•The Story Of Chief Mrs. IBILOLA SOLAJA @ 66
Within South-West Social and Business Circle, there is no rich Business Tycoon who doesn’t know Madam Jumlar, the rice merchant. Her name is Chief Mrs Ibilola Solaja but her nick name surely rings a bell. She is one of the biggest rice merchants in the South-West. Even rich Nigerian men envy her business acumen and status.
While many call her Madam Jumlar, some have given her a new name which is “Dangote Obinrin”, a name which she must have earned from her enormous wealth and philanthropy. Many love to see her at their party but she only attends few that are important. This is why many love to take pictures with her to show that they know Dangote Obinrin.
Of course every Nigerian be it poor or rich knows what Dangote’s name stands for. It stands for “Wealth and it’s also Status symbol”. Dangote is the richest man in Africa and being called Dangote Obinrin means a lot to other rich Society Women.
Understandably, many say it is not contestable as her status and wealth shows she is fit to be addressed as such but the name became so pronounced again when she stepped out at Ijebu Billionaire, Otunba Laide Sabaliu Fowosere’s Wife, Oh Baby’s daughter’s wedding in Lagos.
The wedding paraded over 200 super rich society women of class, timber and caliber. The 2days fairytale wedding started with a special “ Mothers Night” while a grand reception later took place at Federal Palace Hotel in Ikeja.
She was cynosure of all eyes in a white gown at the mothers night as she was called to give the couple the tips to having a good marriage. The high point of the event was when she was called by the MC to pray for the couple. Many of the mothers at the event shouted, “Dangote Obinrin” and started clapping. Many of those addressing her as Dangote Obinrin are super rich themselves.
Not many knew that she is very close to the Fowoseres until during the wedding. Not only are the Fowoseres from Ijebu-Igbo, Alhaja Jumlar is Aunty to Otunba Laide Fowosere.
She was one of the early callers at the wedding and came with her large guests. How did she get the name “Dangote Obinrin”? What has brought her this far? How did she learn about the rudiments of business knowing that she was formally working with presidency? City People Asked her immediately she walked in at few minutes past 1pm.
How did she get the name Dangote Obinrin she was asked? Well, I can’t even say. I just noticed that people started calling me the name. Even your publisher(Seye Kehinde) calls me by that name. (She laughs). I just return all God glory to God. In fact, I am always amazed seeing how far God has brought me. Now, the only thing I do most is helping people. I give back to the society. I am going to be 70 in the next few years. I am 66 now and I want to say Thank you God for all you have done for me.”
The stylish society woman who pays attention to details stood out in the 2 aso-ebi that were picked. She stood tall among other rich women.
What is the secret of her age less look? “It is God. It is his grace that has brought me this far. I do only little exercise but grace has brought me this far. That is why whenever I see female entrepreneurs who work so hard, I always admire them.and pray to God to show mercy unto them just like he did unto me. It is only grace that makes wealth. Only God and not human. Till date at close to 70, I work so hard and people ask me if I am just few years to 70. This is me, I love to work hard “.
The stylish society woman wasn’t let off the hook until she was asked how fashion started for her? “Well, I won’t say I started my life being so fashionable. Do you know why? This is because I was working with the presidency and I retired as a superintendent . During those 16years at the presidency, I worked so hard. There was no time for myself but when I retired, I had all my time to myself. So I just had more time now than before”, she said.
Where were she born? She was asked. I am an Ijebu Igbo woman. I love my town so much that I intend to retire there when I am 70 to serve my people. I was born at Ijebu Igbo. I grew up in Ijebu-Igbo then I left for my education then came back to work with my father who was a Cocoa and palm kennel farmer. I leant all the rudiments of trading from him for many years before I decided to be on my own. Do you even know I still work so hard? She revealed.
In case you don’t know, let us gist you full about Mrs Ibilola Solaja, a successful businesswoman. She is one of the biggest rice merchants in Nigeria and the Iya Oloja at Dalekan Rice Market. She was born on August 13, 1955 to the family of the late Chief & Mrs. S. S. Banjo in Ijebu Igbo and she started her Primary education at Amutebu in Ijebu Igbo and finally obtained her 1st School Leaving Certificate at Saint Saviour Primary School, Ikenne in the year 1967. She started her secondary education at Girls Grammar School, Ijebu Igbo, and later proceeded to Mayflower College, Ikenne to complete her studies where she obtained her West African School Certificate in the year 1971. Later, she proceeded to Ushi Ekiti Teachers Training College, Ushi Ekiti in the former Ondo State now Ekiti State in the year 1974. She briefly worked at Macjob Commercial College Ibara, Abeokuta as a Teacher and later joined the Presidency in August, 1978.
While in the Presidency, she was trained as an Intelligence Personnel. She attended various surveillance and intelligence courses overseas and came back to attain the level of a top officer. She served for 19 years as an Intelligence Officer before she retired in August, 1994.
After her retirement, she started a trading business under a registered name of Jumlar Nigeria Limited and has since been in the business of importation and distribution of Rice, Vegetable Oil, Sugar and Cement with a network throughout Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory. She has successfully managed the business over the years and has given birth to several other businesses that cut across Oil sector, Construction and Farming.
In 2005, she travelled to Jerusalem to celebrate her golden jubilee, there she was honoured with
Justice of Peace (JP). Also in 2009, she travelled again to the holy city and was honoured as an Ambassador of Peace.
In addition to her business career, she attended several management courses, home and abroad in order to acquire more management skills. She has several awards to her credit, many in her business and from churches, among which are, the Iyalode of Emmanuel Church, Ijebu Igbo, the Olori Oniresi of Daleko Market, the Yeye Oba of Ofa Kingdom, and the Ajitowoba of the Ishan Kingdom in Ishan, Ekiti State. She is blessed with children among who are, a present member of Ogun State House Assembly in the person of Bowale Olayinka Solaja and Ms Olajumoke Solaja.
– Abiola Orisile