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Folorunsho Alakija cars & the life of once richest black woman on Earth!

By Hassana Obi
Publish on January 29, 2019

Latest news articles

The richest women in Africa makes headlines with whatever she does. Explore Folorunsho Alakija cars, life, family and the lavish wedding of her son here!

1. Who is Folorunsho Alakija?

Some knew Folorunsho Alakija through news about her son's lavish wedding, some through her envious relationship with her husband, and some are just curious about Folorunsho Alakija cars. However it is, the extraordinary life of this woman deserves a thorough article by Naijauto!

Born on 15th, July 1951 in Lagos, she is one the most symbolic figures, not only in Nigeria but in the whole Africa. Her family background was rather unique and strange to many of us; her family holds onto the value of polygamy. Out of a whopping 52 children of her father, as the result of his marriage to 8 wives, she is, surprisingly, the 8th child.

Folorunsho-and-her-parents

She was the 8th child in a total of 52 children in her family!

With a family size like that, she could've been easily forgotten, but luckily she wasn't. She was fortunate enough to receive the education from one of the best systems in the world, the UK when she was at her first year in primary school. Later on, when she had finished her study in the UK, she decided to come back to her home country and got a job. Her first job was a secretary, a rather humble job, considering her education.

1.1. How Folorunsho Alakija became the richest woman in Nigeria?

Although the white-collar job was pretty decent at the time, her wealth was not so much attributed to her secretary job. After the first white-collar job, she got another one in the Finbank (First National Bank of Chicago, now changed hand to First City Monument Bank), before quitting to found a new company on her own. The company was named Supreme Stitches, which after a few years had gained a tremendous amount of attention in Nigeria by promoting Nigerian's ideas and culture through her garment. 

Billionaire-folorunsho-Alakija

Her internal entrepreneurship did not let her settle down for a regular job (Photo source: CNN)

With the wealth generated from her business and years of hard work, she's considered the richest woman in Nigeria at the moment. Her love with fashion didn't stop with the first company, she proceeded to be the president of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN). Not only that, she was appointed the title vice chairman of the National Heritage Council and Endowment for the Arts to operate the council with the president Igho Sanomi.

Folorunsho-alakija-at-FADAN

With her love and contribution for fashion, she was appointed the president of the FADAN

1.2. The way to the richest woman in Africa

As a true entrepreneur and innovator, the fire inside her sparked again and she wanted to found another company, and she really did! In 1993, she decided to conquest one of the most lucrative yet fiercely competitive businesses, oil drilling. It's notable that not many men would dare to do business in the oil selling business, let alone a woman trying to be the oil supplier. She succeeded in getting the Oil Prospecting License and was allocated a 617,000-acre block (the OPL 216), which is located 112 kilometers offshore, from the delta of the Niger river.  

inside-the-folorunsho-company-famfa-limited

One small startup wasn't enough for such a fierce woman like Folorunsho

And just like that, she became one of the rare cases where a woman operates a gigantic oil company. 3 years later, in 2016, her Famfa Limited company joint force with a subsidiary of Texaco, allowing this company to be the adviser and sharing 40 percent of the total profit with them.

With such enormous business, it's reasonable how Folorunsho Alakija became the richest woman in Africa. But this also brought to her a number of troubles.

When one is at their height of career, strong winds can be expected. Just when the Nigerian government knew about the news, they demand 40% and, later on half of the company's profit! The tenacious woman was shocked by the government's greed. Of course, she did not back down. She bought the case to the court and decided to fight until her last breath. 12 years and millions of Nairas later, the court ruled the case in her favor! It was a total relief; otherwise, she needs to pay the government more than 10 million dollars per day, such an outrageous number.

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2. Who is the richest black woman in the world?

Yes, you guessed it right. Folorunsho Alakija used to be the richest black woman in the world.

Clearly, being the richest businesswoman in Nigeria did not satisfy her, Folorunsho Alakija once became the richest black woman in Africa and climbed the top status worldwide. Though she might not be as popular as the media tycoon that is also from Africa, Oprah Winfrey, her total net worth surpassed that of Oprah in 2014, making her the richest black woman in the world at the time.

In just over a year later, she was deemed the second most powerful female in Africa, just behind the Finance Minister and respected economist, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

However, according to the latest estimation by Forbes, the media queen Oprah Winfrey took back her position in 2018 with $2.7 billion (~₦980 billion) of total net worth.

Folorunsho-Alakija-and-opra-winfrey

She once overthrew Oprah Winfrey to become the richest African descent in the world

3. Folorunsho Alakija net worth

In 2014 when she surpassed Oprah Winfrey, her net worth was estimated at $2.1 billion (some sources even affirmed it's $3.2 billion). But things have changed now and Folorunsho Alakija net worth saw a downfall to $1.7 billion in 2018.

The number translates to 616.5 billion Nigerian nairas.

Well, I think it's fair to call her the female version of Midas king as everything she touched turned to gold, from fashion, printing, even the industry that's considered male-dominated, oil drilling and selling.

4. Folorunsho Alakija cars and private jet

4.1. Folorunsho Alakija private jet

With the nature of her job, it's reasonable for her to buy her own jet due to the frequent traveling schedule. The Bombardier Global Express XRS worths around 46 million dollars (~₦16.7 billion). Expensive as it may sound, it didn't leave a dent in her fortune.

The-Bombardier-Global-Express-XRS-of-Folorunsho

Having to work transnationally, she needs something else other than a car to move around

Being a filthy rich individual doesn't change who she is. Yes, her private jet is expensive, but it's mainly for doing business. With that said, she did not follow the path of celebrities and bring to social media like Instagram or Facebook her latest car collections or anything of the sort.

4.2. Folorunsho Alakija cars

Though she doesn't like to show off her tremendous properties, Naijauto managed to get our hands on the pictures of cars that she gave to herself and her husband. This powerful woman appeared to be a fan of Mercedes-Benz models.

Mrs-Folorunsho-Alakija-mercedez

The one with the "FLO" plate is for Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija

Unlike celebrities in the entertainment industry, Mrs. Folorunsho did not go for those blinky car models that are all over Instagram and Pinterest. Instead, she chose a rather symbolic car for businessmen and businesswomen. A black Mercedez is plated with the initial of her name, FLO and the brown and reddish Mercedez with the plate "MODU" is for her husband.

Folorunsho-Alakija-husband-mercedez

This "MODU" plate was for Mr. Modupe Alakija, her husband

The model name, as well as the price of two cars, haven't been officially revealed, so everyone is just making a guess. According to Naijauto auto experts, the two cars have been slightly modified and customized to their owners' tastes, but they are originally Mercedes-Benz S-Class, whose prices start from ₦53.5 million for 2018 model. 

So now you know this wife has spent a great deal of at least ₦100 million for her and her husband's traveling.

This is indeed a wise choice. The Mercedez S-class model has been reviewed positively from many car testers. First of all, the newly installed suspension adjustment system called Magic Body Control really makes all the difference, especially on rocky paths like the ones in Nigeria. It uses 2 small cameras on the windshield to scan the area ahead and then adjust the suspension state accordingly. 

Road bumpers are almost invisible if you're driving in one of these Mercedez S-class

This version of the S-class keeps the conservative look on the car while gives it a liberal touch. On the inside, there was a major change, especially on the backseat. Mercedez has paid more attention to the backseat, making it look more like first-class airline seats, so that people that are preferred to be chauffeured around would find this car appealing.

the-back-seats-of-a-mercedez-s-class

The change is more pronounced in the long-wheelbase version 

4.3. Folorunsho Alakija cars for her sons

If the information regarding her net worth is correct, it's estimated that she made around ₦160 million a day, and she could virtually buy any car with that kind of money. Recently, she decided to use half of that amount to purchase 4 identical Mercedez Benz G-Wagon for her 4 sons.

Each gets a ₦22-million G-Wagon as a small gift from their considerate mother.

a-Mercedes-Benz-G-wagon-2013

Which car would you buy for your kid if having enough money?

With Folorunsho's money, those cars are barely an expense but rather a gesture of goodwill to show her love and affection towards her 4 successful sons. ₦88 million for 4 cars was spent but she didn't bat an eye. If we owned that much money, we would definitely do the same, right?

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4.4. Folorunsho Alakija car accident & her near-death experiences

Believe it or not, we nearly lost one of the most powerful women in Nigeria in a car accident. It was almost a deadly one, happening on one of the most dangerous roads in the country, the Third Mainland bridge.

the-third-mainland-bridge-in-nigeria

This route is particularly dangerous as it is adjacent to a large and deep water body

When the incident happened, it felt as if it was a planned attack on her! If anyone were to want to harm her, the easiest way would be targeting her car. Turned out, it was a rare tire burst case. The tire on her side of the car burst loudly and the G-Wagon immediately veer toward the lagoon. Her car driver, in an attempt to turn the car around, succeeded, but the car was flipped over!

a-flipped-G-wagon-of-folorunsho-alakija

The tragedy resulted in her car being flipped over and landed on its roof

But God had a plan for everyone, and hers certainly did not end there! Despite the car being flipped over and all the passengers were hanged like astronauts inside, no one was seriously harmed. Thanks to her obeying the law by fastening the seatbelt before the trip, and also the ruggedness of the Wagon, she was able to get out of the car unscratched.

a-mercedez-g-wagon

The G-Wagon was tough enough to withstand the impact and protect her and all the passengers inside

5. Folorunsho Alakija husband & children

5.1. Folorunsho Alakija husband

Modupe Alakija married Folorunsho in 1976. They met at a casual party in Lagos not long after Folorunsho returned from her study in the UK. They were situated on different tables at first, but noticing Folorunsho was without a man, Modupe decided to try and talk to her. At first, her brother was not at all pleased with the move, but later let the relationship grows naturally. 

Mrs-Folorunsho-and-her-husband

They knew each other when she got back from England, and have been with each other ever since

It's been more than 40 years now and they're still married. This is truly inspiring as it's never been easy for a wealthy couple to stay together for that long.

5.2. Folorunsho Alakija children 

Being the sons of a billionaire is surely never easy. Fortunately, Folorunsho has transferred her values and work ethics to her sons, and now they're all very successful individuals. Let's take a look at their life, shall we?

  • Rotimi Alakija

He is the CEO of the Famfa Limited. Together with the vice-chairman of the company, his mother, he has been operating the oil business for many years and makes millions from it. His portfolio spans over to other sectors as well, such as real estate and he's said to generate a huge profit from it. There was one time he's confused with a famous artist in the country, DJ Xclusive since their names are identical.

Rotimi-alakija

One of the most powerful men of Famfa limited, Rotimi Alakija

  • Folarin Alakija

He's often referred to as the luckiest man of the family since he's married to a gorgeous lady from Iran and the media surely paid huge attention to their wedding. Folarin is also managing business with his mother in the Famfa limited.

Folarin-Alakija-and-his-wife

Folarin Alakija married an Iranian beauty, Nazanin Jafarian

See how a billionaire holds wedding for her son!

  • Ladi Alakija

He is the oldest son in the 4 brothers. His wife is from a family of the same background, wealthy and highly educated. The wedding took place in both Nigeria and Eko hotel in London. The couple had welcomed their first baby girl in 2014.

Ladi Alakija makes a living by being a shareholder in the Famfa limited.

Ladi-Alakija-and-his-wife

Ladi Alakija is Mrs. Folorunsho's oldest son

  • Dele Alakija

Like his mother, Dele Alakija leads a rather lowkey lifestyle and he was yet to get married. We don't know if he's got any name in mind yet. But rest assured that whenever or wherever the wedding happens, Naijauto will surely cover it!

4-brothers-of-alakija-family

Out of 4 brothers, Dele was the only one without a small family on his own

6. Folorunsho Alakija house 

The billionaire must be owning a lot of estates both inside and outside Nigeria. However, as she doesn't like revealing her personal life, people knows most about her residence in the UK and latest is her house in Lagos being constructed.

Folorunsho Alakija has a beautiful mansion in the UK with simple design in exteriors but convenient luxury facilities indoor. Let's take a look!

Folorunsho-Alakija-house-in-UK

This is where Folorunsho Alakija family live in the UK (Source: Getty images)

Folorunsho-house-inside

The indoor swimming pool is just a modest part of the house

Moving to her house in Lagos, it is expected to be the most expensive real estate in the country and probably in the whole black continent. The project was carried out by the world-wide famous brand Julius Berger from German. 

the-blue-print-of-mrs-folorunsho-house

The blueprint of the design alone looks super duper elaborate and stunning

The design resembles three-quarters of a full circle and is intended to absorb natural light and air in a way that no other building could do. Unfortunately, we're not yet permitted to get inside and take photos. So right now you can only look at and appreciate it from the outside. But that should be enough, let's your imagination do the rest!

Mrs-Folorunsho-Alakija-house-from-the-outside

For now, this is all we can get since no journalists are allowed to get inside her house

7. Conclusion

Though Folorunsho  Alakija cars and jets are indeed admirable, it's actually her integrity, tenacity, and humility that should be endorsed. Those qualities have been exemplified by many parents in the whole country to empower countless young men and women to strive for the better, to take initiatives, and to pursue what is meaningful in life.

For more inspiring stories and impressive car collection of influential icons, check Celeb Car right now, on Naijauto.com!

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Hassana Obi is an automobile writer and editor at Naijauto.com. She prides herself on hundreds of informative and entertaining articles on Nigerian traffic regulations, car prices and celebrity car collections. When Hassana is not writing, she is a teacher and philanthropist.