STILL ON VALENTINE: 15 CELEBRITY COUPLES SHARE THEIR LOVE STORIES + The Secrets Of Their Happy Marriages
Universally, millions of people have come to acknowledge and celebrate every February 14 as Lovers’ Day. That is Valentine’s Day. The special day, named after St. Valentine, who got matyred for his belief and support for love, in Nigeria, is usually a festival of sorts. With lovers exchanging cards, flowers and myriad other romantic gifts. In marking this year’s – which is just days away – YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine got some admirable couples to share their love stories as well as the secrets of how they’ve been sustaining their marriages. We spoke to both the old and the young – so as to get all the shades and colours of love – and their stories will surely excite and enthrall you. Enjoy…
NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF THE FUNDAMENTALS – SO & U Advertising’s Udeme Ufot
You have risen to the pinnacle of your profession. Your wife, Mrs. Dorothy Ufot, SAN, has also risen to hers. How easy is it for two extremely successful people to live under one roof, because some people believe that two captains can’t navigate one ship?
I think the most important thing is that when you are in a Christian marriage, all parties know their responsibilities; what each party has to bring to the table. A man is the master of the home and has a duty to ensure that he conducts himself accordingly. The woman, no matter how highly placed, is the home maker and therefore must commit to do likewise – understanding, mutual respect for each other and love. When two people have come together under mutual respect, with a strong love and appreciation for each other, they can be better placed to weather storms. Success should not drive couples apart; it should actually bring them together. My wife would always say that my drive in setting up and running SO & U was also a key motivation for her to say look, this thing is possible. It also drove her to her own success and at the end of the day when we come back home, there is a lot to share. When we’ve done all the skirmishes, at the end of the day, we come back home and we begin to relate our experiences on the warfront of business; we encourage each other, we share experiences. So, we actually turn the bedroom somehow into a small business class. I’m mentoring, she’s encouraging and she’s supporting me. Yes, my wife sees a stake in SO & U, I see a stake in Dorothy Ufot & Co, because it’s one family. So, it’s important that she succeeds, it’s important that I succeed. Yes, the man must bring the bread to the table, you must understand the husband you married, you must also understand the wife that you married. I know very well that I encourage my wife to go all out and succeed in her profession, because I know that the kind of person she is, if it were otherwise, she will not feel fulfilled or be happy. And of course that is going to affect her marriage in a way. So, I encourage her. I give her all the support and of course she’s very concerned and we’ve been very blessed that even in raising our children; they also have come to really appreciate what we do as parents, how it affects their lives and everybody is very supportive.
Why do most marriages crumble?
I think people lose sight of the fundamentals. When two people have committed to going into marriage, the most important thing is the two of them and they must constantly commit to keep up the excitement, keep up the fun and keep the love burning. It’s only natural that after a while someone in whom you saw only excellence begins to show signs you may not like, but you have a choice not to keep focusing on those inadequacies and perpetually finding faults and become total nuisance to each other. What then happens? You begin to drift apart. Then somebody else catches your fancy and before you know it irredeemable differences set in and there’s no way it won’t fall apart. And as in everything else in life, a successful marriage requires lots of investments, lots of commitments and loyalty to each other and that is the key.
UNDERSTANDING MATTERS – Capital Oil’s Ifeanyi Ubah
Your wife, Mrs. Uchenna Ubah, how did you meet her?
I met my wife in the village. It was on one occasion when I came to Nigeria. I told my parents that with what was happening in Congo then, I felt it was time for me to marry. I married at a very tender age.
How old were you when you met her?
21. I took it upon myself to do that.
You didn’t tell us how you met her?
Just in front of her father’s house. I saw her with another girl I knew. So, I asked the girl who she was. She introduced her. I went home, that same day, I told my mother I had met my wife. And other things followed immediately.
So, what attracted her to you?
Accepting me. She is from an upper family. She just liked me, not withstanding our different backgrounds.
What would say has sustained your marriage this far?
Her understanding of what I do. Love and understanding. That is all.
Are you looking at having more kids, or you have drawn the curtain as far as having kids is concerned?
I have five kids.
All my kids are miraculous kids. The first one is Chidera (what God has written). The second one, Ifeanyichukwu (nothing is impossible with God) and the third, Chukwudumebi (the Lord is with me). Then, there is Chibuikem (the Lord is my strength) and Ejimchukwu (I have God). So, they all have something to do with God.
You are always busy, do you ever have time for relaxation?
I do. That’s why I say marriage is about understanding. My wife knows what she has to face at any particular time.
PATIENCE, COMMUNICATION IMPORTANT – Movie maker, Chico Ejiro
Let’s talk about your family. Can you tell us about them? And how you met your wife?
Okay, I met my wife, Joy, in UNILAG in 1994, at Two Can Play, which I directed for Opa Williams. Then, we got married in 98 in Sapele. We have four kids…
What are their names?
The eldest one is called Kome, he’s in King’s College; Ruke – Holy Child College; Maro and Viano. I decided to give my kids my local names from Isoko in Delta State because I want them to know their background and their identity. When you hear Kome, you know it’s from Delta State. You get to a point in your life that you want to live for your kids and your family.
Marriages in your sector hardly last, but yours is still going strong. Why?
Why my own has been strong is because there are some principles about life. If you see any marriage, you will think there is no problem, but it is not so. I will tell you just one small story – when I got married, three years after I got married, I got so pissed off about marriage that I said I wanted to walk away. And I went to meet the Registrar and the woman sat me and my wife down and gave us education. So, since that day, we now understood that in marriage you must be patient, you must solve your own problem yourself, a third party must not come in. There’s a key word in marriage, it’s called communication. You must learn how to talk to your wife. Once you come back, don’t just sleep, don’t think you are king kong, don’t think you are too much, you have so much money, who is she? No, no, no…don’t do that. I go to market 90 percent of the time in my house, I cook, because I like to cook. Don’t allow your friends to deceive you. In our marriage, nobody should come between us; we settle our problems. There are times we don’t talk, but the following day we just say do you know you are a very useless man, stupid woman, ehen! Don’t allow your friends to say I saw your husband, I saw your wife. No, no, no…So, we understand that and it’s been keeping us. But in Nollywood, why marriages don’t work; one day I will go and give them a small lecture. I’m sorry to say this – the girls feel they are too big, above the men, while the guys, those ones that cannot manage their marriages, believe in what we call king kong. King kong believes I’m too much, who is this woman? So, until they can come together, you the lady, you are submissive…you cannot have a husband and 24 hours you are on locations, everyday you travel round the world, next tomorrow you are in one party in London and you say you are a married woman. How will it work? Or because you are richer than the boy, you cannot cook for him, you employ a house girl or your younger sister to be taking care of your husband. E be like Fela song – she go say I be lady! Your husband smokes, you smoke, your husband clubs, you club; you wan talk say I am a star. Why? Because one big billionaire is investing money on you. When you go out, all the people are shouting super star, super star, super star. So, they should separate their lives and marriages from acting and become humble. But there are some good examples in Nollywood o! All of them are not just bad. We have people like Chioma Chukwuka – Apotha, she has been keeping her marriage; Omotola Jalade has been keeping her marriage, Sister Joke Silva. A lot of them have been keeping their marriages. So, those who cannot keep theirs should go and learn from those who keep their marriages.
BEING GOOD FRIENDS HELP – Top comedian, Basketmouth
How much of a family man are you?
100 percent family man! I live two lives. When I’m on stage, I’m Basketmouth, when I’m at home, I’m Bright, the husband, father and I give 100 percent to fatherhood, I give 100 percent to marriage, I give 100 percent to everything that concerns the family and trust me, I’m a 100 percent family man. In fact, if I were doing a reality show, it would sell.
You are constantly busy, how do you create time for your family?
What I do is, most times, when I’m out of the country or out of Lagos State and I come back, I cancel as many appointments as I can in Lagos and I do not leave my house. That’s why you won’t get to hear oh, Basketmouth was here, he was there! I stay indoors, I stay with the kids, I stay with my wife. Whenever I’m in town, I give them my time and I probably take one day to knock business off. But I try as much as possible to give them every part of me.
Let’s meet your family, tell us about your family…
Yeah, I’ve got a wife. My wife’s name is Elsie. And I’ve got two kids – Janelle Ngozi Okpocha and Jason Chigozie Okpocha. The J came from my wife. She loves alphabet J. Jesus Christ! She’s very ‘churcheous’.
What would you say has been sustaining your young marriage? Celebrity marriages crash almost everyday…
Ah! Mine is going to last forever. And I can tell you that for sure, because of the kind of relationship I have with my wife. We dated for about 7 years, we fought, we’ve seen our ‘shit’. We’ve seen ourselves 100 percent. She’s the only person that actually understands me, she’s the only one that can tame me, she’s the only one that can make me go hyper, she’s like my best friend and that’s one thing that has sustained us. She understands me and I understand her. And the thing is, most people don’t understand this – a happy wife is a happy home. Even when she’s the one that is at fault and she’s a little bit embarrassed by what she’s done, I try not to put it in her face, I respect her feelings and I try as much as possible to own up to some of her faults to make her feel good. You know women, they love to be pampered. So, in as much as she’s learnt her lesson, but when the whole drama is over, I now call her and say baby, that thing you did, it was very wrong o! But I don’t make it public, I don’t put it in her face, I make the situation calm down and I try as much as possible to make her as comfortable as she can be. My wife is someone that is not materialistic and she doesn’t want to get into the kind of life that I live. She appreciates a lot and that’s one of the things that will keep us going. Because truly, once you bring your family out in the public, you are prone to a lot of damage, because I’m experienced, she is not. My kids are not experienced. They will make mistakes and people will pick on it. So, as long as my family issues are not outside, what we do inside stays inside, what I do outside stays outside, it helps. And my wife is the kind of person that respects my ‘hustle’, she understands me 100 percent, we understand ourselves and trust me, that’s one of the things. Understanding, friendship, love and all. That’s what is keeping us.
ADVENTURE LED TO MY MARRIAGE – Nordica’s Dr. Abayomi Ajayi
Tell us about madam and how both of you met?
Oh! My wife. She works here too. She makes sure that everything goes on well. She’s Ranti, but she prefers to be called Tola at work. Okay, this is the story – I was in Ibadan (Oyo State), I went to do my NYSC in Ibadan and like any young man, I was looking for adventure. So, I went to a clinic, and then I saw this beautiful girl and in my mind I just said okay, fine; another one bites the dust. Of course, one thing led to another and here we are.
OPEN YOUR HEARTS TO EACH OTHER – Music star, Tunde Obe
How does it feel to be doing the same thing with your wife?
I guess maybe because we met doing this. It’s not strange. It wasn’t like we got together, then we started music. We were musicians. She was on her own, we were in school, she was doing her thing with her own band; I was doing my own thing with my own band – Turning Point. And when her own brand broke up, she joined my band. So, we met as musicians and we were both singers, then we became friends, then we found out that we had so much in common and here we are years later.
Are there times you feel like being on your own and without Wunmi? Because you people are always together, both at home and at events…
I have actually told her before that her juju is very powerful. I have told her many times – the day I discover your juju man, I will strangle him so I can be free of this. But sincerely speaking, I never get bored with my wife. I don’t know why, I can’t explain it, but I really always look forward to seeing her; I always wanna be with her and it’s vice versa. Even when I travel, if I have to travel for any reason, we are on the phone for like 2,3 hours at a time. It’s ridiculous that after 25 years it’s still like this. I don’t know whether other people’s marriages are like that. But for me, it’s shocking that we enjoy each other’s company so much, up till now. I mean, I am telling you that I am shocked; I’m amazed about it. Maybe as we get older we will be bored with each other, but for now, I enjoy being with her. Unfortunately, we are not together as much as people think. We are only together when we work and all that. Most of the time, she goes to do one run, I go to do another thing. Right now, she’s not even back home. I’m missing her and hoping she will come back soon.
What do you love most about Wunmi?
I think the fact that she has a good heart. You see, in these end times, you find that a lot of people are just wicked in their hearts. People come into relationships with already pre-set goals and targets; what they want to achieve in that relationship and it’s all about them. And you can never make a relationship work when it’s all about you; both partners in that team have to open their hearts. You have to open your heart to the other person, take all the nonsense and then you have to be ready to forgive; you have to respect the other person. You can’t be married to somebody you don’t respect. So, for me, what I love most is her heart. She has a good heart and no matter how she comes across sometimes, I know that inside, she’s only protecting that soft heart she has. She’s very loving.
Anytime there is a disagreement, how do you resolve it?
Okay, I’m the kind of person that if you offend me, the first thing I do is to keep quiet. Because I’ve realized that most marriages are broken within that first second when you react; what you say first is always the nastiest thing that can come out of a human being’s mouth – to your partner! The things that when they repeat them to you later, you will deny you said them. You will say no, no, no, I couldn’t have said that. If somebody annoys you, the first thing you want to say is you are mad, you are stupid, something nasty must come out. So, what I do is I keep quiet first. I keep quiet until I’ve calmed down. Then, when you have calmed down, you can now articulate your points and discuss it like a business proposal or tell yourself that a client has offended you or a business partner has done something. Take it away from the marriage so that it will be easier for you to put your words together. That’s what I do. Otherwise you will find yourself saying things to somebody and they will never really totally forgive you, because you’ve said something you don’t really mean and they might not believe you don’t mean it. They will say oh, that thing that came from your heart, all these ones is because you have calmed down. So, cool down first before you talk. And if you have a reasonable partner also, that person too will understand. And once it starts getting heated, walk away.
What’s the nicest thing that Wunmi has done for you?
It has to be regarding the kids (Roxanne, Ricardo and Charles). Carrying the children, three of them for nine months. If you see them when they are in their third trimester or what do they call that thing of pregnancy, you will pity them o! They will look like ballon. I mean, I think that for me is the nicest thing. They are our kids anyway, but it’s a lot of sacrifice for a woman to lose her body like that for nine months.
DON’T FORGET THE GOD-FACTOR – Slot’s Nnamdi Ezeigbo
When you are not engaged in the business of running and administering SLOT, what keeps you busy?
I love travelling with my wife; I love travelling with my wife and the kids and then if I’m around, I like playing lawn tennis.
Can we talk about them (your family)?
Yeah! My wife is a very wonderful person. Her name is Nkechi. Funny enough, we registered SLOT together; we are both shareholders in SLOT. SLOT was established by two directors. I met her the same year (1998) we started and together we established SLOT and we work together…
How did you meet her?
I just saw her. I’m a very prayerful person. Whatever I want, I connect it to God and believe that when you have faith, you will achieve whatever you want. There’s God-factor in everything. I’m such a careful person when it comes to spiritual things. And so I was praying for a wife and when I saw her, I knew that she was the one. I didn’t want to bother my head about that. I just knew she was my wife. I remember telling my friends 6 months before then that I was looking for a wife and they just laughed. So, I prayed for 6 months before I met my wife and she’s been very wonderful. She’s been at the back-end, managing our accounts, managing our treasury and making sure that we have a water-tight account system.
Can you tell us about your children?
I’m blessed with four lovely kids – I have three boys and a girl: Chuba, Chuka, Chudi, Chudera.
I WAS JUST WALKING PAST WHEN I SIGHTED MY WIFE – X3M Ideas’ Steve Babaeko
How much of a family man are you?
For me, family first. You see, I love my family to the end of the world and back, just like every man. Family is important. We have a responsibility to take care of the kids, so you have to support your family. The family supports you too. I mean, if you don’t know that after all the hard work, after all the stress you go through doing this business, you go home and you meet your family and you feel happy, you are in trouble. Without that, one will go crazy on this job. So, for me, my family is very important. I mean, there are certain days of the week that you don’t bother calling me. On a Sunday, I’m not gonna pick up. It’s the only time I have time to spend with my family. I’m not even allowed to pick up my phone.
How did you meet your wife, Yetunde?
I was working in Prima Garnet and she came to Nigeria. She was just supposed to be here for 6 months to check out where her father was born, because her mom is German. I was just walking past and I saw this beautiful woman; she’s a photographer, making a presentation on photography in an office and I went there and we got talking. I ran into her at another place and the rest is history. I met her 10 years ago, but we’ve been married now for like 7 years. Our wedding anniversary was on the 23rd of September…
You have two kids, tell us about them…
Lovely guys! Louis and Lamar. Yeah! Wonderful boys. One is just trying to guide them towards wherever their destinies or their dreams lie. At the end of the day, they are your children, but you can’t force them to be something; you can just assist and help them navigate this difficult journey called life. And I think that’s what we are trying to do.
COMMON INTERESTS BROUGHT US TOGETHER, CMC Connect’s Yomi Badejo-Okusanya
How did you meet your wife, Oyin and what fascinated you most the time you saw her?
I wouldn’t know because my wife was my cousin’s friend initially. But I never knew anything like that. In fact, I used to look at them as these small girls. I remember that she used to call my cousin and she will call very late and I could pick up the phone and say to her, do you know what time it is? It’s too late for you to call her, call her in the morning. I was that stern, older person to my cousin. And then subsequently we met in Abeokuta (Ogun State) and when you find people from the same background, but you are in another place; like if I find him in Benin for instance, he and I can become friends. So, from there, we became friends and that was it. We came back to Lagos and we didn’t see for a while and then I remember seeing her one day and I was saying ah-ah, who is this babe coming because I didn’t recognize her and when she came closer, I said ah, so it’s you, how are you doing and all that? We shared a lot of interests, we had a lot of interests, we had common interests and I think that it was the common interests that brought us together. We used to go out and not because we were dating. Like I said, we enjoyed common interests. There’s a place called Jazz Ville. We loved Jazz Ville (in Onike-Yaba, Lagos). Before Motherlan, there’s a place, it used to be called Bread and Butter on Allen Avenue (Ikeja, Lagos); then we used to go to Pintos. So, we shared a few common interests and then we loved plays, watching stage productions and one thing led to another… Apart from every other thing, I found her to be a very strong person. When I mean strong person, she’s a very focused person. When she wants something, she goes for it and she charts her path and for me, I had said to myself that I wanted to marry a woman that could hold forth and I’m not sounding morbid or anything. I think this probably happened because of my mum. When my father was alive, my mum wasn’t working and was what you could literally call a house wife and despite my father’s resources or what you can describe as ‘wealth’, because he was quite a well apportioned man, I found our standard of living dropping because my mum didn’t have the acumen to manage the business. She didn’t have it and she really couldn’t do it. My dad didn’t see it, he didn’t train her and probably of course he didn’t imagine he was gonna die when he died. So, he didn’t put her in the know. She was a director of the company quite alright, but I guess she was just doing whatever he told her, so she didn’t even know where to start from. So, one of the things that I quickly learnt was that I saw what happened to my mum and I said that a woman that would attract me would be one that would hold it with or without me, a woman that would complement what I’m doing and that woman definitely is my wife. If you know her very well, you will know what I’m saying. She’s very focused, she’s determined. She’s a very determined person, and once she says that this is what she thinks we should do, she sets her mind to it. There are people who do things and they say oh, God will do it. She’s not that person. Not that she doesn’t believe in God, but she knows that heaven helps those who help themselves. She will make sure she does her own part.
What don’t you like about your wife?
Okay, I’m going to be very diplomatic about this one. I think that determination has its own flip side. There are times you are trying to make her see reason, but won’t get her. She can be a very logical person. Let me give you an example. If she feels that Azuh has offended her, just using a word. And you say what is it, don’t say it, leave it, forget it. You and I can do…Tomorrow if I see Azuh I will say hey, how are you? She’s not like that. Until she tells Azuh that you offended me, the matter is not over. And you know what I found out, in a number of things it’s worked against her. But a lot of times it also works in her favour, because people now know that this is where she stands on this issue.
You have just one son, was it planned or something necessitated it?
Well, we didn’t plan it. But even at that we would have planned for a small family. We wouldn’t have had more than two children. But after my wife had our son, she had complications and she could have gone on to have another child, but I then said to myself, why risk her life? There’s a prayer that Yorubas have, that even that one child can be twenty. There are people who have 50 children, 30 children or 20 children and they don’t amount to anything. But you have one and your one can do what 50 or more can or cannot do. So, that’s my reason. I wasn’t ready to risk my wife’s life.
ALWAYS GO OUT WITH YOUR WIFE – Gospel music star, Sammie Okposo
You got married quite late. How is married life and how is marriage treating you?
Sweet! Sweet!! In fact, there was an article that said this is one celebrity that we see at almost every event with his wife, and I decided to do that deliberately because a lot of us think that we are too busy to take our wives to events and when you are not guarded, that is the protection. Anywhere you go, they are still saying hello, hello. So, right now, it’s a sweet union. 4 years! Somebody said ah-ah, e don reach 4 years just now? I said yes. July next year, I’m gonna be 5, then 6 and so on. And guess what? I am married for better, for worse because I didn’t go into it expecting it to be a bed of roses. Two different people have come together to form a union. Two different ideologies, two different backgrounds. So, as you go along, you will run against each other in unpleasant ways, but the best part of it is you are able to resolve it, the love is still glowing as you move on and the marriage and the family are still intact. I’m having fun as a married man.
Of all the beautiful girls you dated, why did you settle for your wife, Ozioma?
Without trying to discredit anybody, because any past relationship I have had, I respect, and a lot of them have moved into their own families, so I try my best to respect who they are now regardless of whatever we had in the past and that doesn’t make any of them unqualified or not a house wife material. No! It was a decision I made. All the relationships I had in my industry did not get me to that point where I could decide to say I do. Yeah, it went towards that direction, but it didn’t get there. So, I said to myself: dude, maybe you need to look away from this industry, maybe your life partner is not there, because sometimes people say if the person is in the entertainment industry, the person already understands how crazy your schedule is, knows that you would travel, you can be on tour for 6 months and because the person is in the industry, the person will understand. That’s what some people say. So, I thought that would work, but it didn’t work like that and it was not just a one-time thing. So, I decided; I said, take your mind away from the entertainment industry and look outside; maybe the wife you want to look for now would be out there and not in the industry. So, I deliberately took my mind away from the entertainment industry and I told myself that well, they are fantastic people, but I think one relationship, two relationships, three, four, five is enough to convince you that you know what, try it from another side. I decided to look out and it was in my looking out, away from the industry, that I met my wife in God’s kingdom. I went to perform at KICC (Kingsway International Christian Centre in London). Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo’s church. That was how and where I met my wife. She came with her sister. After my performance, I was signing my CDs for people. I was so busy, I wasn’t even looking up. People were on queue; they buy and I sign. But immediately I saw her hand, I looked up, saw a very beautiful woman, but couldn’t do anything because there were so many people on the queue. Later, when I left for my hotel, I still couldn’t get her off my mind. My heart was troubled. Then, a friend called to say he wanted to take me out because I complained of boredom. Along the way, he said we should stop over first at one exhibition going on, and reluctantly I accepted. Listen to this – when we got to the exhibition, it turned out that it was my wife’s sister that was organizing it and guess what? She was also there! And that was how we started. She refused to give me her number. She only gave me her email address and I started bombarding her with mails, sometimes 10 in a day. Haba! Na me now! Let me tell you another interesting story – during that time, I was getting shows almost every week in London. So, we were always seeing. My manager will call me and say there’s this show, but what they are offering is not much and I will say take it! Shebi they will take care of accommodation, flight and so on? Just to see my wife o! So, I was always going to London, seeing her till we got married. But you people, the press, didn’t know until we finally got married. My marriage was a big surprise to all of you, which I like. At least, una don leave me alone.
OUR MEETING WAS SPIRITUAL – All Seasons Hotel owner, Myke Ikoku
Here in Lagos or in the village?
I met her here. I met her in Lagos here. I think she came to visit her relation and I met her a day after her arrival. And it was a co-incidence. I was not looking for her. I was looking for somebody else and I saw her. Na so I take meet am o!
What attracted you to her?
To be honest with you, I don’t know. I just saw her and I fell in love.
So, how did you woo her, what was the first thing you told her?
I didn’t woo her.
Okay, she did?
She didn’t woo me. We don’t know how it happened. I’m telling you!
What year was this?
I think it was in 1992.
When did you people eventually get married?
It didn’t take us three, four months to do that.
What will you say has sustained your marriage?
It’s God, because every marriage has its own challenges. Different people, different challenges. People have different backgrounds, so marriage is really challenging and will continue to be challenging.
You have five children, can you tell us about them?
Ah, my five children, they are wonderful. There is Obinna, Jnr, Victor, Emeka, Chisom, that’s my first daughter and then the last one, Mirabel.
Some of your children are grown ups already, why?
It was because of my family background I decided to marry early. I married at 23. Then, I had my first son when I was 24, when most of my friends were still at the peak of enjoyment. That’s the reason. When I was marrying, my friends were laughing at me, because they didn’t see what I saw. You know you have to see the future, see tomorrow. I wanted to have control. Also I knew that that is one of the things that would put me on the track that I wanted. My success depends on my ability to control myself. To have responsibilities. And that was another area that helped in my success story.
LOVE AND RESPECT EACH OTHER – Ogun Commissioner for Information, Dayo Adeneye
What has kept your marriage to Caroline going?
We love each other. We respect each other. Marriage is in sickness and in health, for better or worse. Of course, I offend her on a daily basis, but she has a forgiving heart. She’s a very sweet person and I love her dearly for it.
Tell us about your kids.
I love my kids: Ashley, Jasmine, Nicole and Bryan. They are wonderful. They are Americans. They also have their Yoruba names. They don’t see me as D-One. They see me as their father. I love them because they welcome me home and they make me happy. When I get home, no matter how frustrating my day has been, when I get to that house and I see them, I see the reason I am working.
MY WIFE’S INTELLIGENCE WAS THE MAGIC – Zinox Computers’ Leo Stan Ekeh
You normally describe your wife (Chioma) as a superstar, why?
You know, if God has defined something, you will run around and you will come back to it. Any person close to me will tell you how I married my wife. She was the smallest person in the committee as at then and I asked them a question, because I wanted a solution and these were Master’s degree holders. She was just first degree and she gave me the answer. That was how I fell in love with her and she was a virgin…
Also because she read Mathematics?
No; not the Mathematics. The course didn’t matter, it was her intelligence. The Accountancy she later read, I directed her. Two, she’s the only person who understands me and we run on the same frequency. You see, if I forget something, she’s the person I would ask. Then, she’s beautiful. But it wasn’t beauty I considered. My wife used to be fat. You saw my second daughter, right? Ehen, that’s where she took it from. My wife used to be bigger than her. But it was the intelligence. That was my focus and that’s why I said when God directs…If He doesn’t direct you, you can be looking at beauty, but beauty disappears. Your wife today, if you make love to her two times in a week, it’s a privilege. By the time you people live for 15 years, 20 years, if you manage one in a month, she will be very happy. So, you will find out that that beauty has disappeared. So, it’s the knowledge. But between you and me and God, I don’t see any Nigerian woman who is more intelligent than my wife. She’s running the biggest company in the group, TD. TD is a multimillion company. She doesn’t socialize. She’s highly cerebral, but very pretty. It runs in the family.
Most successful people don’t have successful marriages and children, what is the secret of yours?
That is what I’m saying. You know we make mistakes when you go and marry a woman as an entrepreneur because she’s pregnant. The history of your wealth, if you inherited it from a father who defrauded people, that wealth is cursed. So, basically, that’s why I said I don’t have any reason not to thank God. I have peace, my staff know, domestically. You know I’m a mental person. You stay in the office when I’m mental, I’m shouting on people and my wife will never raise her voice. You can work in our company and you won’t know that she’s my wife. Absolutely peaceful. If I go to work, before I come back, she will change the bed sheet, because we are fatigued easily. So, if you have a wife who doesn’t understand what you need, there will be a problem. You need a woman who is intelligent to do that. Have you seen me eat in the house? When they serve me, you think it’s for 20 people. They put three, four plates of soups and I won’t take more than two percent of the food. But that’s the way she serves me! If I wake up one second to go and urinate in the night, my wife is up. So, we share strategy and she has confidence in me that whatever I say is okay. That’s the kind of wife I have. I respect her views and she’s not materialistic.
So, I thank God for that. I can vouch for her…You saw my sons there, you saw my daughters, excellent! That’s why I said in totality, for God to bless you, He can give you money and there will be crisis. And 98 percent of rich men have that problem. They have the money, you can say they are rich, but they have useless kids. So, this is where I’ll say I think everything came from: the goodness of my father and my grandfather. Not only me. Because when I look back, I see some families, very rich, but it’s a disaster. No single child is well behaved there. That’s why I see myself not as a successful person, but I see myself as somebody who has peace. So, any problem I have, I created it. It’s not like somebody created it.
YOU MUST KEEP WORKING ON YOUR MARRIAGE – Success coach, Dayo Olomu
Can we meet your family, can we talk about them?
I am married to a lovely wife – Goddess. I call her Goddess, but her full name is Mrs. Sade Dayo-Olomu. We met when I was doing my A-levels at Anwaru Islam College and I relocated back to England, she too relocated back to England. We didn’t meet for years, then we came back, we got married. And one of the things I believe is that marriage is the cornerstone of the society. We’ve seen the statistics. Statistics have proven that kids who come from a happy marriage have a high chance of being successful in life. The gang crime that is happening in UK, almost 90 percent of those kids are from broken homes. So, I am one of those who believe that private victory precedes public victory. That if you are not successful at home, your success outside is meaningless. So, I put a lot into developing my marriage, into working on my marriage. And marriage is a continuous thing, you have to keep on working on it. And when you look at it, we also need to develop ourselves as men. We were never raised to be telling our wives I love you. They will call you a woman wrapper! But the modern women have changed. For most of us, we were raised to be hunters. If I put money on the table, I’ve done my bit. I love you! So, when I wake up in the morning, when I’m going to work, I kiss my wife to say goodbye and I say I love you. And that nourishes our relationship and also spending quality time together.
What attracted you to your wife?
I think it’s her character. When I was to marry, I said I am going to marry a woman with two Cs – Christian and character. When I was growing up, when they said somebody is an Omoluwabi; we call it Omoluwabi in Yoruba land. My wife is an Omoluwabi. It’s a very strong thing. It’s a very strong way of describing a woman. It shows a woman with a strong character and who is also a Christian. Even when you look at Christianity, the first people who were called Christians, they were called Christians because of their character.
Tell us about your kids.
I have six kids – Seyi Olomu, Femi, Tayo, Rolake, Ade and Ayomipe. They are between the ages of 27 and 10.
MUTUAL RESPECT IS IT, CVL’S Prof. Pat Utomi
Your wife, Dr. Ifeoma Utomi, has been with you now for 27 years, what will you say has sustained your marriage thus far?
Mutual respect and you got to recognize that you both have strengths, you both have weaknesses and it’s very interesting once in a while we sit down and have a conversation on these kinds of matters. I mean, nothing is perfect, without challenges. I hear there’s a lot of domestic violence in this world, 70 percent. The thought of pushing my wife out of the way, not hitting her, pushing her, get out of my way, has never crossed my mind, not to talk of the possibility of doing it. There’s never been any such occasion in 27 years of marriage. Of course, we disagree over many things, but we talk about them. If somebody is getting particularly upset, the other must realize that it is time to cool down. I usually think it’s my duty to walk away whenever tempers are rising and then come back few minutes later to discuss that matter.
Why do most marriages fail? Why do we have too many marriages falling apart?
I think there are too many of us on big ego rides. Me? Me? How can you do that to me? Me? Do you know who I am? And who are we? Just a piece of dust! I think there’s too much pride in the place and because of it marriages are not as they should be. I think humility is a very important part of getting the marriage thing to work. Two people should never be crazy at the same time. If one person goes crazy, the other must realize they have a duty to ride out the storm and then get things back if they care enough about each other to have gotten married.