First female chairman of Firstbank; Ibukun Awosika

No doubt, when we dare believe in ourselves dreams are actualized. For it takes passion to overcome the thoughts of giving up when faced with disappointments and other challenges. This indeed highlights the success story of Ibukun Awosika, a woman who against all odds totally believed in herself. Today she is an achiever and she admonishes young people to believe in themselves.

To start with, Ibukunoluwa Abiodun Awosika is a Nigerian business mogul, author, motivational speaker and Chairman of First Bank Nigeria, a record position she occupied in September 2015 as the first female to do so. A woman who climbed the ladder of success through hard work and dedication.

Born on the 24th of December, 1962 in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. She was the third of seven children. She had her primary and secondary education at St. Pauls African Church Primary School, Lagos and proceeded to Methodist Girl’s High School, Yaba. Ibukunoluwa Abiodun Awosika is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University from whence she graduated with a degree in Chemistry. She also holds certifications from the Lagos Business School and IESE Busines School. Notably, from childhood, she wanted to be every good thing she could think of. From being an Architect to a Lawyer to an Accountant, to mention but a few. All these indeed shows how passionate she craves for excellence.

The journey to greater heights started when she first worked as an audit trainee at Akintola Williams & Co and then went on to Alibert Nigeria Ltd to work as a showroom manager. Ibukunoluwa Awosika founded her own furniture manufacturing company- Quebees Limited in 1989. Quebec Limited has since evolved into The Chair Centre Limited and SOKOA Chair Centre Limited. SOKOA Chair Centre Limited is a merger between SOKOA S.A of France, Guaranty Trust Bank, The Chair Limited and Other stakeholders in the furniture industry. SOKOA Chair Centre Limited was created in 2014 due to the federal government’s ban on the importation of furniture items in 2014. She needed the merger which was successful to produce locally

In 2011, She co-founded Afterschool Graduate Development Centre which is a facility established to address the high rate of youth unemployment in  Nigeria. Ibukun Awosika also enjoys membership of many internationally recognised organisations. She is a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative and Aspen Global Leadership Network, she is a member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, she is on the board of Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund and is the chairman Board of Trustees of Women in Management, Business and Public Service.

Interestingly, on the 7th of September 2015, she became the first woman to be made the Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria. She succeeded Prince Ajibola Afonja. Also, Ibukun Awosika is a consummate author. Her books include The “Girl” Entrepreneurs, Business His Way, amongst others.

In addition, in 2005 she was nominated for the Entrepreneur of The Year award at the THISDAY Newspaper Annual Merit Award. In 2006 Ibukun Awosika was nominated for the Female Entrepreneur of the Year prize at the Success Digests Magazine’s Annual Enterprise Award. In 2006 she was nominated for the Best Female Entrepreneur of The Year prize at the Financial Standard and Pan-African Organization for Women Recognition. She won the FATE Model Entrepreneur Award of the Year at the FATE Foundation Awards. She won the Golden Heart Award at the International Women Society Award in 2007. She won the Entrepreneurial Challenge Award in 2008. She was nominated for the YNaija Person of The Year in 2015.

Conclusively, an entrepreneur par excellence, Ibukun Awosika’s feats are not commonplace. With business interests in manufacturing, retail and bank-way security systems services, Awosika, is, without doubt, a heavyweight in her field. The bespectacled business leader presently dedicates her time to building an army of strong-minded moguls.