The unusual achiever: Ibukunoluwa Awosika

It is a great delight for Nigerian Newsnow to showcase to you our woman of the week, a lady par excellence, one who has been able to prove that pure success is achievable, a woman of unbroken focus in life, family, and career. It is our great pleasure to bring to you the current Chairman of the First Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Ibukunoluwa Awosika.

Family and Background

Ibukunoluwa Abiodun Awosika, 57, is not from a rich family as some may think; however, she’s not from a poor one as well. By and large, she is someone who demonstrates the virtues of courage and strength. In her own words, she said, “I come from a place where there are opportunities staring you in the eye, but it’s looking for the people who have the heart and the courage to do it and do it right”

Ibukun was born into a Muslim family, but as events unfolded she became converted to Christianity. She, in recent preaching, recounted the several events that also led to his father’s conversion from Islam into Christianity. According to her, she was from a family with no mean faith in Islam as her paternal lineage had a long-standing history of being Islamic clerics.

Ibukunoluwa Awosika’s Career

Ibukun attended Methodist Girls’ High School for her secondary school education before proceeding to the then University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) where she studied Chemistry.

She moved on in her educational pursuit and is now an alumna of the Chief Executive Programme of Lagos Business School; the Global Executive MBA of IESE Business School, Barcelona-Spain; and Global CEO Programme of Wharton, IESE and C.E.I.B.S Business Schools.

Ibukunoluwa Awosika’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

One would wonder how someone who studied Chemistry became the Chairman of one of the leading national banks. Well, that is to show that no height is unattainable if you dare make the requisite efforts.

Ibukun is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Chair Centre Group. The companies within the group include the Chair Centre Limited, Sokoa Chair Centre Limited, Furniture Manufacturers Mart, TCC Security Systems and Cubes and Boxes Limited. These companies are involved in manufacturing, retail, and bank-way security systems services.

Other leadership roles of Ibukunoluwa Awosika

Ibukun presides over a number of corporate and not-for-profit boards, some of which are: House of Tara International and Afterschool Graduate Development Centre (AGDC), an outfit that she promoted to help address youth employability and enterprise issues in Nigeria. She also sits on the boards of many high-ranking organizations such as Digital Jewel Limited, Cadbury Nigeria Plc., Convention on Business Integrity (CBI), and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority. She was Chairman, FBN Life Assurance Limited, FBN Capital Limited, and Kakawa Discount House Limited.

Ibukunoluwa’s Awards

This entrepreneur and also a leader, has earned several awards. Some of them include:

  • being the first Nigerian recipient of the prestigious International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Award as a nominee of the US Department of State in 2008.
  • nominee for the 2005 THISDAY Newspaper Annual Merit AwardEntrepreneur of The Year
  • nominee for Success Digests Magazine’s Annual Enterprise AwardFemale Entrepreneur of the Year
  • nominee for the 2006 Financial Standard and Pan-African Organisation for Women Recognition Best Female Entrepreneur of The Year
  • won the FATE Foundation Awards FATE Model Entrepreneur Award of The Year
  • won the 2007 International Women Society Award Golden Heart Award
  • won the 2008 International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge Award
  • nominee for the 2015 YNaija Person of The Year
  • won the 2020 Africa Forbes Woman Awards 2020 Forbes Woman Africa Chairperson Award.

Despite all these, Ibukun does not believe she’s reached her peak, for she keeps striving to be a better person.

Ibukun Awosika’s Unusual Missionary and Social Passion

Ibukun’s faith is far from being nominal. Rather, she is radical in her love and pursuit of God. In fact, she is an ordained Pastor and founder of the Christian Missionary Fund, a faith-based organization through which she works with hundreds of missionaries spread across Nigeria to change lives with the provision of medical, educational, and other supplies. She is also a co-founder and past chairperson of Women in Business, Management, and Public Service (WIMBIZ).

As a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative, Aspen Global Leadership Network, Institute of Directors, and Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria, this entrepreneur giant seeks to use her opportunities in life to further the greatness of her dear country by raising entrepreneurs to create jobs for the teeming unemployed youthful population. She is a member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), served on National Job Creation Committee (NJCC), and sits on the International Advisory Board of IESE Business School, Barcelona-Spain.

Ibukunoluwa’s Radical Faith

It might interest you to know that, according to Ibukun’s own preaching, she takes the word of God as it is. In her own words, immediately after assuming office as the Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, she prayed round and anointed the company, asking God to take over its chairmanship. She said she literally stepped aside for God to take over the affairs of leadership. She had also said that she had a team of prayer partners with whom she does spiritual warfare. In Ibukun’s own view, she doesn’t just allow anybody to speak into her life, as she unraveled her spiritual mentor to be Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, Senior Pastor of Fountain of Life Bible Church.

Ibukun’s Marriage and Hobbies

She loves to watch investigative and legal series in her leisure time. She is happily married to Abiodun Awosika and they are blessed with three sons. Ibukun’s life passion is to become all that God wants her to be. Her story is an example that one can thrive in a successfully blending career with faith. She frowns at anyone wanting to compromise their faith because of what they are aspiring for.

References to Ibukunoluwa Awosika

  • Sunday Michael (11 September 2015). “As Ibukun Awosika scores another first for women in Nigeria”. Daily Trust Nigeria. Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  • Ajagu, Ausbeth (2005). The Entrepreneur. Betcy Media. ISBN 978-978-067-168-6. “Ibukun Awosika –Entrepreneur Par Excellence”. FinIntell. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  • “I live on the plane – Ibukun Awosika”. The Punch Newspaper. 13 March 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  • “Nobody Realized That We Were A Tiny, Little Dot” – Ibukun Awosika On How She Used The Little She Had To Build The Successful Business She Wanted”. Woman.NG. 5 April 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  • “Ibukun Awosika Founder and CEO of The Chair Centre Group and the Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria and Imperial Gate School, Lekki”. enterprise network. March 21, 2019.[dead link]
  • “I live on the plane – Ibukun Awosika”. Punch. 13 March 2016.
  • Anugwara, Boldwin (4 July 2013). “Ibukun Awosika: Imparting youths for employment”. Newswatch Times. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  • Sotubo, Jola (10 September 2015). “Ibukun Awosika: 3 reasons why her appointment as First Bank Chair is epic”. Pulse Nigeria. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  • Olapoju, Kolapo (7 September 2015). “Ibukun Awosika becomes the first female chairman of First Bank”. YNaija. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  • Members of IESE’s International Advisory Board, iese.edu
  • “I live on the plane – Ibukun Awosika”. Punch Newspapers. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  • Okafor, Lovelyn (9 September 2015). “Ibukun Awosika- The New Face of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings (FBNH)”. Konnect Africa. Retrieved 2 March 2016

Ibukunoluwa Awosika can be reached on her website: www.ibukunawosika.org, as well as on social media platforms such as Facebook, IG, and Twitter: @ibukunawosika.

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