The Yoruba nation has lost one of its illustrious daughters, Chief (Mrs) Alaba Oluwaseun Lawson, who was the Iyalode of Yorubaland and the Proprietress of Lawson Group of Schools. She died in the early hours of today, Saturday, October 28, 2023, at the age of 72.
Her son, Akinola Lawson, confirmed her death in a statement on behalf of the family.
He said she died peacefully at her residence in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State.
Iyalode Alaba Lawson was a respected and influential figure in Yorubaland and beyond.
She held the titles of Iyalode of Egbaland and Iyalode of Yorubaland, which are the highest positions for women in the Yoruba traditional hierarchy.
She was also a successful entrepreneur and a pioneer in the field of education.
She founded the Lawson Group of Schools, which comprises of nursery, primary and secondary schools, as well as a college of education.
She was the first African student to graduate with a 1st Class Diploma in Education with honors from St. Nicholas Montessori Teachers’ Training College in England.
She also established Capricorn Stores Ltd., a trading and distribution company that operated from 1968 to 1996.
She was a major distributor for several multinational companies such as Nigerian Breweries Ltd., Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd., Guinness Nigeria Ltd., West African Portland Cement Ltd., among others.
She was actively involved in the promotion and development of commerce and industry in Ogun State and Nigeria at large.
She served as the president of the Abeokuta Chamber of Commerce from 1995 to 1997, and as the president of the Odu’a Chamber of Commerce from 2000 to 2002.
She was instrumental in securing the approval of the Odu’a International Trade Fair and resuscitating most of the moribund members of the chamber.
She was also a philanthropist and a humanitarian who supported various causes and initiatives for the upliftment of women, children, youths and the less privileged.
She was awarded several honors and recognitions for her contributions to society, such as the Officer of the Order of Niger (OON), Doctor of Business Administration (Honoris Causa) by Crescent University, Abeokuta, Doctor of Education (Honoris Causa) by Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode, among others.
She is survived by her children, grandchildren, siblings and other relatives.
The family said they will announce the details of her burial arrangements in due course.
They also asked for prayers and privacy at this difficult time.