Omoba Abiola Dosunmu, the Erelu Kuti IV of Lagos is the Queen Mother of Lagos. She is a direct descendant of Oba Dosunmu and as such, she is of royal Yoruba and royal Bini origins. The Omoba Abiola Dosunmu has been the Erelu Kuti of Lagos for over 40 years. Born in Kano on July 29, 1947, into the royal family of Omoba Adewunmi and Adejoke Dosunmu of Lagos Island, Abiola Dosunmu is the fourth Erelu Kuti of Lagos. She serves as the ceremonial queen mother and reigns as the regent of Lagos upon the death of an incumbent monarch until a substantive successor is chosen by the college of kingmakers. She has reigned for most of her life and holds a position that only princesses from the ruling houses can attain.
Erelu Kuti IV is an astute and accomplished businesswoman with interests in oil and gas, real estate, and agricultural industries among others. She studied business administration in London. In the petroleum industry, the Erelu – as one of the few early Nigerians in the business – achieved some significant feats to the benefit of the nation. In the same vein, she revolutionized the traditional Aso Oke business to become a multibillion-dollar industry it is today. She was the first to introduce the weaving of the Aso Oke in brilliant colours which quickly became a trend back in the 60s and 70s, selling as far as the Middle East. With a shop on the famous Bond Street in London, Abiola Dosunmu promoted the culture of the Yoruba race and indeed Nigeria, through the Aso Oke.
To further her contribution to the society, Erelu Abiola Dosunmu set up a foundation, Erele Abiola Foundation, ERAF, which is specially designed for promoting commerce, art, science, sport, culture, education, research, charity, poverty alleviation and other similar goals. Through ERAF, the queen mother is actively involved in the rehabilitation of street children and school dropouts, a disturbing phenomenon in the urban development of Lagos. She also offers free skills training and vocational education projects as well as rehabilitation of drug addicts.
Her project, The Valley of the Kings, is a monumental museum to warehouse the history of Lagos and the kings who have ruled her to date. It is Erelu’s belief that this project will further help to preserve the rich culture and history of Lagos and a guide to future generations.
Erelu belongs to several socio-economic organizations which include African Business Roundtable, ABR, where she serves as the Cultural Ambassador for the African Continent. A founding member of NEPAD Business Group Nigeria, NBGN, Erelu was in fact, selected at the inauguration in 2004 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. She has equally served as a member of various committees both at state and national levels. She is a member and coordinating chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers and Eminent Persons for Good Governance in Nigeria.
Furthermore, she is a recipient of several honours, including National honour of the Royal Kingdom of Belgium; Life achievement award by Vanguard newspaper; Honorary Doctorate Degree, D.Cul-Doctor of Culture at the 4th convocation ceremony of Igbinedion University, Okada; Pan African Exemplary Leadership 2016 Honour /Icon of True Silent Mega Philanthropist in Africa, The CommonWealth Journalists Association Award; Nigerian Institute of International Affairs Award and West African Students Union Parliament Award for Exemplary Leadership.
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