“I Have Been Boss To A Number Of Men Who Tell Me: “I Have A Woman Like You At Home!”, But I Let Them Know That I Am Not The Woman In Their Houses” – The Woman Of Many Great Firsts – Bola Kuforiji-Olubi Dies At 80



Bola Kuforiji-Olubi is described to be a woman of many firsts. She is the first female president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAN).

The late octogenarian, who died on Saturday, celebrated her 80th birthday less than two months ago.

She will be remembered as one of the Nigerian women who broke boundaries in spite of gender discrimination.

She was the first Nigerian female graduate of the Chartered Accountant of England and Wales, and the first female graduate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), before she was elected ICAN President in 1989, as the 25th president.

She was also the first Nigerian woman to become the Managing Director of an international company in Nigeria, VYB (Nigeria) Ltd in 1977.

She was the first female chairman of a public quoted company on the stock exchange (BEWAC Plc.), the holding company for VYB and its subsidiaries.

She received the National award of member of the Order of the Niger in 1979, for her contributions to management education and socio- economic Advancement of Nigeria.

She was conferred with the award of Order of the Niger (OON) in 2002, and awarded the certificate of Merit by the United Nations Decade of Woman in 1980.

She was also awarded for Excellence from the University of Benn’s Skonit Club in 1988 and given the International award of Excellence for outstanding entrepreneurial achievements, MIT, Cambridge, MA, United States. 1992.

She is a recipient of 2002 conferment award for Woman of achievements under the auspices of the Woman development centre, Abuja, 2005.

Kuforiji-Olubi is also the first female Chairman of United Bank for Africa (UBA).

She became the first Chairman of Ogun, Osun River basin development in 1976 and a foundation member and chairman, Lagos State Education endowment fund in 1988.

Otunba (Dr) Kuforiji-Olubi held many chieftaincy titles across Nigeria.

She was appointed the minister for commerce and tourism in the interim National government of Nigeria in 1983.

Born in September 1936, Bola Kuforiji started her career as a Grade two Teacher at Zawan Girls Catholic Primary School, Jos, where she rose to be headmistress at age 19.

She left her teaching job and proceeded to the University of London where she did her A Levels and also graduated with a degree in Economics in 1963.

In 1964, she became a fellow of British Chartered Institutes of Company Secretaries, ACIS.

In an interview with Vanguard, she said:

“Of course, over the years, I have suffered some gender discrimination. I have been told to my face by some organisations that they have no room for any woman! But I never allowed myself to be discouraged,”

“I have been boss to a number of men who tell me: “I have a woman like you at home!”, but I let them know that I am not the woman in their houses.”



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