- Alakija also thinks it’s an insult to womanhood when all the men who secured oil wells and oil contracts aren’t told that they owe it to someone in the corridors of power, while she is often reminded that the late Mrs Babangida handed her an oil well on a platter.
Billionaire businesswoman and Vice Chairman of Famfa Oil, Mrs Folorunso Alakija, in an interview with AriseTV has revealed how she got an oil well.
Alakija, a philanthropist and businesswoman who is now worth more than $1 billion, got her big break in the lucrative oil and gas industry during Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida’s (IBB) eight-year reign as Nigeria’s military ruler between 1985 and 1993.
According to Alakija, she said it often breaks her heart when people say and write that she got her oil well in the ’90s simply because she was First Lady Maryam Babangida’s tailor.
She tells AriseTV that even though Mrs Babangida, who was one of her high profile clients, got her access and secured her an appointment with the Petroleum Minister, the rest was God’s plan for her life coming to fruition.
She says a foreigner friend wanted her to help with speaking to Mrs Babangida over an oil deal, while on a trip from London to Lagos.
However, at the time, Nigeria’s rulership was more inclined to handing out oil and gas contracts to Nigerians, with the concept of “local content” beginning to take a firm root in the oil industry.
After her foreign friend was denied an inroad into Nigeria’s oil and gas minefield by the powers that be, Alakija says she thought long and hard about it all and asked herself how she could secure a contract for herself and diversify her streams of income, because she was only a stylist at the time.
“It took me 3 years and several appointments with different petroleum ministers after Mrs Babangida dropped my name, for me to finally get the oil bloc.
“I was first offered the job of a caterer for oil workers, among other lowly jobs in the oil and gas sector.
“That is why one of my favourite mantras is never take ‘No’ for an answer. God closed the eyes of everyone else to that oil well. No one wanted that oil well because it was so expensive to drill, but God gave it to me,” she says with a laugh.
Alakija also thinks it’s an insult to womanhood when all the men who secured oil wells and oil contracts aren’t told that they owe it to someone in the corridors of power, while she is often reminded that the late Mrs Babangida handed her an oil well on a platter.
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