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Monday, October 17, 2016

Inside The Mind Of Folly Coker, The Man Boosting Lagos Image With Tourism Initiatives

His appointment as Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture at the inception of the Akinwumi Ambode administration in Lagos State, drew so much frenzy, joy which propelled a high expectation from ‘the round peg in a round whole’ who has the will, the network and the charisma to breathe life into the moribund ministry.

To those who are acquainted with Ninuola Folorunso Coker, his influence and domineering ideas into the Lagos social circle, it’s the case of the right chef, who will never serve a burnt loaf.

In the spiraling social circle in Lagos and beyond, the man they call Folly Coker is a household name. He has an enviable pedigree, his father and Lagos high chief, Folarin Coker a.k.a Baba Eto of Lagos was a longstanding socialite of no mean repute.

He announced his arrival as the helmsman of Lagos’ tourism ministry with the launch of ‘One Lagos Fiesta’ OLF, The gentleman who understands entertainment like the back of his palms planned and executed a never seen before fun fiesta for Lagosians and local tourist to the city of Lagos. The OLF was hosted simultaneously in five venues across the five administrative zones namely; Ikeja, Badagry, Ikorodu, Lagos Island and Epe. Consequently, the crossover party held in Agege Stadium (Ikeja), Badagry Stadium (Badagry), Ikorodu Town Hall (Ikorodu), Bar Beach (Lagos) and Epe Youth Center (Epe) where over 50 artistes performed for about 300 hours..

“Upon my assumption of office as the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, part of my brief was to ensure continuation of the Lagos Countdown tradition which ran for 3 years.” He told his audience at a press conference.

 Being one who certainly understands the intricacies and demands of his new role, he turned the ‘Lagos Countdown’ what used to be a watchnight of music, fun, laced with comedy into a five day fiesta happening in five cities across the five divisions of Lagos State.

It became the largest countdown party in sub-Sahara Africa and it was unarguably the best of its kind so far. In order to add more flavour to what was on ground before his assumption of office, the highly innovative Folly Coker settled for a model that turned the whole of Lagos State into one community. Hear him: “I was charged with seeking ways and means to improve the expression of our culture which produces a unique theatrical, musical and culinary art.

In the light of this, we reviewed the successes recorded so far with the Lagos Countdown and settled for a model that will turn the entire State into one community; celebrating change and the achievement of the past year with a strong expression of hope for the year ahead.

Lagos prides itself as the economic and socio-cultural hub of sub-Saharan Africa with a flamboyant multi-cultural expression of its art. It is home to people from all parts of Africa and serves as a pot of diverse language groups.

The people of Lagos are known for hard work and a “can-do” attitude which is complimented with a jovial spirit for celebration, especially during the festive period.”

He and his team, took advantage of these attributes and identify with the citizens “in a one community, one celebration and one purpose approach.”

Born on 27th July 1965, in Ikoyi, Lagos. He attended Corona School, Ikoyi and St Gregory’s College Obalende for Primary and Secondary education respectively.

In 1982, he went to study for A’ levels at St Bees School in Cambria, England and graduated from Manchester University with a BA Hons in Combined Studies, Economics and Geography.

Later, he completed his post-graduate degree from the University of Westminster, Diplomatic Academy in Diplomacy, International Trade and finance.


Mr. Coker a self-employed and self-made man, was into commodity trading until 1999, when he was invited by former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to work as his personal assistant. In 2003, he was appointed as the deputy chief of staff to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Until he was announced as the commissioner for tourism, arts and culture in Lagos State, Coker was running the Brown Restaurant on Akin Olugbade Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The restaurant, which has another branch situated in Ikeja GRA, was reportedly handed over to his trusted ally, the bar manager, after he was called to serve in his present capacity.
Coker’s business interests also include La Casa, a multimillion naira world class dignitaries’ hangout situated on Ilashe beach, Lagos.

Coker, is believed to have the ears of national leader of the All Progressive Congress, and was fully involved in the campaign of the incumbent Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode as well as the President, Muhammadu Buhari

National infinity

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