Chief Razaq Akanni Okoya was born in Lagos on January 12, 1940. Now in his 80th decade of life, he is a billionaire industrialist and the notable Aare of Lagos. Okoya had his only formal education at Ansar-un-deen Primary School, Oke popo, Lagos. He is the owner and founder of Eleganza group of companies, which has a market spanning across Western Africa.
With a tailor for a father, Razaq spent most of his after-school hours learning the trade. He would run errands for his father, helping him get supplies and mending customer clothings. His father’s shop made on-demand clothing, bicycle seat covers and other clothing accessories for sale.
He had earlier on in his life considered becoming a lawyer or a teacher, but also wanted to become wealthy. He once mentioned that he observed the society around him and saw that some of the wealthiest people were businessmen.
“In school, I could see my teacher in worn and often shabby clothes and at the same time, I could see the well-dressed businessmen of Dosunmu Street, the heart of business in Lagos then. It was easy for me to choose business life.”
” I keep to myself. I do not look at other people. I am content with myself. I do not look for cheap money. I am not interested in contracts and I do not expose myself to intrigues and politics.”
“You do not do business for the ego value. You go for what the people can afford. In business, you have to ensure that the masses are able to afford the cost of your products. That is one of my secrets.”
“My main motivation was that I wanted to be rich and I knew I had to work very hard to get there.”
“I have nothing against education. But at times, education gives people false confidence. It makes people relax, trusting in the power of their certificates rather than in working hard.”
Being relatively comfortable, Razaq got married quite early. His first wife, Kuburat Okoya, like many other women, had an unusual fancy for jewellery and spent quite a lot of money purchasing them.
On one of his trips out of the country, he imported some jewelry manufacturing machines along with some experts and started manufacturing the jewelry at ridiculously low costs. This marked the beginning of the Jewelry Manufacturing Arm of Eleganza Group.
The company has evolved over the years and now employs thousands of Nigerians across its factories where it manufactures coolers, chairs, soaps, weave-on for ladies, cutlery, electric fans, plastics, etc.
The Eleganza group is now headed by his youngest wife, Mrs Shade Okoya as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer while he is Chairman of the group.