Shade Okoya: Amazon behind the throne

Behind a highly successful and fulfilled Rasaq Akanni Okoya, Aare of Lagos and Chairman of Eleganza Group of Companies, is his delectable wife, Dr. Folashade Noimat Okoya.

Her admirers describe her as an ebullient personality and a woman of mega capabilities; an obedient and dutiful wife, proud mother of promising children and successful manager of men and resources.

On his 80th birthday last year, the eminent industrialist and philanthropist described her wife of two decades as “my life” and the “woman after my heart.” Ace musician Wasiu Ayinde Anifowose, K-1 Ultimate, even composed songs eulogising  the bond and marital bliss.

It is an understatement. Folashade’s beauty may have been the baseline and point of attraction to the business mogul. But, he is more impressed now by her conduct and sense of duty; her domestic skills and commitment to the brand, the business empire that accounts for the fame of the Okoyas in contemporary society.

“Her life revolves around the factory where she is ’24×7.’ Yet, she comes home at evening to take charge of the kitchen, cooking and doing house chores. She is devoted, indefatigable, kind and loving,” said Okoya, who was 81 on Tuesday.

How the path of the two love birds crossed is now less important than what has kept them together. The success of the marriage has been premised on mutual fidelity, adjustment and superlative understanding.

The Amazon was born on April 25, 1977 into the Muslim family of the late Alhaji Taju and Alhaja Nimota Adeleye in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State. After her primary and secondary education, she studied Banking and Finance at the Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo, before studying Sociology at the cosmopolitan University of Lagos, Akoka.

Under her husband’s tutelage,  Folashade has become a shrewd business woman with diverse interests. She is the Managing Director of Eleganza Fashion Products Limited, Eleganza Cruise and Travels Limited and a director of Eleganza Group and ‘RAO’ Investment Property Company Limited.

The Lady of Factory is also the Deputy Managing Director of Eleganza Industrial City Limited. By virtue of the position, she is responsible for the day to day management of the  company. The industrial city, a big factory, started operation in 2012. It sits on over 35 hectares of land on the Lekki Expressway. Recently, the industrial city has just repositioned itself in the manufacturing business.

Its highly quality products include plastic chairs, tables of different sizes, luggage,  cooling boxes and food warmers, baby diapers and sanitary pad, hair thread and stainless water tank.

Others are shoes and slippers, plastic bottles perfume and cap, beauty and laundry multipurpose soap, hair attachment and weaveons, disposable and re-usable plates and cups, roofing aluminium sheet and cosmetic new product line range.

“The company has over 3,000 workers, thereby providing employment to many people,” said Folashade, who added:”The company has the vision of bring the foremost producer of various household items in Nigeria within the next two years. It also intends to begin the exportation of household items to all African countries and beyond.”

Folashade was not transformed by her beauty, but by her brain. She is talented. But, her talents could only be harvested, following the opportunity offered to her by her beloved husband. Folashade embraced the opportunity and challenge to excel. She displayed an uncanny business acumen, loyalty, humility, capacity for learning, resilience, patience and resolve to succeed. While her education prepared her for the future, the virtue of ‘Omoluabi’ had sustained her as a factor in the Okoya family.

She is conscious of her marital roots, her husband being a household name in Nigeria. She has therefore, to the delight of all, avoided scandals that could tarnish her name and the reputation of of her illustrious husband, Akanni Okoya, Member of the Order of Niger( MON), Bobajiro of Oke Ona Egba, Aare Babalaje of Ajiranland  and Ogbeni Oja of Epeland.

Eleganza workers described her as a firm, effective and thorough manager. Others said she is compassionate, adding that she often pays attention to the human side of the enterprise.

But, despite her work schedules,  she has always maintained a balance between the demand of office and home.

“She is an intelligent and hardworking wife and mother for whom her busy schedules have not led to the neglect of being a parent and also her responsibility to domestic obligations.

“She has built a commendable bridge of good relationships, not just with her family, but also across the society. This is exemplified in her being bestowed with awards,” said an employee.

Another worker in her factory said:”She has successfully run the Eleganza Industrial City Limited, despite the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic.”

A highly fashionable and sociable woman, she is a philanthropist like her husband. She also accords importance to staff welfare. She is said to be generous to her workers.

Notable monarchs have conferred on her honorary chieftaincy titles. Folashade is the Otun Aare Iyalaje of Ajiranland and Ajisewa of Oke Ona Egba. She is also the patron of Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria(FADAN).

Folashade is a recipient of many awards. These include Style Personality of the Year 2012 by the Glams ‘n’ Essence, Eminence Role Model Award 2010, Honorary Doctor of Science in Business Management and Corporate Leadership by European American University,  2014, and Lifetime Achievement Merit Award by the International Centre for Comparative Leadership for African Blacks in Diaspora, 2015.


Source: The Nation News

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