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FAB 40s



As a young woman, I gain so much inspiration from the Nigerian women who have paved the way. Not only are they successful in their chosen careers, they manage to successfully balance it with family life.
The big 4-0 is the arguably the most revered age for women – I know some of my friends in their twenties have already started dreading this milestone.
These women in various stages of their 40s show that there is no need to fret, instead there is a lot to look forward to.
Here are the FAB 40s

Nike Ogunlesi
Adenike Ogunlesi changed the clothing business in Nigeria. From a tiny shop with her and her mother as the main staff, Nike turned Ruff ‘n’ Tumble into an instantly recognizable brand. When banks wouldn’t loan her money to expand her business, she turned to family for support and they never regretted their decision to invest in Ruff ‘n’ Tumble. Nike turned a 150,000 naira initial investment into a multi-million naira business.
Despite her many commitments as a CEO, wife and mother, she makes a strong effort to share knowledge with young entrepreneurs. She featured in the Africa Open for Business documentary and was recognized as the FATE Foundation Model Entrepreneur in 2005. Nike is an excellent role model for young women who want to pursue the business of fashion.

Mo Abudu
Five years ago, the name Mosunmola Dominique Abudu would probably have elicited blank stares from most Nigerians but not anymore. In a few short years, Mo has made a very strong mark in the Nigerian business landscape. Bold and future-focused, she is the Founder and CEO/MD of Vic Lawrence & Associates, one of the most successful indigenous consulting firms in Nigeria. She has taken several steps to set a good example for other Nigerian businesses such as inviting new partners into her firm (very rare for indigenous Nigerian businesses). She was also one of the brains behind the Protea Hotel Oakwood Park and is on the Junior Achievement Nigeria Board. Mo who is married with two children is a great role model for any women hoping to enter the corporate world in Nigeria.

Ify Ighodalo
Ifeyinwa Ighodalo entered the limelight when she won the St Moritz Most Stylish Woman award. She was one of the people who were rocking Ankara before it became the new ‘it’ fabric. Ify is definitely not all about beauty and style. In her year, she was one of the best graduating students from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where she studied Accounting and along with her business partner, Moni Fagbemi has run an extremely successful furniture and interior design company called Design Options for over a decade. She is very involved in various non-profit and developmental initiatives and is one of the founders of Wimbiz, an organization that supports and encourages women in business.
She is married to Asue Ighodalo and has a daughter. For young women with entrepreneurial ambitions, Ify is a really great role model.

These women in their 40s who exemplify FABNESS.
To the akara seller in her 40s struggling to send her children to school, the 40-year old single mother whose daughter finally graduated from university, the woman approaching 40 who is scared because she hasn’t had a child yet, the 45 year old woman who after years of hard work has finally broken the glass ceiling…this is dedicated to YOU. This is dedicated to our mothers.

I’ll be doing more features on a wide variety of people on bellanaija in the future. So watch out…let me know if you have any ideas or suggestions for future features…

Have a great week!!!!!
We luv to read your comments so please let us know what u think!

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  1. mola

    October 31, 2006 at 5:10 am

    Nice to see that Naija is letting women EAT too… This re-inforces my belief that all resources are abundant…
    Bella I like how your Blog is on tha Positive Vibe… I know that you are in the process of building your empire too…

  2. Anonymous

    October 31, 2006 at 5:35 am

    Keep it going. It ain’t easy to dig up stuff da way u do. So much respect gurl!

    Fab 40s indeed. For all d wahala Naija can be, dis women show u can stay in Naija, be gorgeous have a family n run enterprises, all at 40? Wow!

  3. Adaure

    October 31, 2006 at 5:40 am

    40 is the new 30… I think Ify Ighodalo is absolutely gorgeous. Those cheek bones are to die for. Nigerian women fine and smart no be small

  4. ABBEY

    October 31, 2006 at 6:24 am

    wow these ladies are beautiful and seriously redefining 40.

    I love to hear inspiring stories too so keep bringing them to us.

  5. Angie

    October 31, 2006 at 7:00 am

    Nice one Bella.
    These women are looking really good. I pray to look that good(..mayb better-lol) at that age. Hearing this stories makes me more than ever want to make a positive impact in the nigeria society.

  6. Dipo Tepede

    October 31, 2006 at 8:35 am

    Wow, great, great, great!!!

    The Nike Ogunlesi story really touched me….

    Bellanaija, when are we going to hear your own story?

    Editor, Bellanaija with fab columns like Madam Bella, Fashion and Style, tribute to Fashion Kings and Queens, Music, jokes and referers, etc

    I can already see the print edition, it will sell like wild fire……………

  7. UnNaked Soul

    October 31, 2006 at 9:47 am

    i just love Nike Ogunlesi… i really do…

  8. Icy

    October 31, 2006 at 11:19 am

    Bella mehn.. You no go overwhelm me o… This is absolutely nice. You know I fear that when I move to Naija the challenge will be trying to be all those things. It’s good to see pacesetters. I’m ecouraged most certainly! Thanks babz!

  9. Dimples

    October 31, 2006 at 1:03 pm

    Yes o!!! Genius Bella does it again…
    These woman are FAB and beautiful in their own way.. I know 2 out of the 3 and they are wonderful women at heart..they are so quick to encourage the growing girl that is just trying to get a foot in the door and start off in life…how to go about…what not to do…and just sharing their life experiences to encourage you.

    I’m motivated by most of them out there…and can’t wait to be @ their level or infact better when i reach the BIG 4-0.

    Lol!!!…nice one Dipo..Bella we are waiting o…
    Well done and to all have a FAB day ahead.

  10. uzo

    October 31, 2006 at 2:01 pm

    These are definitely women that inspire. When i saw the name Nike, i was hoping it wasnt the other one you were going to profile.

    My company is working on a project with Mo Abudu and she lives up to her reputation….

    Another nice post…

  11. Aramide

    October 31, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    nice ;o)

  12. Aramide

    October 31, 2006 at 2:17 pm

    nice ;o)

  13. LondonBuki

    October 31, 2006 at 2:44 pm

    I remember when my Mummy turned 40, she was so radiant.

    These women show that there is a lot to look forward to in years to come…

    Nicely written Bella!

  14. Daddy's Girl

    October 31, 2006 at 3:13 pm

    Bella, great feature. Those are some inspiring and beautiful women. Please keep up the good work.

  15. Biodun

    October 31, 2006 at 3:47 pm

    I love this post girl, I am proud of these women n I cant wait to be in my 40’s, I hope 2 be n look as fab as they r!

  16. zaiprincesa

    October 31, 2006 at 3:51 pm

    uuuuhh..this is soooo inspiring!!!. They are all so gorgeous and fabulous. Big ups to all of them jare…but emmm, u forgot someone, MY MUMMY!!!..well, she’s in her fifties sha, not forties. But she’s uber super duper kewl, successful, and beauriful. Great post Bella.

  17. Dammie

    October 31, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    Gawsh, This just makes me SO HAPPY!!

  18. koshie

    October 31, 2006 at 5:24 pm

    They sure do look fab!

    i will be your senior chief correspondent/editor when you launch your line. Do accept this as a formal application and future investment in your company

  19. Confessions of a moody crab

    October 31, 2006 at 7:03 pm

    Good to see that there are Nigerian women out there doing BIG things

    Certainly shows that our education does not end in the kitchen. It also shows that you can still have your family and career without having to sacrifice one for the other.

  20. Vera

    October 31, 2006 at 7:18 pm

    Hi bella Naija

    Thanks for this post. It’s really inspiring – especially for people like me. Thanks a lot. Remain Blessed.

  21. Belle

    October 31, 2006 at 8:39 pm

    awesome post! these women are inspirations!

  22. Ehi

    November 1, 2006 at 12:05 am

    Wow Bella very great post as always…I like the fact that your blog always reflects the positive rather than dwellin on the negative like a lot of pple do.
    These women are definitely inspirations..Yes God bless our mothers who have struggled to balance the craziness of the world with everything else..

  23. Ineka

    November 1, 2006 at 4:31 am

    Wow! Kudos..I’d never even heard of these women before. Thanks for making us aware.

    P.S:- I think Ify Ighodalo is absolutely Fab.

  24. Overwhelmed Naija Babe

    November 1, 2006 at 9:19 am

    Oh i just absolutely luv this!!! It’s great to see women so confident at any age really!!!

  25. broccolimakesmepuke

    November 1, 2006 at 10:01 am

    Not trying to brag but two of the women on your list are my aunties. Aunty Nike and Aunty Ifeyinwa. Aunty Nike actually started as Betti O(for women) before she switched to children’s clothes and Aunty Ifeyinwa actually started in Casafina so it’s a family affair. They are wonderful women in their everyday lives. I am mad proud to know them, I take my inital comment back. I do mean to brag, I’m happy I know people like this. They keep me focused.GREAT POST!

  26. Aba Boy

    November 1, 2006 at 12:12 pm

    FAB 40’s They all look radiant!…

    Once again,another great post.

  27. low

    November 1, 2006 at 5:06 pm

    I love the way you go at any length to get details on people you write on. Your insights are also very accurate. Love ur work…U better dedicate a certain time to blogging. Dont wanna hear about no ‘im too busy’..:)

  28. Gbemi's Piece

    November 1, 2006 at 7:15 pm

    Great post! I absolutely love that you are giving kudos to these particular women and showing that women in general are doing wonderful things in Nigeria. I remember seeing Ify Ighodalo on Inside Africa on CNN sometime ago. They were talking about Nigeria’s new crop of entrepreneurs (not women only!) and she was mentioned. Also, I got my flower girls dresses from Nike Ogunlesi’s store and found the quality impeccable. Can’t believe that they were made in Nigeria. She definitely puts a wonderful spin on Made in Nigeria. Last but not least, not trying to name drop or anything, just to tell a story, the last time we were in Nigeria, my husband and I were at lunch and a friend of his said he would join us if it was okay. He ended up coming with a woman he was interviewing with – Mo Abudu and we all had lunch together, laughing, and talking. The reason I bring this up is because I later picked up one of the magazines that covered her 40th and saw her splashed all over it with references to her business ventures. I had no idea who she was at the time but in Nigeria, you come to realize that not everyone is ‘approachable’ and it’s nice when those stereotypes are broken. Sorry for my little diatribe.

  29. Onada

    November 1, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    great post girl very inspiring.

  30. Mari

    November 1, 2006 at 9:27 pm

    nice one bella!

  31. sola

    November 1, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    hi bella,i posted a comment sometime ago about how good your blog is. i have a lot to do but cant helping reading your blog every nite, hope its not an addiction! on a serious note, i school in the UK and miss home real bad. reading your blog gives me feeling like im not far off. i loved all those new mags-genevieve and co before i left anf reading this reminds of all of hem. are u into journalism? cos u do this too well and for it to be just an hobby. good for u though.

  32. Bella Naija

    November 2, 2006 at 10:37 pm

    @mola – thanks for all the support! about the empire – AMEN

    @anonymous – thanks soo much. all is possible with God even in naij – these women show us that

    @adaure – i totally agree…

    @abbey – thanks girl!

    @angie – i know right1 lol…i hope I look even mum does so there is hope

    @dipo – thanks for all the encouragement…nike is fab and very humble…AMEN to the mag

    @unnaked soul – Nike is a remarkable woman indeed

    @icy – move back soon! the revolution is now…we need people like u

    @dimples – u need to start a BLOG..I will be on there 24/7…I just try to be positive and optimistic in this crazy world

    @uzo – thanks girl…Mo is a tough and focused lady..she really has what it takes to excel

    @aramide – Thanks x2 lol

    @londonbuki – your Mum is well! she shall be even more radiant than the people above

    @daddy’s girl – Thank u very much!

    @dammie – i know right…they are soo inspiring

    @koshie – lol…u r hired…u r really my chief consultant

    @moody crab – abi ooo..things definitely dont end in the kitchen..these women really hold it down at home and at work!

    @vera – u r already a remarkable woman..there is more to come!

    @belle – thanks girl

    @ehi – yes oo…our mothers deserve to be recognized…they really are FAB

    @ineka – Yes. Ify is beautiful! u will never beleive her age!

    @ overwhelmed – thanks dear

    @broccli – thanks for the insight..they are fabulous, arent they….yes, I remember Betty O (it was in maryland) and I know Ify met Moni (her biz partner) at Casafina

    @ababoy – thanks ooo much…good to see the men appreciating the ‘fine wine’

    @low – low girl….ur own feature is coming! u r already setting a great example for our new generation

    @gbemi – thank u sooo much for the insight! i luv ur blog…these women have set high standards for themselves and their businesses…
    about Mo..she gets some flack for being aloof (people always try to accuse successful women of one thing or the other) ..I am glad that u were able to tell us about a different side of her

    @onada- thanks girl….please return to blogging

    @mari – thanks girl

    @sola – Thank u soo much am not into journalism for now…just doing what I am passionate about

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