Foremost industrialist and seasoned entrepreneur, Chief Rasaq Akanni Okoya, has created a good name for himself and family and sustained that good name. I admire and respect him because of the way and manner he built his business empire from scratch and for his good name. Today, he sits atop one of the biggest indigenous conglomerates in Nigeria.
His entrepreneurial success story is born of hard work, creativity and the can-do-spirit of many a Nigerian. Just like me who also received tutelage in business and politics from my late mum, Alhaja Mogaji, Chief Okoya started the business with a grant of 50 pounds from his mum.
From that lowly level, he created and grew the Eleganza Group to the enviable height it has attained. Today, the group has over 6 factories and a continental market, which spreads across Western Africa. Eleganza products are household names across our continent. Chief Okoya once told a story of how he paid a large amount of money to import shoes from a big manufacturer in Italy.
The consignment of shoes he ordered did not arrive as previously arranged prompting him to travel to Italy only to discover his money had been used to settle debts by the manufacturer. Chief Okoya was so enraged that in Italy he decided to import shoe-making machines and returned to Nigeria with some experts in that sector.
That was how he stopped importing shoes and became a manufacturer of shoes himself. His firm’s shoes were comparable with those made elsewhere.
This is the kind of story of determination, of hard work and of resilience that I wholeheartedly recommend to our younger ones.
Chief Okoya is a shining example of excellence in business and in private life and a model for our young people demonstrating to them that they can also rise to any level if they remain focused and hard working.
He succinctly put the driving force behind his success in an interview with a national newspaper thus: “My main motivation in life was that I wanted to be rich and I knew I had to work very hard to get there.”
Chief Okoya is truly where he wished to be. He has recorded great achievements. Despite his success, he remains humble and down to heart. He is my good ‘egbon’. I started hearing about him and his amazing industry from a tender age. Our relationship, however, blossomed when I was elected Governor in 1999. He was always available to render advice and wise counsel to me. He has always been a keen supporter of my vision and mission in politics for which I remain grateful to him.
As Aare of Lagos, he is a firm believer in the importance of traditional institutions in modern societies and has played his part well as a high chief in Lagos. Chief Okoya has also contributed his quota to the development of Lagos and remains a major stakeholder in the state. My fervent prayer for him at 80 is that God grant him more years, sound health and renewed energy to continue in the service of our people and humanity.
– Asiwaju Bola Tinubu