Monday, 19 May 2014

PART 3 How My Mother shaped my leadership style


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Safiyya....'My mum was a victim of Society's misconception'
In this concluding memoir-like encounter with one of Nigeria’s most beautiful minds, Barrister (Mrs.) Safiya Omosholape Demola Seriki, the Niger state born beauty told us everything from her life style as the daughter of a northern Nigeria technocrat father and a south-western Nigerian business woman who is equally famous.
The story of how her mother’s shrewd business acumen and lifestyle shaped her approach to life and how she eventually found love with Prince Demola Seriki a former Minister of State for Defense who is equally a power broker in the Lagos political scene, it is a story of a graceful childhood to an opportunity filled motherhood. Sit and enjoy the other side of Safiya the technocrat in this concluding part of our memoir-like encounter with the former Deputy Director at the Bureau of Public Enterprise.
Between my Minna father & Ijebu mother
As a daughter to a father from Minna, Niger state and a mother from Ijebu in Ogun state, was there room for rivalry of cultures? “Not at all” Safiya began and continued “Because I was always in Lagos. I was always in Lagos and everybody spoke English. And again I did a bit of my university education at ABU; so I was able to appreciate the northern culture much better and that made a lot more relevance to me. I think I am lucky all the way round because I have a group in the north, I have a group in the south. So, anywhere I want to flow, I flow. If they haven’t seeing me in the north, they will say ‘oh, where have you been? If they haven’t seen me in south, they say ‘oh, where have you been?’Then I can chose being just between”.
The Lawyer & IT expert turned business woman inside
 her Allen Avenue Lagos store
What you don’t know about my father
 Safiya defined her father to asabeafrika “He is a very nice man. He worked with Nigerian Airways many years ago, then that was the only national flyer. That was the period of national pride. And till today, anywhere you go people always have nice things to say about him because in the past, students that have been stranded that he put on flight. We have women that have been stranded, with their kids and he met them and gave them an act of charity. So in line of duty, he has been able to help so many people and at the same time, I think he got a lot of fame then because it was a national flyer and there were very few pilots just in their own little clique. My father was able to interact with a lot of people to the extent that anywhere you go, everybody knows him. They know of him and have very nice things to say about him”.
“I have had encounter with Aliko Dangote’s children; they are humble and the way they think marvels me, you know that this man has raised sound children. Although everything is bound to the gift of God but you must just do your own bit and leave the rest with God; so, Aliko is very blessed with that.  Those are things that move me. That is what I want for my children, a legacy of prudence, hard work, humility and enterprise”
Growing with Dad & Mum
Safiya spoke on the beauty of growing under parents who are culture apart “Well, I think we spent time with both but he is very laid back, he is not as strict as my mum. You could ask for money or something and he gives you without questioning your reason. But my mum will say ‘listen, you have to give them something that makes sense, don’t destroy them’. So both of them will always have a meeting and whatever meeting they have, if my mum said it this way, he will go the other way sometimes. And at times when he goes her way, we will bully him and say ‘listen dad, is it because mummy has told you this, is that why you are changing your mind?’And he will always apologize and say ‘no, no, no it is not like that’. It was just interesting. Because I think he just left all the scolding and everything to her. He was just a cool dad but one thing with him was that he supported my mum in the area of career choices when we wanted to go to the university. We were 14 when we wanted to take our GCSE, we told him we wanted to try it and he was a bit reserved because he feared that we might not pass, but my mum said ‘if they pass, they pass. No harm in trying’. So they agreed and paid and we did our GCSE at 14. I got into ABU at 15 and they kept closing, closing, closing. In fact I was almost suspected, I was going to be among those that made it that would have been sent home. Because if you are not 16 by September, they will send you back but I was lucky I just survived it; so those were the kind of things my parent encouraged. So, we had a lot of fun with both of them”


Mum never allowed us go visiting friends.
 Given a chance to describe her Ijebu mother, Safiya went memory lane and brought out facts nobody knew about the woman famously known as Bisket in the Lagos social circle “Very interesting Personality. My mum has a larger life but very strict about upbringing. We are seven, I am the second child. I have an elder sister. I also have younger sisters who are into entertainment as well; one of them studied IT, she works with DSTV. My other younger sister Aisha also works with the media. Jumai and Aisha are into entertainment. With my mum, we grew up in a strict environment in the sense that on holidays we have to work. We have to always be in the shop. So, that was where we played. She won’t allow you to go out, she will say ‘anybody that wants to visit you can come; you can give them as much biscuit, sweet and chocolate’ (laughter).
So, people like coming here, we give them gifts but she wont let us go out and we were like ‘they come to visit us, we should be able to visit them’ and she will say ‘no, you cant’. Even parties, she won’t let us go for birthday parties. I remember there was a time we just returned from America and everyone was like ‘oh, new kids in town. Here is invitation, here is this and that’; we were excited but she said ‘you are not going to any of them’. And we were saying ‘can this be real?’ But she didn’t let us go. That is why when people say she is a socialite, they get it wrong. She is a socialite because of her work. But she was not into parties. She never went to Owanbes. She never engaged in partying like that, she was just a socialite to her work and because she just liked people around her and a lot of people took advantage of that. So, she didn’t let us go to parties and we couldn’t go and visit people. It was always shop or home, shop or home. When we were growing up, I always spent time with my grand mother (Late Chief Mrs. Christianah Alaba Okeowo) and she was always in her shop as well. She was one of those that started the fabric business in Lagos. 


They used to call it gutter then at Idumota, and she used the fabric business to leverage on so many other things; she built properties, bought lands and became big in real estate.  She was one of my best friends because she we shared the same birthday which is 21st of September. We were very close. So, for my mum, she was very, very strict. It was about work; and a lot of that, she got from her own mum. So, it is a family culture. It was more of work and discipline. You come here on holidays, my mum leaves home around 9-to-10am, you have to leave with her. If you don’t leave with her, then another car comes If you don’t leave with the other car, and then if you are lucky, she might send a third car for you. But if by chance, a car comes to the house again, and you get there; you must stay away from her because most of the morning, she is going to be really upset with you; she is not going to smile with you at all because she can’t just tolerate any excuse why you couldn’t come with the first or second car. That, ‘it is not that you are going to really work but you do work. So, why won’t you get up and get dressed and follow me to work?’ So, on a normal day, even when her office was in Lagos, she goes by 7 am. You know you have to get up and go to the office with her if not if she meets you in the evening, you avoid her. So, it was like that with Mum, no free lunch even in free town. She will deliberately make you feel uncomfortable. She will frown at you and she will not entertain you in any way; you will greet her and she will ignore you. She wants you to understand the enormity of your stupidity. She won’t pamper you; that is why I said now, she is easy because she has come off age, she is very soft now; those days it was fiery. On holidays, you dare not tell her you are going for picnic. You can’t even spend a day or two at home; to do what? You have no business at home you have to be at work”.
Barrister Safiya Omosholape Demola Seriki with Lagos first lady,
Dame Emmanuela Abimbola Fashola at 17th
City People Awards for Excellence in Lagos(1)
How mum trained us to be leaders
Will Safiya agree that her mum’s strict way of bringing her children up is what is majorly responsible for her work ethics today? “Absolutely” she exclaimed before speaking further “Because my mum used to load containers by herself. In England, if they are loading her container, if they don’t pack it well, she will enter the container in the cold. Then, if she enters you have to jump in too. Or to assist her because you can’t watch her do it and you are idle, doing what? And when she is buying or doing things, we follow her. So, you have to be there, you work and learn alongside with her. And if a container comes and they are off loading in Nigeria too, you know you have to be there. As she is working, you have to join her. You must work hard in the early hours of the day and you could eat later. But you would be so much engrossed with working that you could even forget your meals at times. You have to watch it, you have to stand because she is there, you can not go and sleep. If they are carrying things, you must carry.

There is none of my sisters; at least everybody can carry at least a crate of juice or bottle. Because she will carry it, you will carry it, you don’t wait for someone to do it; everybody was naturally alert to work and that helped me while in England because I have already worked in my mum’s shop. I learnt to be a leader too early because I was 13 when my mum will send me to the shop. I was like a supervisor. And I will try to pretend to be ‘proper’ because I wanted them to respect me, there are certain things I wouldn’t want to do in front of Mum’s staffers because I know that they will copy. So, it was that kind of leadership trait that I imbibed. At age 15, my mum would send me to her branch at Suru-Lere to go and oversea there. So, I didn’t have the privilege to stay in Allen Avenue most times. So, I have to go and stay there and manage the people there sometimes. Over there, it was boring, everybody wanted to be on Allen Avenue but for me, it was like you are the team leader you go to Suru Lere. And I will say ‘oh, this place is boring but I don’t have a choice, I am there. I also worked at the branch in the airport. I saw different kind of excitements, she never comes around to the airport branch so we managed things and we had fun. The different experiences molded us and what you learn is that you must always be on your toes. And that you have to set example, because you didn’t want to embarrass yourself with my Mum. There was a joke we shared one particular holiday, we all said to her ‘you know what, we have been working so hard, how much do you think you can pay us per month?’ and she said ‘but you guys don’t have GCSE certificate, so I think you deserve only 500 naira per month’. And we said ‘how much is this N500?
(L) Barrister Safiya Omosholape Demola Seriki Presenting
an award to a recipient at the 17th City People Awards for
Excellence, with her is Princess Tese Onakala of NeedleCraft (R)
We can buy a drink or two and everything is gone’. She was like ‘ok, but you guys don’t have any qualification to get anything more than that’. So, that day she did a dummy pay role for us and actually gave us envelopes with N500 naira each in it; that was quite funny. That was really funny. And you know we learnt so many things because at that time, Bisket Stores was 24 hours; we don’t go home till 12-to-1am. On several occasion, you sleep in the shop. There was a day, I missed the car home and I had to sleep in the bath. I took a nap and when she resumed back in the morning, there was no way I could tell her that I needed to go back and sleep, I am tired. There was no room for that. She couldn’t imagine that she would be in the shop and I will be at home, sleeping. The great thing she was trying to impact in us was to be able to manage our time because you are going to be in charge of your life some day. So, basically, I learnt how to work hard with my mum and when I got into England, I had already had that discipline because I started work at home. I was not allowed to go up and down. In fact, a lot of places in Lagos, I don’t know the names because I didn’t socialize. I didn’t go out; I only know how to get home and get back to the office”.
The CEO, Demani Bisket Stores Ltd thought over an
issue while chatting with asabeafrika
Why my mum became a philanthropist
Asabeafrika wants Shafiya to define her mum from the philanthropic side of when she was rehabilitating destitute and giving them new lease of life in Lagos before she ran into a major crisis in 2001. What lesson did Safiya learnt from mum’s philanthropic endeavor and the aftermath of her action which nearly brought her reputation down? “Well, I think from the onset my mum has always loved to have people around her. She was even paying her friends’ children’s school fees which I couldn’t understand because they could afford it, do you get what I mean? But she just enjoys doing it; so, she always likes people around her and we were forced to live with that reality. I think it is from loving people around her that she now thought that there are other people out there who are not privileged, that if she bring them in and reform them, they could experience a better life and change than they would get if they are on the street or they probably might have died. So, she went into that (Philantrophy) and of course, naturally, that took a lot of her time. But what people don’t really know was the fact that it was an emotional offshoot of losing a child. My brother died and to her that was the worst experience she could ever have. And she was like ‘ok, God, I will take care of other people’s children but you must take care of my own.’ That was her deal with God over my brother’s death and she started doing that and took it to another level. That God, I am helping your children, take care of my own children, I am going to take care of others. And it was interesting”.

Tunde’s death changed mum’s world view
Safiya pointed to a picture across the wall in her office which showed a young boy between the age of 12 or 13 sitting on a suit attire and said “That is my late brother’s picture over there; his name is Tunde, he spent a very little time on earth because he died at 14”.  Although she said Tunde was not the only son as she has a younger brother now, she spoke glowingly about his leadership trait  “He was very interesting and he had so many friends and so many associates at that small age; like Alhaji Lai Mohammed’s son, Jimmy still talks about him till date. Jimmy will say Tunde is my best friend, I lost my best friend and that is why all of you are my sisters. This family is my family because anytime I see you I remember Tunde because he was so good to me, he was my friend. Very funny, his friends still remembers him till date, he spent a very shot time but he had so much impact on many people that you keep wondering why someone will still have a legend towards him. I think that was what spurred my mum into catering for ordinary children. But I am of the opinion and I always tell my mum; that in anything, it is good to do experiment. 
Do your experiment, enjoy it but put things in the balance. I think my mum wanted to change the world but unfortunately you can’t change the world, she is someone who can give her eyes out if it is possible. So, in doing that she took so much time off her business because you don’t know when something takes out so much energy off you and because she thinks the best towards everybody. So, I had to basically put her in check and said ‘listen, if you are expecting a change, it is not a bad idea but the more I read the Koran, I come to understand that every position we find ourselves is through the grace of God. Sometimes, you can get angry with somebody but it is because you don’t know any better. But it takes true patience to understand that; when you are trying to change somebody or trying to change the whole world, it is not possible. Because God has created things for a purpose and that purpose is for a rhythm. And when you are trying to change people, they get upset. When you are passionate and you love someone, you always want to try and change them. But you can never change your own habit because God has designed people to be who they are. You can only make impact and leave it alone but not trying to make their own change our own life, for if you try and make their own change your own life then you find out that you can not live through people you can only make them live through you and if they pick an ounce from you, your knowledge, your wisdom, fine. If they can, they can. If they can’t, they can’t. So, all this little things here and there had taken her away from her business because naturally, sometime in life you need to reflect on your actions. If people know you are somebody that loves to accommodate, before you know it, some times, they could abuse it and you don’t take it into perspective and that could derail you from your own purpose”.

How mum ran into Crisis
Where was Safiya in 2001 when her mum ran into crisis and what was her immediate reaction to the allegation of child trafficking leveled against her mother? “I was in England then. But you see, it made me upset because I know that in it all, we are the ones that we don’t spend enough time with our mother because we had to share our time and I know she was making sacrifices because of her business. Because in between then, she was rehabilitating over 30, 40 drug addicts from the street. They were feeding off her everyday. That was besides the children she was sponsoring and giving welfare to. And then she was putting them in her business, so that they can get jobs. And when you miss emotion with business, it affects your business. My mum will bring people from the street and try to help them with a job but if you have been on the street and you are used to getting free, fast money, you can’t be able to run a 9-to-5.

A cross section of expensive Lace Material at Demani Bisket Stores
There is no how it won’t run down your business, and for this people not to appreciate it; it is disappointing. And then you now hope that she can learn from it, but she has been created like that. It is now, that she can see all of it now and she can return to her normal calling because my mum is someone that is so gifted in business, she is a phenomena in business; I learnt so much from her and I feel that, that is one of the gifts that God gave her, she looks at something and she turns it around. I speak to her; she speaks to me on what to do and how to go about it. She creates something from nothing and it is a gift God has given to her. It comes to her naturally. If she sits here, she can re-arrange this shop over night. She is so hard working and for such a very hard working woman and you see people mismanage her resources, it is so painful. And that is why I said to her ‘Mummy, you work so hard…ah, ah? And you can give it away like that? (Laughs wirily), and I will say ‘you have gone through so much and you want to give it away like that? I said ‘I respect you but you have to slow down because of your age’. She works so hard, God really endowed her and that is why a lot of people that are now celebrities today; that are rich today, many of them went through her but they don’t acknowledge it and she could have used those monies to do so many other things. She is just lucky that she is left with assets; if she wasn’t, it could have been a different story. So, so many people have mentored through her; so I am lucky to have been able to go through her, her knowledge, her wisdom.
And at the same time, I learnt a lot about compassion from her as well but I always tell her that in everything, there must be a balance and that balance must be the drawing line between reality and emotion. Because God has created the world in a balance, you have to respect it, you must respect it. So, I am so happy I have leant a lot from her now and it has helped me to stabilize in my business and family life. I am picking her brain, her knowledge, her everything through the grace of God because I was born from her. If I don’t take advantage of it now when will I? So, what she spent most of her time doing now is mentoring. She has been mentoring us a lot in our business, she has relocated to Kwara state (North Central Nigeria) but she comes to Lagos in a while; she was the one that encouraged me to get into business, to start doing  business. So, a lot of things I run it by her, how do I go about this? How do I solve that problem? And she is ever ready to mentor us, some I do my own way. But then, business wise, my mum is incredible. God has endowed her with more than enough wisdom”.
Sholape Demola Seriki....'Nasir EL-Rufai is a fantastic Leader.
Mum & Post Crisis Period  
Safiya who hopes to make a book out of her mum’s experience someday recalled how the great woman, Bisket handled the post crisis period “It was an interesting episode of her life actually. But she was never weighed down; I think she only learnt a lesson about how human beings can really be when the test of time calls. You know before that crisis, when she was running her NGO, the late lawyer Chief Yinka Rhodes came in to her shop one day and after shopping my mum took him upstairs and showed him some of her children and the destitute she was rehabilitating, over forty of them. The man was quite surprised and said he never knew she could have such a heart of gold towards the penniless. He was moved toward her activities and funny enough when the crisis broke out he was the first to speak on my mum’s behalf and ordered his younger brother Chief Shola Rhodes to take my mum’s brief without charging her a kobo. Another lawyer Segun Ajibola (SAN) also stood up and fought her case free. These were people who had no direct dealings with her but because they knew the truth, they were ready to stake their necks for her. They went to meet her at the station and offered free legal services to her. So many friends and associates deserted her but few ones stood by her because they knew she was wrongly accused”.
Bar. Safiya Omosholape Demola Seriki.....'My mum hates lazy people'
Mum went into birds care
Safiya said in order for her mum to regain total strength from the wrong accusation of child trafficking against her person, she had to start fending for birds after relocating to Abuja “After that episode, I think she just took holiday off human beings and she relocated to Abuja where she started rearing birds; guinea fowls, ducks, pigeons and other assorted birds. I think she found solace in doing that and she was so passionate about her birds. They will keep making noise and it was a big task but Mum loves them.
She reared them for quite a long time until she started giving them away. She couldn’t kill them but gave them out to people who could be compassionate with them. She actually reared them for a season. That was another episode of her life before she relocated to Kwara state where she is now into real estate. You know her late mum, my grand mother retired at age 40. She was into real estate for the rest of her life and my mum inherited much of that from her.  Now, she has taken to the real estate business and she equally comes to Lagos to mentor us once in a while, she still maintains her office in Lagos Island, she equally has a fabric store in Ilorin but comes in to Allen to mentor us on how to make success of the business. That woman is a colossus; she has over four decades of experience packed into her. She has since re-evaluated her life experience and life goes on”.
Call to bar dinner
Me, Marriage & Motherhood
 Safiya talks about her love life with husband, ex-Minister of state for Defense, Prince Demola Seriki “Well, motherhood, marriage life is fantastic. It is a blessing to be a mother. And to be married because they say marriages are written from heaven. That it is God that chooses your spouse for you; no matter how much you try to evade reality, God chooses your spouse for you. So, Alihamdulilai, thank God for the life of my husband. Being a married woman and being a mother is basically trying to balance things and reforming your philosophy; that what are the things I want to imbibe in my home? The first thing has to be God because the holy book says that before you die, you must ensure that you make your children know who God is. That that is the only thing you have when you die, children that pray.  That will be praying for you in your death; and once you put that foundation right for them, it helps them no matter what, in life, to sail through. So, the most important thing in life is to be prayerful. I feel that I personally need to focus on my prayer so that I can pray for my family and my twentieth generations”. 
Safiya....'I didn't follow El-Rufai to FCT because I felt
I had something bigger to do elsewhere'
How I met and fell in love with my husband
“It was after government. Well, what attracted me to him number one was the fact that he was a Muslim. And he loves God; before he ends the night, he likes reading through the Quran. That attracted him to me first because I am equally a Muslim, I love the religion. And that was a priority for me that I married someone with the same religion for the sake of the foundation so that we won’t have conflict. That is related interest and also for the fact that we could raise our children in same way. He was lucky that in his growing up he learnt Quran and Arabic; so, now my kids are going to learn that; we used to have discussions and he would run things by me in the Quran because he learnt Kurani from time. That was the number one interest I had for him before anything else”.
How I handle my husband @ Home 
 When asabeafrika asked Safiya how she feels on the fact that herself and her husband both have pretty faces coupled with light skins which could translate to very charming kids, she burst into a smile before saying “Alihamdulilai” and continued “It is through the grace of God, it is grace of God that we were meant to get married and we were meant to be like that. So, with everything, I put my mind to doing everything I can do to make my home run well”. She spoke on how she handles the home front which has  produced two lovely and charming kids namely Amani Aderinsola Adunola and Ademola Abdul-Rasaq Atanda (Jnr.)  “I try to understand his own need and once I understand his needs, I make sure that first thing in the morning, everything that he needs I make sure that I do them. So, there is no fault on my side. Even at work, I try to understand both his likes and dislikes. And I try and read books on home making every day. So, I give my best in anything and leave the rest to God”.
Safiya...'I had to leave the ministry of information
because the new regime couldnt recognize quality of thought and creativity'.
What I have learnt from Marriage
 Safiya spoke on what marriage has done to her off career line and people that has given her enough courage to face marriage “I think it has made me build more muscles; more muscles in terms of psychology. Because when you have a coach, a coach makes you do three or four more seat-ups and you develop muscles; I think marriage has made me develop more muscles. And you now understand who you are as a person and it makes you look deep and remember what you are here for as a person because you can get side tracked by other things. And if you allow other things to distract you, you will not achieve your purpose because other things will becloud your sense of reasoning and what you are meant to be. Because there is time to be a mother, there is time to be a career woman; there is time to be married. But if you allow your own existence to be distracted by the definition of whom you are by other people, then before you miss it, your existence will be altered and you are not able to mentor or assist other people in redeeming their worth in life and to become better people.
As a wife and a mother, you must be able to give other young women things that they can aspire to and they can see and say ‘okay, this person is married; despite challenges, she is still focused. The only thing that is constant in life is change but in between the constants, you have to be focused. And I think marriage has equally taught me that you have to be focused. If you are not focused, you got your kids looking up to you. So, you already got your own team. They are looking at you as their own leader and you can’t afford to mislead them. I let God direct my life really. I leave it to God; every day I pray to God, there are times you pray more, there are times you pray less. But there must be prayer so that God will dictate and direct me and God is giving me muscles and because it is a different terrain, it is different from what I know, what I understand because I have always been work, work, work. So, creating the time to mentor the kids and give them their own happiness has really changed me. Their happiness makes me to be happy. But you need to give them the biggest legacy.

People I admire in Child Rearing
Safiya gave kudos to people whose life style has stood as a mirror for others to see through and dress well “Looking at my own grand mum with the quality training she gave my mum which was transferred down to us. I look at great families and how they were able to raise great children to manage their legacies. For instance, I look at Chief Subomi Balogun and I often read his own achievements like a book----he has been able to create a successful institution which he handed over to a great and disciplined child. He has been able to get a second generation. So you can see there is a level of discipline.

The Demani Bisket Ltd boss welcomes
the GDA to her textile session
That is what Subomi has done with his kids---successful transition. I look at the Olagunsoye Oyinlolas, the Aliko Dangotes, the Bamanga Tukurs, they all have successful, level headed children taking after them in various endeavors. The Bola Ajibolas are fantastic---they all have seven great lawyers, a SAN and a federal High Court Judge; that is discipline---extra-ordinary discipline. People like the owner of Mama Cass Kitchen, her daughter opened up a new restaurant in London recently, that is successful transfer of knowledge and discipline. I have had encounter with Aliko Dangote’s children; they are humble and the way they think marvels me, you know that this man has raised sound children. Although everything is bound to the gift of God but you must just do your own bit and leave the rest with God; so, Aliko is very blessed with that.  Those are things that move me. That is what I want for my children, a legacy of prudence, hard work, humility and enterprise”.
I admire Mrs Hellen Prest Ayaji’s style of raising kids too. She was a Miss Nigeria under 20 and went on to study law and became a lawyer. She has three beautiful girls; Tiffany, Tosen and Tomisin who are all focused. They are very cultured and grounded and even her eldest daughter, Tiffany who is also a lawyer like her mum went on to run for the MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN NIGERIA beauty contest two years ago and she did extremely well. She now works with her mum to run their online business uwantit.com. such an incredible family of serious people.
Tribute to my Grand Mother
Rounding off the memoir like interview, Safiya was asked to pay tribute to another person that influenced her to success after her mum and it was like she has been waiting for such a question as she exclaimed the first line of answer with great exitement “Yes, that is my grand mother (Chief Mrs. Alaba Christianah Okeowo aka Alagbara Wura of Ijebu Land) because she mentored me; aside of that, she came from no where and had nothing. And she worked so hard, at the time we were young, she sent us to boarding school in England. And she achieved so much in her life time and she retired at the age of 40. So, someone like her from no where; she did not go abroad but she just aimed very high for the best, she is a success story. She is someone that I really looked up to. I look at her life and I know everything is possible. Because she has a native wisdom, she does not believe in women starving for long under a husband. She will say “Se o Lowo?” (Do you have hands?) Meaning that if you have hands, you can marry any man but you must equally work. That was her philosophy. And her dream for me was to get married and have a child before she died, and that was achieved. That was her biggest dream and it was achieved before her death three yeas ago. She produced my mother and my aunty (Nikky Africana) and you know they have achieved so much because of her, they are also into property. I learn a lot of wisdom from her when I go and sit down with her at home (Ijebu). I usually go to Ijebu to go and hang out with her when she was alive; I spend times with her because of her native wisdom. And I thank God for her life that she was able to see me marry; she was able to speak with my husband; that made her happy and I am glad that even towards her death he paid her a visit as well. She supported my marriage and died a very happy woman”.

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog

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