Hear her: “I don’t think I could have got this far if I had not entered into a covenant with God. It was 25 years since I gave my life to Christ. I entered into an agreement that if he would bless me I would serve him all the days of my life.”

As CNBC reports it, Mrs Alakija thereafter founded the Rose of Sharon Glorious Ministry International in Lagos, where people meet every Tuesday for fellowship and prayer. They are dedicated to a common purpose, to serve God.

The ministry is one of many ways Mrs Alakija is keeping her promise to God. Another is through her work with the Rose of Sharon Foundation, a not-for-profit providing care, financial support and scholarships for widows and orphans. In return, God has kept his side of the bargain.

Mrs Alakija is worth a staggering $1.73 billion according to Forbes, making her the fourth richest person in Nigeria and second richest woman in Africa behind Isabel dos Santos. She is the Vice Chair of Nigerian oil exploration company, Famfa Oil, which shares a joint partnership agreement with international giants Chevron and Petrobras.

With a 60 per cent stake of block OML 127 of the Agbami field, one of Nigeria’s largest deepwater discoveries, Famfa Oil produces approximately 250,000 barrels of crude per day, according to Mrs Alakija.

Having just turned 65 in July, Mrs Alakija has a lot to be thankful for. She is blessed with a dedicated husband, four sons and grandchildren.

Mrs Alakija’s feet are firmly on the ground but her journey to becoming one of Forbes’ 100 most powerful women in the world began with an encounter 36,000 feet above sea level.

“I met a friend of mine on a flight on my way to England and she asked me if I could help her partners to be able to lift crude oil from Nigeria. So I called around and set up an appointment with the petroleum minister but he discouraged me. He said are these people willing to invest in Nigeria because the government did not want to encourage more foreigners to come and lift its crude. I asked my friend who said they didn’t want to invest in Nigeria and that was the end of that,” says Mrs Alakija.

With that, the new oil opportunity came to an end. But her dogged determination transformed this negative conclusion into one of the most renowned success stories to come from Africa. This tenacity began at an early age.

“I come from a Muslim background and it was a polygamous lifestyle. My father had eight wives and 52 children. All the wives had to cooperate with each other. To them that was how life was, they cooperated with one another, they quarrelled and made up again, most of us were living under one roof in private bedrooms, I think about four floors of a building, in the heart of Lagos Island,” says Mrs Alakija.

Born into a family of traders, Mrs Alakija cut her teeth in the textiles trade while still a child.

“My siblings and I used to help my mum in the store and that is where we learned a lot about textiles, textures, colours, patterns and merchandising. That is where I learned all the practical steps that I later on applied to my fashion business.”

The fashion business came after her stint in the corporate banking world. After qualifying as a secretary in Britain, a place where she also went to school from the age of seven to 11, Mrs Alakija worked as an executive secretary with the bank, Sijuade Enterprises, in Lagos for a year and a half before joining the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria.

“I joined them as a secretary and I was there for about 12 years. I was promoted to other departments of the bank, including heading the corporate affairs department. From there I moved into proper banking, working in the treasury department. I loved it because I was trading with the bank’s money to make money for the bank.

“Later on, the bank was expanding and they started putting extra cogs between the wheels to ensure that people did not get promoted too fast to get to top positions within the bank. So I asked myself, ‘how long will it take me to get from a treasury officer to a general manager?’” says Mrs Alakija.

She quit her job and decided to study fashion design. She enrolled in the American College in London as well as the Central School of Fashion where she obtained a distinction. Immediately after that, Supreme Stitches was born and Mrs Alakija became renowned for her haute couture range, which was worn by women around the world.

Mrs Alakija says divine intervention persuaded her to rename her fashion business.

“I rebranded to Rose of Sharon House of Fashion because God gave me a revelation that I needed to change the name. It was a revelation initially given through a pastor but I decided I was not going to change it until I heard from God myself. I had a dream a year after the prophecy was given and I saw the new name on the body of my van in the dream and I changed it overnight,” says Mrs Alakija.

Then came her foray into printing. Mrs Alakija established the Rose of Sharon Prints and Promotions, as well as Digital Reality Prints.

“I wanted a new challenge; I was getting bored of the fashion business… the [printing] business did well for the first couple of years before it got into trouble,” she says.

The Lagos State government clamped down on the printing business because billboards were clogging up the skyline. Sales for her fledgling business plummeted.

“At some point when I went abroad, I saw some printing machines and realised that those were the similar kind of machines I had been shown in [a] dream but those were for offset. I went into the wrong type of printing out of disobedience and ignorance.

“I misunderstood and I was excited with the large format machines so I didn’t do too much homework into trying to find out more about the pictures that I saw in my dream. So I eventually got into the offset printing five years ago. And it’s been a success. We started out with 30 people and now we have about 100 employees,” says Mrs Alakija.

There was a smooth transition from the fashion business into mass-produced t-shirts. Demand for monograms, screen-printing and picture transfers on t-shirts increased. The company set up four departments, including a souvenirs department where they imported souvenirs and gift items from China. Ever the entrepreneur, Mrs Alakija was still on the lookout for the next big thing.

Mrs Alakija’s encounter with her friend on the flight to England was fortuitous. After her friend decided not to invest in the Nigerian oil industry, Mrs Alakija decided to make use of her new contact, Maryam Babaginda. Maryam was the wife of Ibrahim Babaginda, the former president of Nigeria under military rule. As a customer of Supreme Stitches, Maryam was able to secure another appointment for Mrs Alakija with the petroleum minister, Jubril Aminu.

“I went back and told the petroleum minister that I would like to render other services, like catering for the oil industry. He said there were already so many caterers on board, various ships on the high seas, and as a result, there were no opportunities available.”

Although disappointed, Mrs Alakija did not give up. She decided to do some more homework. After consultations with a close relative who worked for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), she was advised to offer transportation services for the petroleum industry. It took a long time to get another meeting with Mr Aminu.

“I finally got another opportunity and I wrote an official letter saying I would like to offer transportation services to the oil sector. The minister’s feedback was he didn’t think it was a good idea because the government would soon be doing away with the trucks that were being used to transport crude oil and replace them with a lot more pipelines instead. So I said ‘what am I going to ask for now?’”

“He said ‘why don’t you think of exploration?’. He said the government wants to put the resources of its land in the hands of its nationals, because it feels that it is about time that Nigerians begin to exploit its own resources rather than let multinationals continue to take away our wealth. I had given up at this point. I thought he was being sarcastic and he didn’t want to help all along,” she says.

Mrs Alakija cried all night. It felt as if a major door had been closed. After seeking consolation from her husband, Mrs Alakija went on to inform Maryam of the outcome of the meeting.

“I told her that it was bad news and that the petroleum minister wants to give me a heart attack. I went back to do a lot more homework and consulted with a friend of my husband who was already in the oil business. At the end of the research, I decided to not give up and officially apply for an opportunity to get an oil block,” says Mrs Alakija.

Before submitting her letter, Mrs Alakija had already found her technical partners and it was now a waiting game. To her surprise, the oil minister was replaced and Mrs Alakija had to restart the whole process again. She kept pushing. Everything seemed to be going according to plan when the second oil minister was also replaced.

“At this stage, I still wasn’t ready to give up. The third minister finally wrote me a letter to tell me my application was receiving attention after two years. I got the letter and I cried my eyes out in frustration again at the snail’s pace progress the application was making,” says Mrs Alakija.

Swaying from one military coup to another, the Nigerian political climate was volatile during the 1990s. While on holiday in the Philippines, news broke about yet another change in the Nigerian regime. Mrs Alakija’s oil application was still being reviewed.

“I raced back to Nigeria to find that the current administration had already done the oil block allocations before they left power and my licence was waiting for me. It took three years of not taking no for an answer and going back each time the door was shut in my face,” says Mrs Alakija.

She finally had her oil block, but the battle was far from over.

“When I was making the application I listed several blocks. I didn’t want to take a chance on someone else taking my block. So I applied for several blocks and the one I was allocated was the one nobody wanted because it was deep offshore and nobody was exploring deep offshore because it was too expensive to explore and there was no technology around to explore that initial depth of 5,000 feet at that time,” says Mrs Alakija.

At first, it seemed Mrs Alakija had drawn the short straw. She did not have the technology, expertise and money to start the process of exploration. Mrs Alakija, with support from her husband, had to use their life savings to secure the license or face losing it after the government threatened to terminate the agreement if full payment was not made. It took Mrs Alakija an additional three years to find new partners after her initial partners pulled out. After years of knocking on countless doors, their persistence paid off.

“Texaco was already in Nigeria and looking to expand their business. They went to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), who told them that Famfa Oil was looking for technical partners. So they linked us up. The license we had was not worth more than the paper it was written on until they came in,” says Mrs Alakija.

Five years later, Chevron bought Texaco, including the partnership with Famfa Oil.

After receiving a signature bonus, out of which Mrs Alakija was able to pay the balance of the license to the government, Mrs Alakija started working with her new partners.

Chevron set up an office four months after signing the partnership contract, with Mrs Alakija holding on to 60% of the shareholding of the oil block and Chevron taking 40%. Chevron later sold an 8% stake to Petrobras in exchange for their deep offshore technical expertise.

“You can find oil, but if what you have spent is more than the quantity of oil available within the block to make your money back in multiples, then it was not worth carrying on and you cut your losses.

“You could even have a dry hole after spending millions to explore. So when we found oil in commercial quantities, they said they had to announce it to their shareholders and it has been a battle ever since.”

The announcement of the major find in Mrs Alakija’s oil block by Chevron attracted the attention of the Nigerian government who had initially assumed that the oil block was one of the worst due to its location.

The government snatched an initial 40% stake from Mrs Alakija, followed by another 10% stake, leaving her with a meagre 10% stake.

“We felt like it was unfair. We had taken the sole risk and invested everything we had in the business. It had become a family business. We spent six years as a family to ensure this worked out and now that it was bearing fruit, they just stepped in and took away everything we had struggled and worked extremely hard for. I said to myself, ‘Folorunsho Alakija does not give up, my husband does not give up and my children do not give up.’”

Most of her advisers believed it would be impossible to win a legal battle against the government, which, at the time, was notorious for its corruption. Mrs Alakija ignored their advice and took the government to court. For her, the case was simple, Nigeria has a constitution and nobody, including the government, is above that constitution. After 12 years of intense legal battle, the courts returned the 60% shareholding back to the family.

“It was bittersweet. There were a lot of sleepless nights and battles. Suddenly we became the plague, friends stopped picking up our calls and people were asking why we could not be content with 10 per cent. My husband was a rock, to myself and the family, during that time and I could not have done it without him,” says Mrs Alakija.

Dolapo Oni, Head of Energy Research at Ecobank, praises Alakija’s courage.

“Mrs Alakija has run a very successful business in Famfa Oil. She was one of the first women in the oil business and her battle with the federal government shows a great deal of tenacity. After they took away her block, she successfully won it back. She was also one of the first women to partner with a joint venture partner, Chevron, which has been very successful,” he says.

Oni, however, feels the oil company needs to branch out.

“I think they are risk averse. Having been as successful as they are, they do not want to explore other opportunities. I personally feel like you have to increase your reserve base, you have to explore other assets and Famfa has traditionally not diversified their holdings in other fields, which I believe could be very profitable for the business as well.”

For now, Mrs Alakija seems content. She met her husband, Mr Modupe, a year after she returned to Nigeria from England and they have been married for over 40 years. These days, Mrs Alakija spends her time as a proud grandmother and an author, having penned several books, including her autobiography “Growing With The Hand That Gives The Rose”, “The University of Marriage” and “The Cry of Widows and Orphans”.

As Mrs Alakija stands amid the melodic songs of praise in her Tuesday fellowship, she is at peace. Interfere with her business, however, and it is war.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via


Are you missing out by choosing the wrong entertainment options online?



Entertainment options online

Entertainment options online refer to any form of media or content that is designed to provide enjoyment, amusement, or relaxation through digital platforms. This includes video streaming services, online gaming platforms, social media, music streaming services, podcasts, and more. With the rise of the internet and the proliferation of digital media, there are now countless entertainment options available online.

Entertainment is an essential aspect of our lives. It allows us to relax, unwind, and escape from the stresses of our daily routines. It can also serve as a means of socializing and connecting with others who share our interests. Whether we enjoy watching movies, playing video games, listening to music, or browsing social media, entertainment plays a vital role in our well-being.

Despite the benefits of online entertainment, there is also a downside. With so many options available, it can be easy to fall into the trap of choosing the wrong entertainment options. These may include content that is overly negative, violent, or simply not aligned with our interests or values. Choosing the wrong entertainment options online can be a waste of time, energy, and money. It can also have a negative impact on our mental health and well-being.

The drawbacks of choosing the wrong entertainment options online

One of the primary drawbacks of choosing the wrong entertainment options online is that it can be a waste of time. With so many options available, it can be tempting to spend hours scrolling through social media or binge-watching TV shows. However, this can lead to a lack of productivity and a feeling of dissatisfaction with how we spent our time.

Choosing the wrong entertainment options online can also have a negative impact on our mental health. For example, consuming negative or violent content can increase feelings of anxiety or depression. It can also lead to a lack of motivation or a sense of disconnection from the world around us. Furthermore, constantly comparing ourselves to others on social media can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

Finally, choosing the wrong entertainment options online can lead to missed opportunities for learning and growth. For example, if we only consume content that is purely for entertainment purposes, we may miss out on opportunities to learn new skills or gain knowledge. Similarly, if we only engage with content that confirms our existing beliefs or opinions, we may miss out on the chance to broaden our perspectives and challenge our assumptions.

Overall, choosing the wrong entertainment options online can have significant drawbacks, ranging from a waste of time and a negative impact on mental health to missed opportunities for learning and growth.

The benefits of choosing the right entertainment options online

Choosing the right entertainment options online can have a positive impact on our mental health. For example, engaging in activities that promote relaxation, such as listening to music or practicing mindfulness, can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Similarly, consuming content that inspires or uplifts us, such as motivational speeches or feel-good movies, can boost our mood and increase our sense of well-being. Additionally, some online entertainment options, such as these sites of online casinos, can offer a sense of excitement and thrill that can be a source of enjoyment for many people.

Choosing the right entertainment options online can also provide opportunities for learning and growth. For example, reading articles or watching documentaries on topics that interest us can expand our knowledge and help us develop new skills. Similarly, engaging with content that challenges our assumptions or exposes us to new perspectives can broaden our horizons and increase our understanding of the world around us. Online casinos, for instance, can offer a chance to develop strategic thinking and decision-making skills, as well as an understanding of probability and risk management.

Overall, choosing the right entertainment options online can have significant benefits, including a positive impact on mental health and opportunities for learning and growth. By engaging with online entertainment options that align with our interests and values, we can enrich our lives and enhance our overall well-being.

How to choose the right entertainment options online

The first step in choosing the right entertainment options online is to define your interests and preferences. Consider the types of content that you enjoy, such as specific genres of music or movies, particular gaming styles, or certain social media platforms. This will help you narrow down your options and find content that aligns with your personal tastes.

Once you have a better understanding of your interests and preferences, the next step is to research and read reviews. Look for websites or online communities that offer recommendations or reviews of different entertainment options. This can include user reviews on streaming services, forums dedicated to specific hobbies or interests, or blogs that provide insights on different types of online entertainment. Reading reviews can help you get a sense of the quality of the content and whether it aligns with your interests and values.

Another way to find the right entertainment options online is to use recommendation algorithms. Many streaming services, music platforms, and social media sites use algorithms to suggest content based on your viewing or listening history. By using these algorithms, you can discover new content that you may not have otherwise come across. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that algorithms are not perfect, and they may recommend content that does not align with your interests or values.

Overall, choosing the right entertainment options online requires a combination of defining your interests and preferences, researching and reading reviews, and using recommendation algorithms. By taking the time to explore different options and find content that aligns with your personal tastes, you can enhance your overall entertainment experience and enrich your life.


In conclusion, choosing the right entertainment options online is important for a variety of reasons. It can have a positive impact on our mental health, provide opportunities for learning and growth, and help us make better use of our time. On the other hand, choosing the wrong entertainment options online can be a waste of time, have a negative impact on our mental health, and lead to missed opportunities for learning and growth.

Ultimately, entertainment plays a vital role in our lives, and the internet provides a wealth of options for us to choose from. By taking the time to define our interests and preferences, researching and reading reviews, and using recommendation algorithms, we can find the right entertainment options online and enhance our overall well-being. As we continue to navigate the digital landscape, it’s important to be mindful of the impact that entertainment has on our lives and to make conscious choices about the content that we consume.

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Anxiety as The Voice Africa Hits Airwaves March 26



The Voice Africa

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

On Sunday, March 26, 2023, The Voice Africa will air on free-to-air TV stations across 14 countries in Africa, where the main sponsor of the show, Airtel Africa, operates.

This would excite fun-seekers on the continent as they would be glued to their television screens for 25 weeks.

A statement from the firm said one show would be aired per week, with the first episodes being blind auditions based solely on the talents’ voices and not looks.

It was stated that The Voice Africa would follow the format of the global show, starting out with blind auditions, battle rounds, knockouts, playoffs and concluding with the live shows.

The Voice Africa is expected to attract both a pan-African and global audience, featuring a high-profile panel of coaches and TV hosts who will witness one of the 100 selected talents eventually crowned The Voice Africa.

About 78,804 registrations were received from Nigeria, Kenya, Seychelles, Tchad, Uganda, Congo, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Gabon, Madagascar, Malawi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

However, 12,308 talents were selected for auditions, and a total of 100, seven per country, in addition to two wild cards, were chosen to proceed to the live shows in Lagos, Nigeria.

“We are thrilled to finally bring Africa’s exceptional musical talents to the world through the continent’s version of the global award-winning show, The Voice.

“The Voice Africa will display African musical talent, delivering excitement and entertainment to millions across the world, whilst showcasing amazing voices, performances, and intrigues.

“It is an opportunity to celebrate and contribute to Africa’s music scene through real-life stories of resilience, persistence, struggle, and success that some of you can relate to and will undoubtedly impact your lives,” the Group Chief Commercial Officer of Airtel Africa, Mr Anthony Shiner, stated.

In 2021, Airtel Africa announced a groundbreaking $57 million investment in education in partnership with UNICEF that aims to provide and increase access to digital education for the betterment of Africa’s children’s futures.

Other initiatives Airtel Africa has been involved in over the years include the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs), the Zain Africa Challenge, which brought university students together in a quiz contest, and the Airtel Rising Stars, a football tournament for Under-15 boys and girls.

These are initiatives of the company to showcase the youthful talent on the continent.

Airtel Africa partnered with FAME Studios Africa to broadcast The Voice Africa on the continent.

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Davido Picks Classic Songs for Spotify Timeless Afro Playlist



Davido timeless afro

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

To celebrate the release of his fourth studio album, Nigerian music star, David Adeleke, otherwise known as Davido, has been given the opportunity to choose some Afrobeats songs he considers timeless.

After a long hiatus, OBO, as the singer is also fondly called, announced to his fans on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, that he would release his fourth solo full-length album titled Timeless.

To prepare fans for the album’s arrival, Davido has curated a playlist of Afrobeats tracks. This contains some of the defining songs of the Afrobeats era, including hits by his peers, Wizkid, Tekno and Mr Eazi.

The playlist also includes some of the most familiar classics from Afrobeats’ golden era, with songs by Sunny Neji, 2baba and Naeto C, as well as foundational tracks that have inspired multiple generations of Afrobeats acts, including Fela Kuti’s Zombie.

Speaking about the playlist, Spotify’s Head of Music for Africa, Ms Phiona Okumu, said, “Davido represents the audacity, consistency and huge reach of Afrobeats, and we’re glad to herald his new body of work by joining him in highlighting some of the most enduring contributions by Afrobeats acts to our musical canon over the years.”

Recall that the last time Davido made a public appearance was at the finals of the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar in December, where he performed.

In his social media post yesterday, he disclosed that the album, which follows 2020’s A Better Time, is scheduled to hit digital stores on March 31.

Davido is one of the global faces of African music. Over the course of a decade and some, he has gone from the Afropop wunderkind who announced himself with Dami Duro and Back When to a global icon. With three studio albums under his belt, the singer boasts hits like Aye, If and Fall.

Next to a list of solo hits and guest verses that could outlast any jam session, Davido is also one of the most prolific cross-continental ambassadors and crossover artists in Afrobeats. His list of collaborators includes artists like Sauti Sol, Focalistic and Kidi, as well as North American stars like Nicki Minaj, Lil Baby, Young Thug and Nas.

The album announcement makes good on Davido’s promise to ‘see his fans in March’, and there’s a feeling that it’ll be well worth the wait.

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