Bola Shagaya; one of Africa’s most industrious billionaires

Bola Shagaya; one of Africa's most industrious billionaires

Hajia Bola Muinat Shagaya is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria and Africa, highly recognised with the likes of Folorunsho Alakija as one of the richest women in Africa. Bola Shagaya is the founder and CEO of Bolmus Group International, a conglomerate with holdings in real estate, oil and gas, banking and photography. Unlike most prominent industrialist, she skillfully built her wealth and network. In recognition of her outstanding virtues and immense contribution to economic growth, she was recognised and awarded twice by the Nigerian government.

Bola Shagaya was born on the 10th of October, 1959 in Kwara State. She hails from Ilorin, Kwara State but resides and conducts her business mostly in Lagos. Her father, Emenike Moba was a Nigerian public servant while her mother, Adult Makur was a Sudanese seamstress. She attended Queens School in her hometown and has a degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria before proceeding to the United States where she studied Accountancy and Economics from Armstrong College in California.

Bola Shagaya started a promising career as a banker. she worked in the audit department of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN). In 1983, she left the corporate world and ventured into business. Her first business experience started with importation and distribution of photographic materials such as roll papers, films and chemicals under the trading name, Bolmus International (Nigeria) Limited. Soon, she became the sole West African agent of the then leading photographic company, Konica. She introduced the Konica brand of photographic materials into Nigerian and West African markets.

Interestingly, as a shrewd entrepreneur, she saw opportunities in the Nigerian photography industry and expanded her Konica marketing operations to photo laboratories. This later birthed Fotofair (Nigeria) Limited, a photo laboratory company in 1997. Today, Fotofair (Nigeria) Limited has grown into a leading photo laboratory company in Nigeria with many branches spread across the nation.

Furthermore, Hajia, as she is fondly called, stretched her tentacles into the Nigerian oil and gas sector. She founded Practoil Limited, one of the largest importer and distributors of base oil in Nigeria today. As far back as the late 1980s, during Gen. Ibrahim Babaginda led-administration, the business tycoon stirred her oil and gas company to secure allocation for oil blocks. Thus, making her one of the indigenous oil marketers. Around 2005, Bola Shagaya became the managing director of Practoil Limited. She expanded her operations in the oil and gas industry by establishing another exploration company, Voyage Oil and Gas Limited in 2011. In 2012, Voyage Oil and Gas Limited were awarded an oil exploration license by the Nigerian government.

Bola Shagaya was also on the board of Unity Bank Plc, formerly known as Intercity Bank for over eight years. While on the board, she served in different capacities on various board committees including serving as the chairman of the Bank’s Establishment Committee, Chairman of the Audit Committee and was a member of Unity Bank’s Audit and Credit Committee. She was also the Chairman, Committee on Economy, Trade and Investment at 2014 National Conference.

In addition, Bola Shagaya is a sports lover, especially polo. Over the years, she has consistently supported polo tournaments in Nigeria. Recently, she supported the Access Bank’s UNICEF Charity Shield Polo Tournament. The event was to raise fund for the renovation of deteriorated classrooms as well as provide a conducive learning environment for displaced and underprivileged children in Kaduna over the next five years. The astute entrepreneur loves fashion and supports art. It is no wonder that she was a one-time patron of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN).

Conclusively, the best entrepreneurs in the world don’t act as they know it all, you have to keep learning to continually be successful. Same can be said of the businesswoman, Haija Bola Muinat Shagaya.