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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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    Happy International Woman’s Day

    When I was younger, I saw big business moguls of that time who had only girls as kids hustling by all means to get a male child who would be the heir of the business conglomerate they ran.

    The hustle for a male child was so intense and was either by hook or crook, and one of the means they explored was marrying a second wife, who in most cases was their side chick, so the status was converted from side chick to second wife so as to experience the joy of having a male child who would be groomed to take over the vast family business empire.

    In that era, boys are good to be groomed to take over the family business.

    The girl child was good only for the kitchen and marriage.

    The late Austin Ilodibe, known as Ekenedilichukwu, was the biggest transporter of his generation.

    Nobody else comes close.

    He was also one of the richest of his generation.

    But he did have one male child at a time.

    His first wife gave birth to only girls.

    He was a knight of the Catholic Church as well, and the Catholic Church forbids knights of the Church from marrying second wives, but you can keep them as side chicks.

    Sir Ilodibe damned the church and their laws.

    Not only did he violate Catholic Church laws, he married his second wife; he also married his third, and the last two gave him the desired male child he desperately wanted.

    But this mindset is no longer the same today as it was when I was growing up.

    The big business moguls of this time who run big conglomerates are giving and grooming their first child regardless of the gender opportunity to join and run the family business regardless of the gender or the fact that they might be married to another man.

    Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, is taking the lead in this initiative.

    Dangote does not have a son.

    He has three daughters, Halima, Fatima, and Mariya.

    They are all married, and they work for the family business and the conglomerate known as Dangote Group.

    Halima works closely with her dad and is being groomed to take over the reins of leadership at Dangote Group when Aliko retires from active business.

    She follows her dad around and serves as her PA.

    I met the two of them together during Wigwe’s tribute at the Eko hotel on Monday.

    It does not matter that Halima is a woman.

    What matters is that she is enough.

    The same is true of Tony Elumelu

    His first child, Oge, is being groomed to take over from him and his vast business conglomerate, which includes Transcorp Power, Transcorp Hotel, and UBA, when he retires from active business.

    The same is true with billionaire businessmen and the founder and chairman of Peace Group, Dr. Samuel Maduka Onyishi, MON with subsidiaries like Peace Mass Transit, Peace Micro Finance Bank, Peace Logistics, and Maduka University Enugu.

    The first child, Judith, is a female business leader who is understudying her dad and very influential in the wider family business conglomerate.

    She is currently in charge of Peace Micro Finance Abuja, where she serves as the MD of the bank and has repositioned the bank in a way that the bank has not had it this good since her dad established it.

    In 1993, Ladi Jadesimi established what is known as the Aradel Group today.

    Arable plays in the energy sector, and they are one of the biggest oil and gas companies in Nigeria.

    Aradel has four oil wells in Lagos and outside Lagos.

    OML 54

    OML 53

    OML 34

    OPL 57

    Aradel Holdings, Jade’s company, operates all of these oil well assets.

    They owned the biggest modular refinery in Nigeria, known as Aradel Refineries.

    Their refinery has the capacity to produce 11,000 barrels of crude oil daily and is currently in operation.

    Aradel refinery has its own oil well servicing the refinery, and this is why their refinery is one of the few refineries that runs at full capacity.

    And then

    Aradel owns Ladol, a free trade zone in Lagos.

    We have two free trade zones in Lagos.

    Ladol and the free trade zone where Dangote built his refinery

    Ladi Jadesimi is a wealthy man in naira and dollars, but for all his vast wealth, he is grooming his daughter Amy to take over from him.

    Ladi has two daughters, and that is enough.

    These businessmen mentioned here are not outliers; there are many other businessmen who are not in the mainstream; they are in the background and are quietly grooming their daughters to take over their large business empire, even when they have younger sons like Tony Elemelu, but rather they choose their female daughter, defiling that age-long societal expectation that women are only good for sex, the kitchen, and marriage.

    It was Igbo people who said

    Nwanyi bu ife,” which means women of substance.

    Nigerian women have come of age; they have shattered so many glass ceilings to be here; it was not served on a platter, and it is so beautiful to watch.

    Today is International Women’s Day, so I salute women who are flying the flag in the corporate world.

    Women are business leaders and generals on the battle field who are leading troops to push for new frontiers, for new boundaries, and for new territories.

    The world sees you.

    The world appreciates you.

    Today is for you and for the other women who are the breadwinners in their homes.

    Women who provide without much fuss and drama

    So today, and every day,I say happy International Women’s Day to all Nigerian women celebrating today.

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