Vanguard awards

March 8, 2024

Vanguard Personality of the Year: Victoria Samson, Humanitarian as oil & gas guru

Vanguard Personality of the Year: Victoria Samson, Humanitarian as oil & gas guru

By Morenike Taire

The nearly 200 Bovas petrol stations spread across the country, particularly the SouthWest, have ensured BOVAS is a household name. 

Outside the oil and gas industry, few are aware that the behemoth was built by a woman, who has earned as much regard as any man in the industry. 

This amazon is none other than Dr Victoria Adunola Samson who, at 74, remains the Managing Director of the conglomerate. 

She birthed BOVAS in 1980, when it started operations as an indigenous independent petroleum marketing company. 

It wasn’t until 1991 that BOVAS Group opened its first service station in Osogbo, Osun State. 

Dr Samson was born to a great family of Iree origin in Boripe Local Government Area, Osun State, on December 5, 1949. She was educated at Ilesa Grammar School where she imbibed the tradition of being God-fearing and focused. 

Before the birth of BOVAS, Samson had started operations with the Texaco Petroleum Franchise of Texaco Nigeria Plc. She emerged as the first Nigerian to win the highly competitive Texaco Latin America and West Africa, LAWA, Award for Best Overall Dealer in 1990. 

From this pedestal, the BOVAS business group employs over 1,500 Nigerians full-time, as of today. 

Dr. (Mrs). Samson led the company to build a 22,000 metric tonnes capacity storage facility for white petroleum products at Kirikiri, Lagos, and acquired another 40,OOO metric tonnes capacity storage facility at Ibafon, Apapa, Lagos State, both with the capacity to load over 10m litres of products daily at full capacity. 

Her prowess helped the company build a lubricant plant of 40m litres per annum of different lubricant grades, among other massive infrastructure. 

Mama BOVAS, as she is fondly and very famously nicknamed, became popular in the thick of the country’s dark moments, when all kinds of vices by dispensers of petroleum products became the norm due to perennial scarcity of fuels such as gasoline, kerosine, diesel and cooking gas. 

It became well-known that BOVAS service stations, wherever they are to be found in any part of the country, would never engage in the inflation of prices, hoarding of petroleum products in order to create false scarcity with a view to inflating prices, or poor services. 

In addition, it also became well-known that BOVAS trucks plying the country’s roads are well maintained, in good condition and driven by well trained drivers. Curiosity led stakeholders to dig into the secrets of the brand, and found that its exceptional corporate culture was no accident, but rather, the deliberate reflection of Samson’s integrity, empathy, professionalism, principle and unflinching courage. 

Indeed she faced many villains in the industry headlong by keeping prices at official levels, but seems to be protected by providence. 

She has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees by many universities, such as Ladoke Akintola University, LAUTECH; Joseph Ayo Babalola University, JABU; Osun State University, UNIOSUN; and she holds a Professional Diploma in Marketing. She is an alumnus of Harvard University Business School, Lagos Business School Chief Executive Programme and IESE Barcelona, Spain. 

Samson is a member of the Institute of Directors (100) Nigeria, a holder of many Rotary Paul Harris Fellowships and a matron of various social and charitable organisations. 

She also holds the Nigeria Presidential Award, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC; Group Managing Director, GMD, award for Excellence; the Excellence Performance Award of Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPMC, multiple times. 

Various national organisations have also recognised her including the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC; Nigerian Police Force, NPF; Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU; Nigerian Medical Association, NMA; Nigerian Army, University of Ibadan, Federal University of Technology, Ado Ekiti, Oyo State College of Agriculture, Igbo-Ora and various other universities. 

She is the Ambassador of Peace of the International Youth Reformation Organisation, Nigeria, and the International Peace Youth Group, South Korea. A silent philanthropist, Victoria Samson via the BOVAS Foundation has given away no less than 400 million naira worth of materials spanning COVID 19 palliatives, breast cancer awareness, university projects and support for the University College Hospital, UCH in Ibadan, where BOVAS is headquartered. 

She is married to Arc. Bamidele O. Samson. Their union is blessed with children and grandchildren.