What’s your excuse? Africa’s richest woman, Folorunsho Alakija reveals her secrets to success

by Isi Esene

Africa’s richest woman, Folorunsho Alakija shared her success secret with young people at the University of Lagos yesterday during this year’s United Nations International Youth Day.

The chairman of Famfa Oil told the audience that it takes more than a university education to become successful in business.

“It has not been a rag to riches fairytale  It has not been an overnight phenomenon like some cases which you find here and there all over the world. For as long as I can remember, I had always wanted my own business. Hard work… am trying to tell you how I got to where I am if you want those billions. Hard work, diligence, persistence… days where you nearly gave up but I chose not to give up,” she said.

Alakija told the students how lucky they are to have a university education saying she got to her position in life without having any. But the passion and desire to succeed mainly fuelled her success.

Read more from what the 63-year-old woman had to say:

“It would have been easy to compromise but I chose not to and I stayed focus. I could have stayed a secretary as my father desired according to his plan for me but I had bigger aspirations. I dreamt big. God strengthened me and gave me wisdom. I had a passion and burning desire to succeed. Being a secretary, a banker, a fashion icon, a cooperate promoter and printer, a real estate owner, an oil magnate, that I can assure you was no easy feat. Firm belief that what is worth doing is what doing well or not doing at all. I took charge of my life with the tools I have shared with you.

“All I say to the glory of God. So I am 63 and I am not yet done. So what is your excuse? I never went to a university and I am proud to say so because I don’t think I have done too badly. You do not have to have a university education to be able to make it so count yourselves privileged to have that education as part of the feather in your cap,” she said.

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