Friday, 19 February 2016

Birthday Exclusive: What Buhari’s wife told me in Aso Rock — LateToto Abuga’s Widow + Her Secret Relationship with New Ooni of Ife


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Mrs. Abiola Oredein Olatunji, CEO, Olori Fabrics with the GDA after the encounter
Abiola Oredein Olatunji
aka Madam Toto Abuga added a year today but she is not fifty yet. Since early in the day, her friends from all parts of the universe (Belgium, America, London, UAE and Lagos) have kept her online accounts on twitter and face book activated with birthday wishes and greetings, wishing the Ogere Remo, Ogun State-South West Nigeria born International business woman joy, long life and happiness. To this big and beautiful woman, every February 19 is an anniversary of the celebration of Go’s kindness in her life. She is happy and giving all thanks back to God for lifting her in the spirit and other related areas of her life. When Asabeafrika put a call to her London phone this morning, she could only say a word “I thank Jesus for my life. He is the author and finisher of my faith”.

Biola who lost her husband Alhaji Lookman Alade Olatunji aka Toto Abuga 8 years ago precisely on Saturday June 8, 2008 to the bullets of unknown assassins who killed him on his way from the airport while returning from London for a business transaction in Lagos, is graceful to God for keeping her and her lovely kids alive till date. She has gone through many challenges and troubles since she became a single mother but all the challenges have made her to be more emboldened staying through with strong will through Christ her savior and Rock of ages.
Early in the year, your Africa’s number 1 Celebrity Encounter blog Asabeafrika met and spoke with Madam Abuga during a short visit to Nigeria. Madam Biola Olatunji who had a private dinner with the First Lady Hajia Aisha Buhari with other CHANGE agents last December, 2015 inside the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja regaled us with some of the things Mrs. Buhari discussed with her and her colleagues. She equally shared her relationship with the brand new Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) with us and why Oba Ogunwusi is the best thing that happened to The Source Ile-Ife in 2016. The interview which took place inside her Magodo GRA-Lagos-South West Nigeria office in the early part of the year is quite refreshing and interesting. Enjoy the excerpts.
Madam Abiola Oredein Olatunji CEO, Olori Fabrics, Lagos
Madam Toto Abuga to Asabeafrika...'Our Women must be focused in 2016 and they will get results'
The year 2016 seems to have started on a low side, how are you going to describe the season from your own end as a business woman?
My own perception to it all is to thank God continuously for His mercy because any position you find yourself in life, the only good thing to do is to praise God. I thank God that I am alive even though the economy has really fallen on an all time low. But I must still be thanking God because some people are out there in the hospital that are not healthy and that is the main reason why we should thank God, because we have our health in shape. I know and I hope there is hope for 2016 because I had a dinner with the first lady and some other eminent Nigerians on the 22nd of December, 2015. And the first lady Hajia Aisha Buhari gave us an assurance of hope, she said Nigerians should be patient because things will still be good, that Rome was not built in a day, that we all voted for CHANGE and the CHANGE has come but we cannot all expect that same CHANGE to come upon us like magic. It is going to take a process and gradually we will come into our new ambience. President Buhari is not a magician; this country has really gone bad. The situation is terribly bad economically and to now turn everything around in a jiffy is going to take the grace of God, if you want this country to come back to normalcy and everything move like it ought to be, then we need lots of tolerance for Government to diagnose the problems and rectify everything. It will take a long process and the process has just started. 

“Even though her husband, Mr. President frowns at establishing the office of a First Lady but her job at the moment is more of a mother of the nation. It is just damn too selfless and tasking and some of us appreciate that in her. So, I can conveniently tell you that Mrs. Buhari is a mother and Nigerians will soon see the fruits of her motherly candor” 

Madam with the Love of Her Life, Toto Abuga on their wedding Day
How would you describe Hajia Aisha Buhari from your encounter with her?
Phenomenally, she is a unique person. Economically, she is moderate in appearance. She is not a flamboyant person. I think that is also a reflection of her husband. Morally, she is caring; she is a mother and a kind person. She is someone who has human feeling; she is not a self-centered person, she is someone that is self-less and hardworking, doing all her possible best to see that all section of the society is supporting her husband.  Even though her husband, Mr. President frowns at establishing the office of a First Lady but her job at the moment is more of a mother of the nation. It is just damn too selfless and tasking and some of us appreciate that in her. So, I can conveniently tell you that Mrs. Buhari is a mother and Nigerians will soon see the fruits of her motherly candor.
I watched you make a speech at the Palace of the new Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi on the day of his coronation. How would you describe the new Ooni of Ile-Ife; we learnt you are close to him?
I am not related to the new Ooni, we only share a mutual friend and it stops there. We are close on business level especially in the area of real estate where I also play my part. That is what brought us together. He is a gentle man, an educated and self enlightened Nigerian and a royal blood per excellence.
Two of the Bests; Abiola & Odunola; Sisters for life...
People said he is too young to become the Ooni at 41, how do you react to that?
Honestly I don’t know where that opinion emanated from, that the new Ooni is too young to sit on the throne of his fore-fathers; I don’t know why they say that; when the present Awujale was crowned as a king on April 2nd 1960, he was just 26 years old. 
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And we now have Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi coming on stage at age 41, he can’t be old, he is the right choice. I congratulate the people of Ile-Ife for choosing the right person. It is a great honor, looking at Oba Ogunwusi you will see that he is a traditionalist, he is someone that believes in himself and you can see that from his enterprise. For instance when I visited his resort (Inagbe Resort) I was overwhelmed. I was happy that a young man could posses such knowledge and discipline for doing things. I think the people of Ile-Ife should count themselves lucky for having Prince Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi as their new king; they should be so, so, so happy. I can tell you that Kabiyesi is doing a whole lot of things right now. A lot of projects are going on in Ile-Ife, the Kabiyesi has already began to establish a resort and Ife might become  even more beautiful than Lagos because I can see that Kabiyesi is taking Ile-Ife to a high level. And I am so happy that this kind of thing is happening in the life of Ife people.

“I can tell you that Kabiyesi is doing a whole lot of things right now. A lot of projects are going on in Ile-Ife, the Kabiyesi has already began to establish a resort and Ife might become even more beautiful than Lagos because I can see that Kabiyesi is taking Ile-Ife to a high level”

Madam Abuga in the course of the interview
So, you are saying that the new Ooni despite having a father and a senior brother is not too young to ascend the throne of his fore-fathers?
You heard me right, age is just a number. Wisdom and understanding is what is required to lead a royal court. And Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has it; do we expect Ife to have a 70 or 80 years old man as a king? This is the kind of traditional leader I think Ife people desire for themselves and with time we will begin to see the wisdom in having Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi as Ooni of Ile-Ife. They should just count themselves lucky for having such a man as their king because he is a traditionalist and one man who believe so much in our own thing, our local product. One thing I love him (Ooni of Ife) for is the fact that he keeps saying “Oti Seese”. He is an optimist who does not believe in failure. He is not someone who does things in half measures and I think I am very happy that the people of Ile-Ife choose him as their new supreme head.
Madam Toto Abuga meets the GDA in a relaxing form in her Lagos office
Unfortunately you are not from Ile-Ife but from Ibadan?
I am not from Ibadan I am from Ogere-Remo in Ogun state. Yes, I am so happy for Ife people and I wish I can change my home town to Ife because where Ife is going to be in years to come; it will simply become a tourist and business destination for all and that is what I see happening with Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi on the throne.
Mrs. Abiola Oredein Olatunji added a year on February 19
Madam Toto Abuga to Asabeafrika...'Mrs. Aisha Buhari surprises me with her simplicity'
What advice do you have for Nigerian women in 2016 especially in the face of challenging economic situation like we have it now?
My own advice for Nigerian women is number one, be focused. If you can be focused with your business you won’t go wrong with it. I think basically, production will be the main thing in the years to come.  We can see the Naira crashing down big time against the effect of crude oil global downturn. My advice for women generally is to be innovative, be productive, be faithful and dream big and soon you will be big. Let me re assure all our women folk that 2016 is our year. All this while when Mr. President took over, people kept complaining and that is part of the address the first lady told us in the banquet we had with her in Abuja, she said we Nigerians should be patient. That everything that has been promised the youth, our women folk and everybody would be fulfilled. Especially the N5000 for jobless youth, this is the first time we are having such a welfarist policy in Nigeria, to give N5000 monthly. Even if N5000 cannot do anything, at least it is better than nothing. She said the promise is still on and I can say that will manifest in due time, this country has been bastardized and Mr. President is just on a rescue mission and you can see that he is having a sleepless nights turning things around. He is a great man and all we need for him is prayer. Nigeria is a tough country; Mr. President has the best team of ministers that can turn around things for him. 

“My advice for women generally is to be innovative, be productive, be faithful and dream big and soon you will be big. Let me re assure all our women folk that 2016 is our year”.

Madam Toto Abuga to Asabeafrika...'Ife people are the luckiest this time around for chosing Oba Ogunwusi'
The Birthday Girl Mrs. Abiola Oredein Olatunji
Who is your best minister in the new cabinet?
All of them are very great in their various capacities but my best of the best is Babatunde Raji Fashola and Alhaji Lai Mohammed. Those two are good numbers among the team of great brains and I can vouch for them.
Madam with Publisher and CEO of CITY PEOPLE Magazine Dr. Seye Kehinde
Do you think Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola can cope with the three portfolios of Works, Housing and Power?
I think he can, we will all keep praying for him. I mean, if someone like him can handle Lagos and his 8 years reign in Lagos is successful, I believe BRF has the gut to change things. With God, all things are possible. Fashola can do it, Works, housing and Power. He can do it. Because Mr. President who chooses him knows his capacity for the job; more over, Asiwaju (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) doesn’t train a failure.
Madam with her dearest sister, Odunola
You graduated recently from the University of Middlesex, London where you obtained a degree in Theology. What are you doing presently?
Yes, I am doing my masters and I have a crash program I am doing in Abuja. I am studying Business Law.
Your Olori Fabrics is now the number 1 in Lagos social circle for Aso Ebi and other fashion accessories, how did you achieve this?
I believe in quality and it is quite simple, if you are a man of quality and you are a woman of quality, you will of course, patronize Olori Fabrics because we deal in genuine and quality fabrics direct from the source in Europe. I just believe in being unique and maybe that is the reason why our brand is in high order. 
A fleet of her Olori Super Fabrics on display

Another fleets of her Olori Super Fabrics on Display





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