Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo biography
Chief Abdul wahab Iyanda “Wahab” Folawiyo, CON was a Nigerian businessman and philanthropist.
Full Name: Abdulwahab Iyanda Folawiyo
Born: 16 June 1928
Birth place: Lagos, Nigeria
Died: 6 June 2008 (aged 80)
Alma mater: University of North London
Famous as: Founder, Yinka Folawiyo Group Nigeria Limited
Spouse(s): Princess Abbah Folawiyo
Children: Tunde Folawiyo(son)
Relatives: Lisa Folawiyo(daughter-in-law)
Early childhood and educational career
wahab Iyanda Folawiyo was born in Lagos to Pa Tijani, a wealthy local merchant, during the British colonial era.
wahab Iyanda Folawiyo attended the University of North London in 1951, where he read Management, specialising in Ship Brokerage.
He returned to start Yinka Folawiyo & Sons, an import and export business. Folawiyo was also the first African-descended Principal Member of the Baltic Exchange in London.
wahab Iyanda Folawiyo founded Yinka Folawiyo & Sons, which has become the parent company of the Yinka Folawiyo Group of Companies.
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Yinka Folawiyo and Sons
wahab Iyanda Folawiyo established Yinka Folawiyo and Sons was founded in 1957, a business that later grew to have interest in various sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Initially, Folawiyo and Sons developed relationships with building and construction material firms in various Eastern European countries.
The group imported cement and sugar from the former Soviet Union, then later introduced building materials from Romania and Bulgaria into the Nigerian market.
In 1967, the firm was incorporated as a limited liability company. When Folawiyo and Sons’ revenues increased, the firm began chartering vessels to bring in commodities including cement, building materials, frozen fish and fertilizer.
Green Lines Shipping Company
To provide logistics support for the firm’s trading operations, the group established Maritime Associates (International) as a vessel chartering, clearing and forwarding company.
The company was later invited to bid for shipment of agricultural produce from Nigeria to Europe.
In 1972, the group established Green Lines shipping company when demand for chartering of ocean liners increased. M.V. Ahmadu Tijani, a 10,826 dead-weight ton carrier was purchased in 1973 as the first ocean liner.
By 1980, the firm owned six vessels and had joined the UK/West Africa Lines Joint Service and the Continental West Africa Conference.
In the 1970s, regular service was provided between Hamburg/Antwerp and Lagos. The firm later acquired M.V. Bello Folawiyo and M.V. Yinka Folawiyo in the mid 1980s.
Other business operations
Trans-Atlantic International Ligtherage was established in the 1970s, it operated within the Lagos Port Complex providing ligtherage service with the use of pontoons and barges.
In 1971, the United Property Development Company was founded as a real estate investment vehicle.
The Nigerian Spanish Cement Company was founded as a bulk cement bagging operation with its own deep water berth.
The firm also invested in farming projects across the country including a rice farm in Rivers State which was established as a cooperation between the group and the Rivers State government.
The firm also owned farm estates in Oyo involved in livestock and cultivation of fruits.
In 1982, the group incorporated a natural energy company to focus on gas recovery and gasoline sales.
In 1999, Yinka Folawiyo Power, a subsidiary of the group entered into a partnership with Enron for the development of an independent Power Project.
This was the first privately funded power project in Nigeria since the country’s independence and after legislation liberalized the sector in 1998.
The 270 MW plant became operational in 2001, by then Enron had sold its remaining equity to AES and the Folawiyo Group.
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As a philanthropist, Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo was active in several social and religious (particularly Muslim) endeavors.
wahab Iyanda Folawiyo funded the establishment and construction of mosques throughout the country, including both the Lagos Central and Surulere Central mosques in Lagos and the Sultan Bello Mosque in Kaduna.
wahab Iyanda Folawiyo also funded the Bab Es Salam Home for orphans in Lagos.
In sports, he was the sole philanthropist of the Yinka Folawiyo U 15 Athletics Championships and the National Amateur Wrestling Championships.
In education, he endowed the professorial chair in Physics at the University of Lagos, and contributed to virus research at the University of Ibadan.
wahab Iyanda Folawiyo, in June 1998, also became the first private individual to put together a physical structure at the University of Lagos when he upgraded the University’s Health Centre to a full-fledged hospital complete with an X-ray Unit.
Wahab Folawiyo Death
wahab Iyanda Folawiyo died in the early hours of June 6, 2008, at his residence in Queens Drive, Ikoyi, Lagos, at the age of 79 surrounded by his family; he was to have celebrated his 80th birthday on June 16.
wahab Iyanda Folawiyo was buried, by Muslim dictates, on the same day (at 4:45 p.m.) in the Central Mosques’ burial ground meant for imams of the mosque; only two other people besides Folawiyo, Imam Ibrahim Otun and Imam Murah, are buried in the cemetery.
Awards and recognitions
Doctor of Law by the University of Cross River State, Uyo, 1991
Doctor of Letters by Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, 1992
Doctor of Science by the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos, 1998
key to Dade County, Florida, in the U.S.
Millennium Award of Doctor of Science, University of Lagos
Titles and honours
Baba Adini of Nigeria, a chieftaincy title
Grand Patron of Nigerian Muslim Council
Chairman, Executive Council of the Lagos Central Mosque
Honorary Fellow, Chartered Institute of Transport
Fellow of the Commonwealth Journalists Association
Chairman, Maize Association of Nigeria and PatronInstitute of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria
Order of Federal Republic, OFR, conferred on him in 1982
Commander of the Order of the Niger, CON, on Nov. 16, 2000.
Chancellor, Lagos State University on April 17, 1999.
Patron of the Nigerian British Chamber of Commerce.