Africa’s manufacturing magnate and style icon, Chief (Mrs) Folashade Noimot Okoya, MON who is the Deputy Managing Director of Eleganza Industrial City, celebrated her 46th birthday on April 25, 2023 amidst pomp. Married to Aare Rasaq Akanni Okoya, the Aare of Lagos and chairman/CEO of Eleganza Group of Companies, Dr Shade Okoya added another feather to her cap in 2022 when she, alongside 437 others, were decorated with National honours awards conferred by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The formidable businesswoman is a recipient of the Member of the Order of the Niger, MON award. The award was presented by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 11, 2022 at the State House in Abuja. In this interview, she shares her marital experience in her 24-year-old marriage
Owambevibes: I must confess that you look so trim for a mother of four. How did you manage this?
Thank you and welcome to my home. I have been blessed, I eat right, I sleep very well and everything just worked out the way I planned.
A lot of people see the Shade that is the fashionista, that is a celebrity but the real Shade I heard works so hard. Tell us what you do away from the cameras especially in the Eleganza Industrial City
The journey has been a very wonderful one so far. People have their opinion regarding what they think about me but I think majority of my close friend know I work day in day out. That is one of the reasons we brought out the Eleganza Industrial City. It is less than 10 years, it is a baby of the Eleganza Group of Companies. It is a new dream come true for the Eleganza Group. It is different kind of joy when you dream of something and it actually becomes a reality. We do chairs, we have over 68 designs of chairs. Most people see the glitz and glamour but I have been married to my husband for 24 years and I have been working all these years. People who are close know how hard I work.
Getting married to someone who is a workaholic how were you able to fit in?
He made me realise that he likes to work and that is part of his life. He made me understand that if I want to make it work, I had to work like him.
You got married at 21 when your husband was 59, was age a barrier at all?
My husband was very sincere. That alone got me. I just knew this is where I wanted to be. A Yoruba proverb says, “You do not look at the crowd or people around you but focus on where you want to go.” I do not believe in doing something and failing so having taken that decision, I had to make sure and do everything so it works.
Tell us what we don’t know about your husband
My husband is a very open person. He is very generous to a fault .He is a very loving person, very loving as a result of being shy, he tries to hide away from some things. He is a very shy man. They will think he is quiet. This makes us work very well because I am very shy person myself. My shyness makes me keep calm.
You have said he is a very loving person, is it that love that swept you off your feet 24 years ago?
My husband is very loving and very caring. We are all humans, and it depends on what you see that makes you think, okay let me give this think a thought. My husband will tell you that he is a go-getter, he will tell you that he never loses in anything he wants. Anything he desires, he works towards getting it
So you are one of those things he won?
(Laughs) I guess so.
What attracted you to him?
(She pauses for a second) and then answers: Maybe his hardwork. His hard work and his generosity.
When you got married 24 years ago, there were a lot of criticisms, how did you feel?
I was young and when you are young, you do not listen to comments, when you grow older. Then I just said it was my choice, I just thought it was my life and it was the way I present my life that matters and people would take me for who I am
That decision you took 24 years ago if given the opportunity will you do it again?
I think I would have done it at a much younger age. Now when I look back, I look at my children, growing as tall as me, the fun I have with them as a mother now, I would have loved to have some years earlier. I would have wanted my children to be older now, we hang out a lot. I would have wanted them to be more matured.
If your daughter comes to tell you he wants to marry a man of that age would you allow her?
It is her choice. I made my choice and now I am happy. If I had married a younger man, I wouldn’t have lasted in that relationship.
Source: Metrofile on Channels TV