By Jumoke Damilola Olakunle
One of the most memorable sub-national administrations in Nigeria was the military regime of retired Gen. Buba Marwa in Lagos State. Not only was it known for its tough crackdowns on violent crimes, the regime is reputed to have kick-started what is today regarded as the country’s most efficient revenue generation template. At the heart of that success story was a young, brilliant financial expert from the famed Abibu Oki family of Lagos State and the Labisi Olugbesan clan of Ibadan: Alhaja Foluke Kafayat AbdulRazaq (FKA) who turns 65 today, April 16, 2021.
FKA, an acronym of her names by which friends and families fondly call her, was Lagos’s first and only female commissioner of Finance to date. The famed Lagos State Accelerated Revenue Generation Programme (ARGP) was formulated during her stint as the Finance Commissioner. She served between 1997 and 1999 when Nigeria reverted to civilian rule. A part of her tenure was spent as Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development. FKA’s great exploits in these key roles earned her the trophy as Lagos State Woman of Excellence Award in 1999.
Her appointment was preceded by a successful career in the banking sector, having worked at the defunct IBWA which metamorphosed into Afribank. She later worked at Credite Bank Nigeria Limited from which she was appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the National Deposit Insurance Company (NDIC) as the executive chairman of the Interim Management Board of the bank.
The ARGP success, now impressively built upon by successive Lagos administrations, is a product of strategic thinking, hard work, grit, and discipline with which friends and associates have credited the amazon.
FKA is a product of good education and mentorship — apart from being a chip off some remarkably great Lagos and Ibadan ancestries. Mrs Foluke Kafayat AbdulRazaq is an alumnus of the University of Ibadan from which she bagged a Master of Science (MSc) in Banking and Finance. Mrs. AbdulRazaq is also an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, among other executive courses she has attended.
A non-executive Director of the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) from 2008 to 2020, she was the chairman of the Bank’s Board Credit Committee as well as member of the Statutory Audit, Nominations and Governance committees till November 2019.
With a distinctive record of service in finance, banking, stockbroking, business and public office, FKA was in June 2020 appointed as Vice Chairman of Transcorp PLC, one of Nigeria’s largest diversified conglomerates.
Shortly after her stint in the Lagos cabinet, she took up an appointment with the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Limited, where she headed several departments, including Administration Management Services, Commercial and Corporate Development. She was also Executive Director, ML Securities Limited (1999 -2001), a stock brokerage firm.
She served on the board of Nigeria’s largest construction company, Julius Berger plc (1997-2000), as a Non-Executive Director and Vice-President, Bank Directors’ Association of Nigeria (BDAN), amongst others.
She is currently a member of the Governing Board of Lagos State University (LASU); a member of the Institute of Directors (IoD); Women Corporate Directors, Olave Baden- Powell Society; (OBPS) and Sarah-Adebisi Sosan Foundation.
FKA’s passion for children and education led to her founding the prestigious Bridge House College in Ikoyi, Lagos, in 2004. The Bridge House is an household upscale independent private sixth-form co-educational institution with the aim of bridging the gap for High School leavers to cross to universities of their choices all over the world. This role of moulding the next generation aligns with her childhood dream of ‘making impact in the lives of people around me and playing a vital role in raising the next generation.’
At 65, Alhaja is deeply involved in humanitarian and religious activities. She currently serves on the National Council of Executives of NASFAT and Board of Trustees of the Fountain University Oshogbo, among others, as her contributions to the Islamic faith community.
Fondly called FKA by her friends and admirers, Mrs. AbdulRazaq is happily married to Dr. Alimi AbdulRazaq, a distinguished lawyer and arbitrator, prominent politician and accomplished businessman from Ilorin. He is the first son of the revered Alhaji AGF AbdulRazaq, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Their near four-decade marriage is blessed with children and grandchildren. Here is to life more abundant to the amazon who continues to inspire the girlchild to greatness!
•Olakunle writes from Lagos