IYALODE ALABA OLUWASEUN LAWSON was born on the 18th January 1951 to Papa and Mrs. Emmanuel Abiona Jiboku in Abeokuta. Her late father Pa. Emmanuel Abiona Jiboku was a technician with then E.C.N. [now PHCN] where he served diligently for 39 years. He was known by the nickname Jiboku Tanna - Tanna which means “Jiboku the harbinger of light”. In recognition of his hardwork, the Queen of England bestowed on him the prestigious M.B.E. award in 1957. Her late mother Ruth Jiboku was daughter of the famous Aderupoko Coker of Itesi who was a renowned merchant in her days.
ALABA had her Primary Education at St. James’s African Primary School, Idi-Ape, Abeokuta, between 1957 and 1962. Her teacher Mrs. E.O Dasaolu described her “as a very sharp and bold pupil who could never be intimidated to tell a lie. Alaba also detests cheaters. A good organizer who gives great attention to orderliness”. From here she proceeded to the Abeokuta Girls’ Grammar School, also known as Anglican Girls’ Grammar School where she obtained the West African School Certificate.
She started her teaching career in 1969 and later left for St. Nicholas Montessori Teachers’ Training College at Prince’s Gate England in 1973 for further studies where she obtained a 1st Class Diploma in Education with distinction. The first African student to be so rated at the institution. A testimonial issued and signed by the co-principals in 1975 attests to this. It reads and I quote:
“MRS LAWSON was outstanding in her ability to master her academic studies. She worked with enthusiasm and intelligence. Therefore, we are sure Mrs. Lawson will make good use of these gifts for the benefits of the Children and Young people in Nigeria. We shall miss her in the College, but we look forward with confidence to hearing about the work she will accomplish”.
During her stay in England, she taught in quite a number of well-known Nursery Schools, including the famous Queen’s Gate Montessori Nursery School and Mill Hill Nursery and Junior School. True to the remarks in her testimonial, ALABA came back to Nigeria, taught for only one year and in 1977 established her own school known as LAWSON’S CHILDCARE NURSERY AND PRIMARY SCHOOL, which she started with just three students. Since then, she has not looked back. The little mustard seed has grown into the LAWSON’S GROUP OF SCHOOLS consisting of:
- Lawson's International Private School (1977)
- Lawson's Continuing Education Centre (1992)
- Alaba Lawson Royal College, Abeokuta - A Secondary School (1995)
- Alaba Lawson School of Advanced Studies (2003)
The contributions of Iyalode Alaba Oluwaseun Lawson in the area of Commerce & Industry are no less outstanding. She established a trading / distributing firm known as Capricorn Stores Ltd – 1968- 1996. She ran the business successfully which she combined effectively with the running of Lawson Group of Schools.
Iyalode Alaba Lawson had chains of distributing outlets with Nigerian Breweries Ltd. Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd, Guinness Nigeria Ltd, West African Portland Cement Ltd etc. she is a major distributor in Abeokuta and other cities in the SouthWest of Nigeria. She became the President of the Abeokuta Chambers of Commerce in 1995 and it was during her tenure that she was able to secure a permanent building known as the “COMMERCE HOUSE” as secretariat for ABEOKUTA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (ABEOCCIMA) from the Ogun State Government. She became the President of Ogun Council of Chambers of Commerce in year 2000 and headed it till 2002. Her robust sense of industry and justice are summed up in the words of the late Alhaji Adeolu Balogun, former Deputy Governor, Ogun State and NACCIMA Executive who asserted as follows-: “Iyalode is an embodiment of industry, unalloyed loyalty to a just cause, transparently honest on issues, no double speak, a philanthropist of no mean order, a committed Egba Woman, an unrepentant custodian of Yoruba culture and above all a great mother. Her unalloyed loyalty to principle and integrity is peerless”.