Razak Okoya

Razak Okoya with his signature smile
Photo source: the elite blog. Audio after first paragraph is musician King Sunny Ade’s 1985 famous praise singing of Okoya

Razak Okoya is an Industrialist, and famous manufacturer of household utensils. From apprentiship he rose to become a billionaire. Born in 1940, Okoya did not pursue formal education beyond the elementary which he acquired at Ansar-un-deen School, Oke Popo, Lagos. He chose business over white collar jobs when he observed in his impressionable years, the variance between his teachers, often in worn and shabby clothes, and the well-dressed businessmen of Dosunmu Street, which was at the time, the heart of business in Lagos. He drew inspiration from his businessman father too, who made clothes and bicycle seats, and whose list of patrons included the affluent Odumegwu Ojukwu.

Since the time Okoya was mending clothes at his father’s workshop, he had dreamed of importing tailoring materials from the overseas, and he saved money towards it. When his mother helped with some money, he started importing clothing materials. As his business grew he started making Jewelleries and buttons, he also began to import shoes. When his Italian partners disappointed him, he started making shoes. Later, he ventured into making coolers, which he became most popular with. In old age, he found pleasure in real estate. Okoya’s Eleganza Group was at its heights, one of the biggest homegrown conglomerates in Nigeria.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer