Bola Kuforiji-Olubi; Woman of Many Firsts

Traditional aristocrat, banker, and federal minister of commerce for Nigeria, Chief Bola Kuforiji-Olubi. She held the position of Otunba Ayora of Ijebu-Ode in addition to several other chieftaincy titles.

Both domestically and abroad, Kuforiji-Olubi served in a variety of positions. She was the first woman to serve as president of the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Accountants, holding the position for 25 years. During her tenure, she also introduced an Accounting Technicians Course.

In 1936, on September 28th, Bola Kuforiji-Olubi was born. At the University of London, Bola Kuforiji-Olubi earned a B. Sc. in Economics with honors in 1963. At Zawan Girls Catholic Primary School in Jos, Plateau State, where she began her career as a Grade 2(II) teacher, she was just 19 years old when she was named headmistress in 1955.

She later joined ICAN Nigeria in 1976, the British chartered institute of company secretaries (ACIS) in 1964, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants, England and Wales in 1977. She belonged to the British Institute of Directors as well as the Nigerian Institute of Management (FMIN).

She was the first woman in Nigeria to hold the positions of chairperson and CEO of a publicly traded firm, VYB Industries Limited, which has British affiliates (Inchcape plc) (Bewac Plc).

Numerous additional businesses had Kufuriji-Olubi as their board chair or another position. She served as the first Chairperson of the Osun River basin development from 1976 to 1980 and was a member of the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research’s (NISER) governing council (from 1981 to 1983).

She became the first woman to hold that position in southern Africa in 1984 when she was appointed chairman of United Bank for Africa Plc, a prestigious financial institution. She held the position until 1990. She then served as vice chair of the Nigerian National Conference on Foreign Policy (until 2000) and a member of the National Sport Commission (from 1986 to 1989).

She was appointed as the honorable secretary (or Minister) for commerce and tourism in the interim national government of Nigeria in 1983. She is a foundation member and the chair of the Lagos State Education endowment fund. She also served as the revenue mobilization’s deputy chair and honorary federal commissioner for Ogun State.

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