Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Folorunsho Alakija and Oprah Winfrey : Questions of Business Trajectory, Life Skills and National Economy. Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju



Nigeria's Mrs Folorunsho Alakija  is being described in some fora as the richest Black woman in the world, replacing US talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

Alakija (Right of Pic with Goodluck Jonathan) got an Oil Block Gift from former Nigerian Dictator General Babangida

Is there a story in how  this level of wealth was achieved  that I and people all over the world can apply to ourselves, that can inspire us in our struggles for success?

Are there skills Alakija exemplifies that one can emulate or develop?

Can one realistically try to adapt  her story in one's own life to a greater or lesser degree? 

Are there points in the story that have universal value as pointers to how to succeed, perhaps in almost any environment?

From my little knowledge of Oprah, I know she knows how to talk. 

She is a show-woman, a woman who creates a  sense of theatre. 

Her show seems to have been made popular by its confessional angle, where people bared their lives. 

I also understand that she integrated  a self help philosophy  into the show along with book readings. 

I also know that she describes herself as  practicing  public speaking with animals  when she was young. 

I have, therefore, learnt from Oprah Winfrey, key qualities of human relationships,-the value of communication, of getting people to share their emotions and delicate experiences, the value of inspiring ideas, perhaps introduced through books, all these qualities being particularly powerful when  communicated through a charismatic figure. 

I know that these qualities are relevant in various aspects  of life. 

I would appreciate a summative  history of Alakija along similar lines.

I was struck by the description of her channeling of her education in  couture  into amassing a fortune in that business.

I was  struck  by the description of  the greater body of her  wealth coming  through owning  an oil block.

Does it suggests  a replication of the national dependence on oil rather than on a more diversified economy that engages significantly on creation and not only on extraction?

I realise  that achieving Oprah's kind of success in her line of work is less likely in Nigeria  where the economy might not be that expansive. 

I am hungrily looking for Nigerian inventors and investors in  mechanical manufacturing, not only in vehicle assembly.

I am hungrily looking for investors in Nigeria taking advantage of the skills of very young people  and older people who are fabricators and inventors, even though they might not be formally  educated to a high or even to any level.

I am looking for the Nigerian  equivalent  of the US's  Orville and Wilbur Wright, men without a university degree whose starting line of business was bicycle manufacturing, but who built and flew the plane they used for the world's first successful manned flight on that great day in Kitty Hawk. 

Inventors in information technology, not only in setting up networks using systems created in the West and Asia. 

Inventors of new software,  not only  utilising  existing software from the current centres of the global software industry.  

I am looking for visionary entrepreneurs and investors  who are  ready to commit themselves  to the development of a new  Nigerian and African economy that is fully active in both the Industrial and   Information Age.

In other words, I hungrily seek an expansion in Nigeria and Africa, of the  space for achievement in business, in wealth creation, beyond existing prominent products and services represented by consumables and even service industries,  within which, in my layperson's mind, I  include  banking, valuable as all these are, but in terms of industries centred in the creation of new understandings and shapings of nature and the creation of new products.