By Benjamin Njoku
Chief Executive Officer of manufacturing giant, Eleganza Group, Folashade Okoya, has spoken on the role women have to play in the manufacturing industry in Nigeria.
Okoya, who has helmed the affairs of the company over the past decade with her husband, Chief Razak Okoya published an op-ed titled Nigeria’s Manufacturing Power Couple on the Future of Manufacturing in Nigeria, in the prestigious Forbes Africa magazine.
The article which featured in the prestigious Forbes Africa magazine examines the need for greater automation in the manufacturing processes as well as the trends that will influence the competitive Nigerian manufacturing sector in the next decade.
Folashade Okoya, who was also interviewed in the magazine, opined that women are very strong by nature even though they appear fragile by physical appearance, we can adapt to any situation irrespective of the challenges we face daily.
On the role of females in the manufacturing industry, she said; “Firstly, I think we need a program that promotes the role of women in manufacturing and this really should be initiated by the Nigerian government. The reform needs to start from the micro level and we need initiatives that will serve to mentor and recognize women while also leading research efforts tackling this important topic. Ultimately, to attract top female talent in manufacturing, there needs to be a way of showing the amazing opportunities the manufacturing industry has to offer.”
She further added that to bolster manufacturing attractiveness to women, it is important to set up more technical and tertiary institutions for women and celebrate more women in manufacturing regularly to bring awareness to more millennial women.
Presently, Mrs. Okoya is using her entrepreneurial drive to strengthen the goodwill of the organization and its corporate positioning in Nigeria. At a time when the manufacturing sector has been dominated by men because it was considered to be too challenging for women, she has used her entrepreneurial prowess to show the relevance of women in the sector.
The manufacturing industry is contributing nearly 13% of GDP to the Nigerian economy.
Folashade and her husband, Rasak are industrialists who have contributed greatly to this quota by transforming a small trading company into one of the largest conglomerates and indigenous manufacturers of household products in Nigeria, employing about 5000 people across Nigeria.