Deaconess Victoria Bolanle Oginni, the foresighted mother and grandmother who pioneered the pure water business in Nigeria, just clocked 60. Excited and very, very thankful to God, YES INTERNATIONAL!’s AZUH ARINZE chatted her up on Wednesday, October 1, 2014, inside her office in Ojodu-Berger, Lagos. Excerpts…
You are going to be 60 on October 9. Tell us, how does it feel to be 60?
I just feel like I’m still a baby (General laughter). I just feel like when I was 18, 25, because the brain is just like that. I even ask myself – is it true that I am 60? I can still do a lot of things that I used to do before and my body has not changed. Not much change. The only thing that changed are the children because they are now married, they have their own families. My baby that I used to call baby, there was a day he said mummy, don’t call me baby o; I may surprise you and get married next year and I said hey! So, it’s just been fun and I thank God.
So, what is going to change about you now that you are 60?
A lot of things. Before I was not used to African dresses. I love jeans trousers to be going about; even in the house. But right now, I will reduce my jeans. I will do more of native dresses than English unlike before. But going to church will be suits.
What is the greatest lesson that life has taught you at 60?
A lot! Because I have to let people know this. I’m going to do a little explanation on life in total. I’m doing a journal for people on how they can start their own businesses, the problems they can face. I faced a lot of problems. People that you don’t expect will disappoint you; people you didn’t expect will steal from you, they will do it and when they do it, and they face you; face to face, you will say eee! Can this one happen to me? I have learnt a lot, because I didn’t think that things can be like this.
Do you have any regret at 60?
Not at all. I don’t have any regret at all, except in business. The reason why I said business is because my business, where it’s supposed to be now is not where it is. People love the products (Blessed Water) I’m selling, but because of the bad eggs that I employed sometime ago and they did bad things to the business, that’s the only regret. In my life, I’ve never borrowed money from the bank, but when the problem started, I started borrowing money. That’s my only regret in life. But I’ve promised God that before I hand over the business to my children, I will not owe anybody, even one naira.
So, when are you planning to hand over the business to your children?
Maybe when I’m 65 or 63.
What is the best way to attain success and to be able to sustain it?
Hmmm! You have to be able to get out of challenges. Some people, when they see challenges, they will think that the world is over. But it’s not. So, the problem that you have today can be a stepping stone to something higher, because when you are doing anything, you must expect challenges. There must be challenges and how you manage the challenges is the success story.
What plans have you got for your 60th, how do you intend to celebrate it?
It’s not me; it’s the people. Left for me, I’ve said I’m not doing anything. But my children, my friends, my family are insisting. But I’ve said don’t do anything now because I want my children to be around and they cannot leave their jobs in the U.K (United Kingdom) and come to Nigeria. So, maybe on that day or the next Sunday, I will do a thanksgiving in the church and a light refreshment. But by December; we are looking at the first week or the second week, we will unveil our products and empower some people. That’s only what we want to do.
What is the greatest thing that God has done for you at 60?
The name, the name of the business and that I can pioneer something and people accepted it and that I am still in business. Because it is not everybody that started this thing (pure water business) with me that is still there. If at all there are, they cannot be more than three. So, I’m really happy. If I look at my life, I think the pass mark is greater than the failure.
What did you ask God to do for you at 60 that He hasn’t done yet?
There’s nothing o! Is it company? To build a house? Even good health, God gave me. But the greatest thing is that I know that I have Jesus in my life. I have joy. And no matter what challenges I face, I always know that God is there for me.
Can we talk about your children? What are their names and what do they do?
Some of them will not like it o! But Dele is managing one arm of the business in Ibadan (Oyo State) and Funmi is working with one investment bank in London; Laide got married in 2011 and she’s working with an investment bank in the UK also and my baby; he’s still schooling in the UK and he’s going to be 23. His name is Opeyemi.
What is your dream for Blessed Water?
So many people now want to invest in the business; before the end of the year, and because I don’t want the business to die after me. So, even if I live for another 60 years, I cannot be as useful as I was. So, I don’t want this business to go after me. I want it to continue. That is why I am thinking of investors – private investors – so that the business can move to the next level.
God has done a lot for you already, what more do you want Him to do for you?
Good health! And I need more grand children…
How many do you have already?
Only two! But I need like ten (General laughter).