The Biography Of Ibukun Awosika, The First Bank Chairman
Ibukun Awosika is a household name in the entrepreneurial and banking scene. The graceful and beautiful woman she is with many accomplishments did not occur in a day. It was a step by step journey. This is about a woman succeeding in male-dominated spheres and succeeding nonetheless.
A woman who did not let herself be defined by the now but went ahead to see the future and conquered it. Follow me and find out how she became who she is today.
Early life and education
Ibukun Awosika was born Bilkisu Abiodun Motunrayo Omobolanle Adekola, to Mr. Abdulmashood Adekola and Hannah Aduke Adekola, on the 24th day of December 1962. Her parents have seven children, and she is the third child. Her place of birth was in Ibadan the present capital of Oyo State.
She was enrolled for her primary school education in St. Paul’s African Church Primary School, Lagos. Her secondary school education was acquired in the prestigious Methodist girls high School Yaba, Lagos State. She proceeded to study Chemistry in the then the University of Ife which is present-day Obafemi Awolowo University.
While in the university, she desperately wanted to be a lawyer but eventually settled for Chemistry and also pushing in a few accountancy electives. She went ahead to acquire MBA certificates after completing business programs in IESE Business School- University of Navarra and Lagos business school.
Her career journey began after her National Youth Service Corps program in Nigeria. She served in Kano State where she worked with the Akintola Williams and co. firm as an audit trainee. After a while, she discovered that living the straitlaced life of an accountant was not for her.
She loved the figures and calculation but hated having to move files here and there. She left the firm even after she was offered a permanent spot. Ibukun Awosika eventually began to work in Alibert Nigeria limited as a showroom manager, where she fell in love again with architecture and furniture making.
In 1989, Ibukun established her own furniture making company called Quebees limited. This was only after three and a half months of working with Alibert. she was 25 years old then. She learned everything about running a furniture company while working with Alibert.
It was a tough call for her because she had to start without capital and was just fresh from NYSC. The breakthrough came when she decided that customers would pay 70% upfront for their furniture.
This became capital for her. Work could start and she could pay the carpenters. Eventually, the furniture company became Chair Center limited and later SOKOA Chair center limited, upon a merger with SOKOA S.A and later Guarantee Trust Bank in the year 2014.
In the year 2011, Ibukun co-founded the Afterschool Graduate Development Centre, a career center established to checkmate the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria.
Appointment in First Bank
September 7 2015 saw her appointed as Chairman of the First Bank of Nigeria following the resignation of Prince Ajibola Afonja. This was her career-defining moment for her. She became the first woman to occupy that spot.
Ibukun is a member of IESE’s International Advisory Board, Digital Jewel Limited, and Cadbury Nigeria plc. The African Leadership Initiative and Aspen Global Leadership Network made her a fellow. She is also a member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, the board of Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund, and former Chairperson, Board of Trustees of Women in Management, Business, and Public Service.
She was the Chairman of FBN Life Assurance Limited, FBN Capital Limited, and Kakawa Discount House Limited. She has also served on the National Job Creation Committee.
Ibukun Awosika is happily married to Abiodun Awosika, CEO of Excel Exploration & Production Company Limited. They are blessed with three amazing children; Oludola, Olafusika, and Olamiposi.
Ibikun Awosika is not only about business. She is into media. In 2008, she appeared in the first African version of Dragons den, alongside five other entrepreneurs. She is the host of a TV program called Business, His way. She has authored two books The “Girl” Entrepreneurs and Business His Way.
Recently, she starred in the Kunle Afolayan movie, Citation, where she played the part of the Senate chairperson probing a sexual misconduct case between a Lecturer and a student.
Nominations and awards
Ibukun Awosika has been nominated and been the recipient of several awards which includes but not limited to
1) Nominee for Entrepreneur of The Year by THISDAY Newspaper Annual Merit Award in 2005.
2) Nominee for Success Digests Magazine’s Annual Enterprise Award “Female Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2005.
3) in 2006, she was a Nominee for best female entrepreneur of the year by Financial Standard and Pan-African Organisation for Women Recognition.
4) She was the recipient of the FATE Model Entrepreneur Award of The Year, awarded by FATE Foundation Awards. This occurred in 2006.
5) In 2007, she was the recipient of the award for Golden Heart Award given by the International Women Society.
6) 2008 saw her winning the International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge Award.
7) She was nominated YNaija Person of The Year in 2015.
8) In 2020, she won the Forbes Woman Africa Chairperson Award organized by Africa Forbes Woman Awards 2020.
Ibukun Awosika’s net worth is estimated to be about $18.6 million.
Ibikun Awosika is a born again Christian, who loves the Lord. She pastors at the Fountain of Life Church. Due to her commitment to the work of God and interest in missions, she established the Christian Missionary Fund which is dedicated to raising support for Christian missionaries across the country.
Ibukun Awosika believes in staying true to your personal values and virtues even in business. She has granted several interviews on her business and merging family with business. She always says that her goal is to be a wonderful businesswoman, a great mother to her kids, and an amazing wife to her husband. She attributes her success to God and her ever-supportive husband.