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How I Got My Nick Name SISI ABAH

A few days back, in Lagos, society matriarch, Hajia Abah Folawiyo, celebrated her 80th birthday in grand style. It was on Friday 22nd July 2022. She is the widow of Chief Abdulwahab Iyanda Yinka Folawiyo, the great industrialist and Baba Adinni of Nigeria. She is the mother of popular Big Boy, Segun Awolowo.

Though her real name is Hajia Abah Folawiyo, many fondly call her Sisi Abah. Why is this so? City People asked her this question a few days ago and she explained how she got the nickname, Sisi Abah.

"My name is Abah because I was born on Thursday. Those who are born on Thursdays in Ghana are called Abah. In Ghana, they name their children by the days they are born. I was born on Thursday so I was given the name Abah"

"It is those in Lagos who chose to call me Sisi Abah, because of my fashion style and the delicate way I carry myself".

Many don't know she has strong Ghanaian roots. Let's tell you more. She was born in 1942 into the prestigious and noble Kuku family in Ijebu Ode. Her mother is a Ghanaian. And Sisi Abah was brought up and educated in both Ghana and Nigeria. She is very close to her maternal family in Ghana because she grew up with them. Her education in a Convent School in Cape Coast, Ghana shaped her life which she considers as a conservative one, despite her flamboyance, popularity and celebrity status.

She is reputed for her expertise in fashion designing and sewing. She was the winner of the first Daily Times Fashion Designer Awards. She also won the first Fashion Design Award in Ghana organised by the defunct Ghana Airways at the launch of its first aircraft. Her first trip abroad was to Beirut, being the prize she won as the winner of the Ghana Airways competition. 

A very talented woman, Sisi Abah, for very many years, had her own fashion house situated in Surulere, Lagos, which was known as Labanella. She started the fashion house with her friend Ornella, and this led to the name of the fashion house. The fashion house was a pioneer in its field and a very successful brand. It became even more successful when then General Olusegun Obasanjo, as Head of State, banned the importation of foreign clothes and materials. Her business blossomed and boomed as she took advantage of the ban. Although she has since retired, she still designs and sews for a select few.

Sisi Abah has gained recognition from Nigerian Fashion Designers. For a long time, she was the National President of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN) and is now a life patron of the Association.

Bashorun Dele Momodu wrote about her recently, “Sisi Abah is also a very good cook. So good is she that family and friends always want to eat her food. She is a fantastic hostess, always prepared to entertain guests and leaving nothing to chance by not only supervising the cooking but personally doing most of the cooking herself, including buying and preparing the ingredients. Sisi Abah puts paid to the debate and controversy about which Jollof Rice is the best by going for Nigerian Jollof Rice. She is most qualified for this task given her Nigerian and Ghanaian roots.

Most importantly, she is a family woman. She also loves wholly, with all her might. Previously married to Lagun Adesanya, now a Celestial Church Priest, she married Alhaji Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo and converted to Islam because that was his faith.  She had no children from these relationships. Her only son, Segun Awolowo is the grandson of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his wife, Mama H. I. D Awolowo.

The lovely, beautiful and delectable Sisi Abah is a very caring and warm Sister, Aunt, Mother, Grandmother and Friend and regularly gives to charity as part of her philanthropic and Islamic duties. She looks after everyone in her circle of influence.       


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