Day my husband stopped his friend from paying suggestive compliments to me —Bolorunduro
Oladayo Emiola Bolorunduro has a lot to share about the secret of her success. The business administrator turned educationist and former managing director of a telecoms service provider tells her story to SYLVESTER OKORUWA and SEGUN KASALI.
BEING raised in Fawe’s clan must be memorable.
It was very memorable. I grew up in an environment where there was love and with time, I became one of my father’s favourites. He always wanted me around. So, growing up, I went to Government Teacher’s Demonstration School (GTDS) in Ilesa, Osun State. The school was a place where the teachers could demonstrate what they had been taught. So, from home, dad would make sure a driver was asked to drop us and pick us in the afternoon. And by the time we came home, Mum had already made lunch for us. She had learnt dress making. So, she knew how to sew and still sews in the house.
How did you get to become dad’s favourite?
At a point, he discovered that God had given me wisdom to coordinate the house, my siblings and then academically, I was doing well.
What are the memories of dad and mum still with you?
I would talk about my dad first. My dad, being a business person, I learnt that in life, you need to save, you need to find a way to help people with whatever resources you have. I noticed that he liked to do his things and he never made much noise. He was a quiet person and he really achieved a lot of things. He is a focused man who could take care and manage his family including extended family. There were some troublesome uncles and aunts, but he never showed this to us. He was always attending to their needs. For my mum, I remember that there was a day my uncle came and I didn’t know why they had a quarrel. My dad just called her and said let there be peace. That was the end to the issue. That kind of obedience and submissiveness from my mum helped me to know that if you are submissive to your husband, you will get a lot more than you could expect. So, it’s easy for her to part away with things especially for people who are in need, and a lot of people were around us. Apart from the extended family, we had my father’s relations and her own relations living with us. All of them had something good to take from her behaviour and attitude and a lot of them actually got married in her home. So, she became the mother of many. So, I believed that with her large heart, she was able to help other children.
How much of this shaped you into who you are today?
Coming back from Canada, my husband advised that I should go into business. So, if he didn’t have confidence that I would do well in business, he wouldn’t have encouraged me to do that. And with the knowledge of being shrewd in spending that I took from my dad, I began to do the business with the support of my husband. So, I believed God has helped me through my father with all I have been able to gain from him to actually pull resources together with my husband.
Your culinary skills endeared your husband to you?
Yes, I will say that because he loves to eat my food. Most of the time, even while he was a banker, he would still find time to come home to eat the food and then go back to work.
What was your first sincere impression when your husband sent the first love signal and how did he send it?
We were already in the university and he was the president of Ilesa Grammar School Old Students Association, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) chapter. So, I just got to know him casually in one of the events organised by the Association. So, one day, he came to my house and I was at home wondering how did he even know my house. He came in and sat down. I gave him drink. Sometime in December, he came to my house and actually made his intention known, but I told him I was not sure if I was ready for that kind of a thing. So, I told him I was not really interested but you know men, when they want something, they won’t give up. When we resumed in school, he came to my house and I felt I should give him a chance. So, I called one of my friends and she told me that the guy is good.
What exactly made you give him a yes?
I had already thought of giving him a chance because at that time, I felt I was not too young to have someone in my life. I knew that he was a very responsible person. So, I decided to get more information about him. I got information about him from some members of the old students association. I think he was two years ahead of me.
Certainly, he is still work-in-progress. What do you wish to change in him?
God has helped him and I know he is work-in-progress because no one is perfect. What I pray for in his life is that one day, he will become someone who will stand on the pulpit to talk about God and I believe God is going to take him there.
Were you worried his service to Osun State took him into politics?
I knew before he got to Osun State, he has a foundation to help secondary school students, people who are in need and it is mostly for Osun indigenes. So, when he was called to office, I believed God is taking him a step further to actually demonstrate care for humanity and the opportunity to serve his state. So, I was not really worried at the beginning. l felt this is God in action. But when situations began to turn into political thing, I became worried.
Marriage conflict resolution skills?
I grew up in the marriage understanding that I need to be quiet when my husband is angry. Even when we disagree and I am quiet, he calls back to say what is the way forward. And he is quick to apologise and will say maybe I should have presented the case differently so that it won’t degenerate into argument. So, if someone says I am sorry, do you have any need to go ahead quarreling with the person? So, with that attitude, we were able to handle a lot crisis in the home.
Any of your children taking after you?
I would say my son. He talks but he is reserved too. But, he will express himself more than I did while I was at his age, maybe because of the exposure. When you know something, you want to talk about it and there is freedom of speech growing up. So, he will tell you everything about himself. Most times, he doesn’t hide his feelings. He will not pretend and this helps to know what he is passing through at any point in time.
What about you, what are you trying to work on?
Maybe being too generous. I really don’t have any regrets. But sometimes, I want to hold back. When somebody comes to tell me a story, I just get carried away without even investigating and I just want to help the person. Sometimes, I discover that it is all a lie. So, it is painful to me when someone has packaged something and presented it and then the bubble just bursts. So, I am praying to God to help me in that aspect to be able to see deep down, ask the questions that could give me a better insight to whatever is being told.
How do you cope with admirers?
It is a state of mind. The only person I see is my husband. They come in a subtle way and you push them in a subtle way. A man you give respect to would hardly make a pass at you. I would always greet them respectfully.
Oh yeah! My husband’s friend. He will run beautiful comments, head-swelling comments. So, I called my husband and told him that this man’s comment always makes me feel uncomfortable. So, my husband dealt with that. He told him his wife was not comfortable with his comments.
Rich men of your dad’s time had a reputation of not spoiling their children with their wealth. What was your own story?
My dad was a disciplinarian. He believed that whatever you have in your hand is very important. Don’t look at what I have. What I have now is to help you to get what you will need, the foundation that you can build on. So, it wasn’t a situation of just having everything. It was a situation you have what you need but not in excess. He helped you to grow in an environment that is conducive for you to learn and to become someone in life.
What was his style of enforcing discipline?
Lying is something he could not tolerate. There was a day I came home and I felt my result was not that good. So, I hid my report card and I told him that we had not been given. He eventually got to know because he was close to the head of the school. He came in and asked where was my own. I started shaking. And the thing about him is that he always had cane at home. I said I had it but I was afraid of giving it out. He said whatever the case may be, I should give it to her. So, I showed it to him. He first beat me and the beating was followed by another punishment.
Your decision to become an educationist?
I didn’t have the intention of studying education while I was in secondary school. My eldest sister actually had a degree in education and the way she complained about teaching, I decided not to. At that time, I wanted to study estate management, but that was not what I eventually studied at OAU.
My first choice was Ilorin where I wanted to study estate management and my second choice was OAU for Geography because of my knowledge in geoinformatics, cartography. But, I did not meet with the cut-off for estate management and so, I left for OAU. I stayed with my aunt and the girl that was with her was struggling with her academics and I decided to help, only to discover that teaching isn’t that bad.
You have now expanded the education assistance programme.
In my church, I handle the children department and the department has its own Sunday School’s manual, and I decided to dedicate myself to teaching in the church, especially for teenagers. That has drawn a lot of children to me and I actually go after their well-being. If there is any financial challenge, I assist the family just to keep those children in school and follow up on their performance at school. In my house, there is evening service which is like house fellowship every Sunday and a lot of people in the neighbourhood attend and some of them need help too to actually send their children to school, and I do the best I can do to the glory of God supporting the children.
What is your most prized possession in life?
My relationship with God. I cannot compromise that because I believe that my salvation is a gift and I did not work for it. Another is being able to impart the lives of my children with the fear of God. I also appreciate God for giving me good health.
Can you remember your most trying moment(s) when your husband was serving in Osun State?
One of the trying times was my frequent journey from Lagos to Osun State. There was a day my driver and I were on the way to Osun and there was armed robbery. Those guys were on the road but we were able to turn back and hide somewhere. So, I felt it was a risk travelling back and forth Lagos and Osun. So, we decided I would manage my business from Osun. And another trying time is managing the business from Osun. I discovered that if you are not the one managing the business, there could be trouble. People just want to use that opportunity to benefit their lives. So, it was challenging because nobody was monitoring it the way I used to. So, most of my clients were complaining about my absence. So, after the first term, I told my husband that he should allow me to go and monitor the family business, saying we should have something to fall back on after leaving Osun. So, I returned to Lagos to monitor the business.
In a few days, you will be 50. What are those things you want to appreciate God for?
I will first of all thank God for my husband. I will pray that he stays with us for a very long time. I also pray that nothing will make me bury my children. I will thank God for making me travel hitch-free without queuing for visa, though not that I have access to all countries in the world. So, for the next 50 years, I will continue to enjoy this access. Also, I want my husband and my children to be in good health. In the next 50 years if God spared my life, I want to spend my all resources to serve the Lord. That is why I tell people that I want to be God’s treasurer.
Any regrets at 50?
Yes. It has to do with the time I decided to be an educationist. I felt I should have started earlier. I believe that If I had gone into it much earlier, maybe the impact would have been much more than now.
How sociable are you?
I believe I am not sociable but I just love people to be around me. Maybe they will also say this in my church because I mix with everyone. Dating my husband has made me sociable.
What would you call your indulgence?
Perfume is one but I can’t remember some. When it comes to clothing, there is no particular one. I just wear so far it fits and the colour blends.