Header Ads Widget

How I Stepped Into My Late Father's Shoes – Chief FOLORUNSHO FOLARIN COKER

•New Baba Eto Of ILARA

His real name is Folorunsho Folarin-Coker, but he is popularly known as ‘Foli Coker’. He is a renowned Hospitality and Tourism Entrepreneur with years of experience in public administration. He is currently serving a 2nd term as the Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC).

As DG, he has conceived the ‘Tour Nigeria’ brand to drive domestic consumption of tourism assets and products in Nigeria, create new channels of expression, commercialize tourism and generate employment. He has also partnered with digital powerhouses like Google, Facebook and Wikipedia to leverage their platforms and digital reach, to drive Domestic Tourism awareness and promote the best of Nigeria locally and internationally.

He is a household name in social and government circles. His father was a Lagos High Chief. Late Elder statesman Chief Folarin Coker (Saba Eto of Lagos) was a highly regarded personality and a famous socialite.

Being the owner of the famous LACASA brand, Folorunsho Coker was a very successful business entrepreneur before his Public Service Career began in 1999. Prior to his present appointment, he served Lagos State Government in various capacities including: as Principal Aide to His Excellency, Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor. He also served as the founding Chief Executive Officer to the Lagos State Number Plate Production Authority and as the Special Adviser to the Governor on Central Business Districts.

As the Lagos State Commissioner of Tourism, Arts and Culture, he established a tourism roadmap for the state, which aimed to re-tell the story of Lagos through the “ONE LAGOS” brand.

Born on 27th July 1965 to the Lagos families of Coker of Olowogbowo and Agoro of Idumota, Foli Coker attended “Corona School” and “St Gregory’s College, Lagos for primary and secondary school education respectively. He studied for A-Levels at St Bees School in Cumbria. England and graduated from Manchester University with a B.A. Hons in Combined Studies. Thereafter, he obtained a Postgraduate Diploma from the University of West Minister in London.

Folorunsho Coker likes to spend quality family time at home or travelling with his family. He is a member of several social clubs in Lagos (Island Club, Yoruba Tennis Club, Metropolitan Club, Polo Club, etc). He is passionate about water sports and spends quality time boating.

On Thursday, August 19, 2021, DAMILARE SALAMI 08155134152 had a chat with this ever-busy Lagosian where he revealed how he felt about stepping into his father’s shoes. Below are excerpts from the chat, enjoy.


Congratulations sir. You have just been named the Baba Eto of Ilara Kingdom. What does that title mean to you?

Thank you so much. I feel so honoured, being the Baba Eto of Ilara means a lot to me. Kabiyesi and I have been friends for a while. I really cannot describe the honour of him giving me a title in Ilara and particularly, my father’s title in Ilara. And the pronouncement that it is not just Ilara but also in the source, which is Ile Ile, that is Osun State. It means that the Oni himself is conferring this title on me; sp I am deeply honoured. I have lived and my father passed on last year and I saw him as the Baba Eto of Yorubaland for the better part of my life. To now begin that journey after service to my state and country, now service to my people in the footstep of my father, I cannot quantify the honour. I am deeply, deeply grateful to kabiyesi for starting the process and deeply grateful to the Ooni for announcing through his representative that I will become the Baba Eto of the source.

Very briefly sir, how do you intend to use your new office to promote the people of Ilara and the Yoruba culture at large?

With my office, I am taking this title as a promotion of the Yoruba culture already. With the individuals that I know who are the kings in Yorubaland that have honoured me today, the Alara and the Ooni, I know them well, I know that they are people who are not about their titles; they are people who care about their people. If you look at what has happened in the source, there’s commerce, there are jobs, there a taxable jobs and income for the people. So I am going to use my 21 years in government from 1999 till today to advise, to support, to contribute and make sure that the kings that honoured me with this title are not disappointed. May they live long to see the kind of transformation the opportunity accorded me will bring to our land.


Post a Comment