By Dele Momodu
Fellow Nigerians, it is not every day that we get to celebrate the great women of Nigeria, not because there are few of them, but because sometimes their modesty, humility and cloistered nature makes them keep away from hugging the limelight unlike their more aggressive and socially astute male contemporaries. However, Ovation often seeks out women of this ilk because that is the essence of what Ovation stands for – the celebration of Black people of quality, achievement, distinction and honour. As I have always noted, I am a male Feminist (wrote my Masters thesis on The Oppression of Women in African Literature) and an avid follower and respecter of women who have shown their competence, capability and ability by succeeding in a male dominated world. I greatly admire such accomplished African women and it is my pleasure and privilege to felicitate and congratulate one of such women, our dear Sister, Mrs Foluke Kafayat Abdulrazaq, who marked her 65th birthday yesterday. Fondly called FKA by her friends and admirers, she is someone I like to describe as a silent powerhouse. Despite her significant and enviable achievements, Mrs Abdulrazaq has resisted the temptation of flexing her muscles around town. She remains one of those few modest Nigerian personalities quietly serving her country well and without fuss, in a country where the commonest rhetorical question revolves around self-recognition and self-propagation, “I am such and such” or “do you know who I’m?”
I am happy and pleased that five years after I paid glowing tributes to her, on her Diamond birthday, I’m back here celebrating her again today. This is not only because of the high esteem with which I personally hold her and her illustrious family but because she has continued to excel and make herself relevant and useful in society.
In summary, FKA attended the Yaba College of Technology and Kwara State College of Technology, where she obtained her OND and HND (Accountancy) respectively. Later, she earned a Master of Science degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Ibadan. Mrs. Abdulrazaq is also an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, Boston, USA where she has undergone leadership and financial courses. ￼
Mrs. Abdulrazaq is no stranger to public office. Significantly, she was the Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, and later, Women Affairs and Social Development, between 1997 and 1999. As Commissioner for Finance, in 1997, she was the first and to date, the only female Commissioner for Finance in Lagos State. To her credit, the broad policies on which Lagos State’s much vaunted Accelerated Revenue Generation Programme (ARGP) is founded were formulated during her tenure. She worked with the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Limited, where she headed several departments, including Administration, Management Services, Commercial and Corporate Development. Between 1999 -2001 she was the Executive Director, ML Securities Limited a stock brokerage firm. She has also been heavily involved with the construction serving on the board of Nigeria’s largest construction company, Julius Berger plc (1997-2000) as a Non-Executive Director.
Mrs Abdulrazaq is a consummate financial guru and has been much sought after in banking and financial boardrooms for her gifted and innovative ideas and contributions to financial issues and affairs.
She was a Non-Executive Director of the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) from 2008 to 2020. It is noteworthy that despite the constant changes witnessed in bank boardrooms she remained a non-executive Director for so long. During her tenure, she served on various committees in the bank, and she served as chairman of the Bank’s Board’s Credit Committee as well as member of the Statutory Audit, Nominations and Governance committees until November 2019. In recognition of her contribution to the industry at boardroom level, she became the Vice-President, Bank Directors’ Association of Nigeria (BDAN)
With a distinctive record of service in finance, banking, stock broking, business and public office, in June 2020 she was appointed as Vice Chairman of Transcorp PLC, a diversified conglomerate.
She is currently a member of the Institute of Directors (IoD), Women Corporate Directors, National Council of Executives (NASFAT), Board of Trustees (Fountain University Oshogbo), Olave Baden- Powell Society (OBPS) and Sarah-Adebisi Sosan Foundation. She’s currently a member of the Governing Council of the Lagos State University (LASU).
Mrs Abdulrazaq has won several awards in recognition of her contributions to the many and varied sectors of the Nigerian economy that she has been involved with. Amongst these illustrious awards the coveted “Lagos State Woman of Excellence” Award which FKA won in 1999. Mrs Abdulrazaq is a Justice of the Peace (JP).
In 2004, Mrs. Abdulrazaq yielded to her passionate love for education and her desire to make a genuine lasting contribution to the education of our youths in their most formative adolescent years. She founded what has now become the prestigious and highly regarded Bridge House College in Ikoyi, Lagos. The College, which is of a high international standard, is an independent private sixth-form co-educational institution that focuses on the Founders vision of bridging the gap for Nigerian High School leavers to be able cross to universities of their choices all over the world and hold their own and distinguish themselves in those institutions.
Mrs. Abdulrazaq is happily married to Dr. Alimi Abdulrazaq, a scholarly and renowned lawyer and reputable arbitrator, prominent and respected politician and successful businessman. Dr Abdulrazaq is the first son of the highly respected and revered Alhaji AGF Abdulrazaq, one of the foremost Senior Advocates of Nigeria. Dr Abdulrazaq and FKA’s marriage is blessed with children and grandchildren.
Please, help me raise a toast to this great woman of impeccable pedigree for her service to her nation and mankind as she marks her Blue Sapphire Jubilee. She is truly a precious gem…